International Workshop and Call for Papers: Transition from the Margins: Resource Peripheries and Decarbonisation in the Asia-Pacific | Center for Southeast Asian Studies Kyoto University


International Workshop and Call for Papers: Transition from the Margins: Resource Peripheries and Decarbonisation in the Asia-Pacific


International Workshop and Call for Papers

Transition from the Margins: Resource Peripheries and Decarbonisation in the Asia-Pacific

Date: December 12-13, 2024 

Venue: Inamori Foundation Memorial Building, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

Against a backdrop of worsening climate impacts, accelerating the shift toward a low-carbon energy system has become more urgent. In the Asia Pacific, where energy demand is growing and reliance on fossil fuels is prominent, the challenge is significant and multifaceted. Transitioning away from fossil fuels necessitates large-scale changes in the ways energy is produced, accessed, and governed. A largely uneven process, decarbonisation is unfolding differently, with varying consequences across the region’s diverse economic and socio-political landscapes.

The growing literature on energy transition recognises the indispensable role of mineral production to facilitate the shift to clean energy sources (Nem Singh 2024; Riofrancos 2023). It is now widely acknowledged that transition is premised on the extensification and intensification of  raw material extraction within and beyond traditional resource peripheries. Given the voracious demand for so-called critical minerals, new mineral-rich areas  in the region are being incorporated in the global energy landscape. This, in turn, is leading to increased resource exploitation and socio-environmental conflicts as these places assume strategic importance in developing low-carbon alternatives (Sovacool et al., 2020).

In significant ways, the mining-renewable energy nexus is enabling cost-shifting from developed to developing countries, the creation of ‘green sacrifice zones’, and the rearticulation of structural dependencies in the context of intense technological race among East Asian and Western capital in advancing low carbon technologies (Allan et. al. 2021; Carrasco 2024; Jackson 2024). Sub-nationally, the deployment of renewable energy systems have been shown to increasingly encroach on peasant and indigenous territories and compete with other uses of land in novel ways (Borras et al., 2016; Fairhead et al., 2012). Solar projects for example, given their extensive land requirements, have aggravated tensions surrounding land redistribution and contributed to increased precariousness in the rural countryside (Yenneti et al. 2016).

Yet, mineral-rich states have also leveraged their resources to maximise the socio-economic benefits from a low-carbon transition. Specifically, Indonesia is now leading a new pathway of capturing windfall profits and aggressively pushing for the development of technology-intensive downstream industries in battery production, energy storage, and EV car production (Wijaya & Sinclair 2024). Strategies involving the ban of raw materials, rebuilding of domestic supply chains, and comprehensive support for in-country investments in clean energy technologies are increasingly being deployed across the region to advance developmental objectives  (Solingen 2021; Nem Singh 2023). These new politico-economic arrangements need to be better understood to bring to light the ways in which these create, reinforce, or challenge, patterns of uneven development and ecological exchange.

Energy transition dynamics in the region highlight the necessity of revisiting dominant understandings and conceptualisations of the ‘periphery’ as it comes to be redefined to meet differing decarbonisation objectives. This task gains particular significance as East Asian economies take a proactive role in driving supply chain development and technological innovation, which seek to integrate developing economies in new modes of interdependence. At the same time, East Asian developmental and business models have been shown to be markedly different from Western approaches, which lead to distinct patterns of investments (de los Reyes, 2024) and engagements with developing economies (Zhan, 2021, Camba, 2023). These partnerships, moreover, intersect with geopolitical dynamics as the region becomes a critical arena for strategic competition over resources and markets amid the US-China rivalry. By bringing attention to these differences and particularities, the workshop aims to complicate North/South, core/periphery binaries, and traditional readings of structural dependency commonly employed in political economy scholarship.

The workshop seeks to address the following sets of questions:

The international workshop will be held on December 12-13, 2024 in Kyoto, Japan, bringing together scholars working on the Asia Pacific to reflect on the divergent pathways taken by countries in the region to realise a low-carbon transition and to (re)conceptualise the resource periphery in light of emerging value chains. The workshop aims to attract conceptually innovative and empirically grounded papers that situate and critically analyse (the role of) the ‘periphery’ in the following processes:

The workshop will result in the publication of select papers in an edited volume with a reputable university press among other joint publications. Financial assistance for travel and associated expenses will be provided on a needs basis. Please specify in your application if you would like to be considered for travel and/or accommodation support.

Please send a 500-word abstract by June 30 to
*Inquiries may also be directed to this email.

The Organising Committee will notify selected participants of the results by July 15. Draft papers of approximately 5,000 words must be submitted by November 15 at the latest. 


Allan, B., Lewis, J., & Oatley, T. (2021) Green industrial policy and the transformation of climate politics. Global Environmental Politics, 21 (4): 1-19.

Borras, S. M., Franco, J. C., Isakson, S. R., Levidow, L., & Vervest, P. (2016) The rise of flex crops and commodities: implications for research. Journal of Peasant Studies, 43(1), 93-115.

Camba, A. (2023) From Aquino to Marcos: political survival and Philippine foreign policy towards China. Journal of Contemporary East Asia Studies, 1-23.

Carrasco, S. (2024) State capacity for green growth: Analysing industrial policy in the Latin American lithium triangle, Competition and Change, 0 (0): 1-20. DOI: 10.1177/10245294241249202

de los Reyes, J.A. (2024) Resources and Extraction. In Contemporary Economic Geographies (pp. 381-394). Bristol University Press.

Fairhead, J., Leach, M., & Scoones, I. (2012). Green Grabbing: a new appropriation of nature? Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(2), 237-261. <Go to ISI>://WOS:000303232300001

Jackson, J. (2024) Decarbonisation through modernisation: The UK’s EV transition as a vehicle for industrial change, Competition and Change, 28 (2): 231-250.

Nem Singh, J.T. (2023) Industrial experiments: Varieties of industrial policy in the global South, Phenomenal World, accessed on 02 May 2024.

Nem Singh, J.T. (2024) Business of the State: Why State Ownership Matters for Resource Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Riofrancos, T. (2023). The security–sustainability nexus: Lithium onshoring in the Global North. Global Environmental Politics, 23(1), 20-41.

Sovacool, B. K., Hook, A., Martiskainen, M., Brock, A., & Turnheim, B. (2020). The decarbonisation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low-carbon exploitation and toxicity in Africa. Global Environmental Change, 60, 102028.

Wijaya, T. & Sinclair, L. (2024) An EV-fix for Indonesia: The green development-resource nationalism nexus, Environmental Politics,

Yenneti, K., Day, R., & Golubchikov, O. (2016) Spatial justice and the land politics of renewables: Dispossessing vulnerable communities through solar energy mega-projects. Geoforum, 76, 90-99.

Zhan, J.V. (2021) ‘Repress or Redistribute? The Chinese State’s Response to Resource Conflicts’, The China Quarterly, 248(1), pp. 987–1010. doi:10.1017/S0305741021000047.