Scientists Meet Scientists – TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talk | Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability by Dr. Benjamin Schütze: "Renewable Energies, Renewed Authoritarianisms? The Political Economy of Solar Energy in the MENA"

Events, WCT, Seminar Series on Sustainability |

On July 24,  2024, Dr. Benjamin Schütze (Young Academy for Sustainability Research, University of Freiburg, Germany) will present the last talk in our Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability, which has become an integral part of our Wednesday Coffee Talks. The talk is entitled "Renewable Energies, Renewed Authoritarianisms? The Political Economy of Solar Energy in the MENA".


Countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are pursuing ambitious targets for a transition from fossil fuels to renewables. While this shift marks an important point of transition, the region’s political economy is still predominantly analysed through the prism of fossil fuels and state-centric approaches. This presentation challenges the methodological nationalism of previous studies by applying a (trans-)regional approach that focuses on different actors within and beyond the nation-state. Its main interest lies in how politics is driving the expansion of solar energy in the MENA, and how this (re-)shapes established authoritarian practices. While the distributed nature of solar energy offers a possibility for more democratic, inclusive and independent (energy) politics, transregionally connected authoritarian elites attempt to transform it into concentrated forms of political and economic power. This could replicate existing dependencies and authoritarian practices.

Date: July 24, 2024
Time: 13:00 CEST (until approx. 14:00)
Location: online

Registration: The TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talks including the new Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability are held online via Zoom making it accessible to a global audience. To register and to receive the Zoom link, please send an email to

Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability
As part of the ongoing commitment of the TUM-IAS to foster scientific exchange and professional networks, the Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability aims to bring together scientists from research institutions in Eastern, Southeastern, and Central Europe to discuss topics related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. This seminar series is a first step to bridge the geographical and academic gaps in order to create a scientific network, and encourage joint research initiatives and build lasting collaborations for a more sustainable future.


Every Wednesday after lunch, it's all about a new topic - current research highlights at TUM, insights into the work of our Fellows from all over the world, sometimes even topics not usually found at TUM, such as history or theology.

The talks held online start every Wednesday during TUM lecture time at 13:00 CE(S)T. Everyone is welcome - TUM researchers of all levels, students, visiting scholars, and anyone interested!

Each final Wednesday of the month, a topic related to the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be featured as a part of the Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability, a new initiative of the TUM-IAS in partnership with universities across Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.

Would you like to receive regular updates on the TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talk and the online link? Just send a short note to

An overview of upcoming and past TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talks can be found at the TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talk Overview.