Professor Brenda Shaffer is a specialist on energy and foreign policy, energy security policies, Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, Caspian energy and Eastern Mediterranean energy issues. She previously served as the Research Director of the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University. Prof. Shaffer is the author of Energy Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity (MIT Press, 2002) and editor of Beyond the Resource Curse (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). She served as an advisor to Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water. She has given U.S. Congressional testimony on issues related to energy and to the Caspian region. Prof. Shaffer's op-eds have appeared in New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Reuters, Christian Science Monitor, and the Boston Globe.
Current Public Positions
Past President, Foreign Policy Section, American Political Science Association (APSA)
Research Areas & Other Interests
Natural gas, energy and politics, the resource curse
Central Asia, Caucasus, Iran, Russia
Culture and foreign policy
National identity of the Azerbaijanis; ethnic politics in Iran
1999-2007 Post-doctoral Fellow, International Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Research Director, Caspian Studies Program, Harvard University.
2000 Ph.D. School of History, Tel Aviv University. Dissertation topic: “The Formation of Azerbaijani Collective Identity: in Light of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Soviet Breakup.”
"Natural gas supply stability and foreign policy," Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.11.03.
Beyond the Resource Curse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012
“Israel—new natural gas producer in the Mediterranean,” Energy Policy, 39 (2011), pp. 5379-5387.
Avinoam Idan and Brenda Shaffer, “The Foreign Policies of Landlocked States,” Post-Soviet Affairs Vol. 27, No. 3 (July 2011), pp. 1-37
Energy Politics (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).
Recent Congressional Testimony
Brenda Shaffer, "Renewed Focus on European Energy Security". Hearing before the Subcommittee on European Affairs, US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, July 8, 2014.
National Public Radio, For World's Oil Exporters, Falling Prices Have A Domino Effect; Dec. 5, 2014
Shaffer says countries that depend on a certain oil price to balance their budgets could be vulnerable to instability. But Shaffer says it's premature to think that nations will fundamentally change their foreign policy behavior. "Things like Russia pulling out of Crimea, or Iran changing its stance on the nuclear program, things that these countries see as national interest, they're not going to give up because of the oil price," Shaffer adds.