701-0791-00L  Environmental History - Introduction and Overview

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
LecturersM. Gisler
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionGerman
CommentNumber of participants limited to 80.

AbstractIntroduction into environmental history as a discipline that ask for the human-nature-relationships from a long-term and spatially defined perspective. By presenting a selection of different topics the lecture provides access to new questions and insights.
ObjectiveIntroduction into environmental history; survey of long-term development of human-nature-interrelations; discussion of selected problems. Improved ability to assess current problems from a historical perspective and to critically interrogate one's own standpoint.
ContentHumans live in and with nature, depend on it, change it permanently: as bio- and geological agents they intervene, reshape, leave prints, improve, reproduce and demonize nature; in short, they’re “doing environment”. Namely in the 20th century, the "era of ecology" (Joachim Radkau) or the age of the “Great Acceleration” (John McNeill), human interventions in their environments have increased exponentially. But nature itself is also constantly changing, adapting, striking back. This leads to a constantly changing interrelation between human and nature.
This interdependence is at the core of this lecture. The introduction into “environmental history” offers an overview of the human-environment-relationship in a long-term perspective. It outlines concepts such as the anthropocene, climate and energy as well as questions of environmental policy and the history of the environmental movements. It is meant to expand the competencies for the assessment of current problems and the critical questioning of one's own point of view.
Lecture notesCourse material is provided in digital form.
LiteratureMcNeill, John R. 2000. Something new under the sun: An environmental history of the twentieth-century world, New York: Norton.

Uekötter, Frank (Ed.) 2010. The turning points of environmental history, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Winiwarter, Verena und Martin Knoll 2007. Umweltgeschichte: Eine Einführung, Köln: Böhlau.
Prerequisites / NoticeStudents are asked to write an exam during the last session