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220091 Entangled History and the Environment: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches (S) (SoSe 2020)

Inhalt, Kommentar

The current diagnosis of the “Anthropocene” – the Age of Humans – does not only have very material implications for present and future human societies on this planet, but also, on a more epistemic level, for the traditional division between the humanities/ social sciences and the natural sciences (Chakrabarty 2009).

This course starts out with an introduction into what the “Anthropocene” is, and with a review of the current state of the art on the concept and its dating as to the Anthropocene Working Group and researchers associated with it (Steffen et al., McNeill et al, Rockström et al.). This involves interdisciplinary perspectives from Earth System and Climate sciences. We then dive into several theoretical texts by historians and literary scholars (Chakrabarty, Ghosh, Mauelshagen, Latour and others) who reflect on the implications of this new era for the humanities and historical research in particular. In a next step we will look at voices critical of the concept of the “Anthropocene”, suggested alternatives (think “Capitalocene”, “Plantationocene” etc.) and consider their scope. Most of these perspectives have emerged from postcolonial studies, which have rightfully pointed to the unequal responsibilities and power differentials involved in the coming-about of the Anthropocene (Malm & Hornborg, Lewis & Maslin, Todd & Davis and others). In a last cycle we will look at conceptual and methodological approaches (Entangled History and the Environment, World System Analysis, Social Metabolism) that may be able to connect the humanities with the natural sciences in order to come to a more inclusive perspective of the present and how we got to this point in history.

This course is largely global in its geographical scope though it puts specific emphasis on the Americas in the pre-history of the Anthropocene. Its temporal scope reaches from the European Expansion to the present.

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen, notwendige Vorkenntnisse

Ability to read and discuss academic texts in English


Chakrabarty, Dipesh. "The Climate of History: Four Theses." Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2 (2009): 197-222.
Ghosh, Amitav. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2016.
González de Molina, Manuel, and Víctor M. Toledo. The Social Metabolism. A Socio-Ecological Theory of Historical Change. Environmental History. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2014.
Latour, Bruno. Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime. English edition. ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2018.
Lee, Richard E., Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein, and Volkan Aytar. Overcoming the Two Cultures: Science versus the Humanities in the Modern World-System. Fernand Braudel Center series. 2015.
Mauelshagen, Franz. "Bridging the Great Divide. The Anthropocene as a Challenge to the Social Sciences and Humanities." In Religion and the Anthropocene, edited by C. Deane-Drummond, M. Vogt and S. Bergmann. 87-102. Eugene, OR, 2017.
———. "Transformative Knowledge and Planetary Politics in the Anthropocene." In The Rightful Place of Science: The Anthropocene, edited by Amanda Machin. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Rohland, Eleonora. Entangled Histories and the Environment? Socio-Environmental Transformations in the Caribbean, 1500-1800. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2020.
Simon, Zoltán Boldizsár. "Why the Anthropocene has no history: Facing the unprecedented." The Anthropocene Review 4, no. 3 (2017/12/01 2017): 239-45.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. World-systems analysis. An introduction. A John Hope Franklin Center Book. Duke University Press, 2004.


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Modul Veranstaltung Leistungen  
22-HEPS-HM1 Hauptmodul 1: Entwicklung der Wissenschaften Entwicklung der Wissenschaften I Studienleistung
Entwicklung der Wissenschaften II benotete Prüfungsleistung
22-M-4.1 Theoriemodul Interdisziplinäres Theorieseminar benotete Prüfungsleistung
22-M-4.4.6-IAS3 History of the Americas / Historia de las Américas Seminar Studienleistung
benotete Prüfungsleistung
22-M-4.4.6-IAS9 Advanced History of the Americas / Estudios avanzados de la historia de las Américas Seminar Studienleistung
benotete Prüfungsleistung

Die verbindlichen Modulbeschreibungen enthalten weitere Informationen, auch zu den "Leistungen" und ihren Anforderungen. Sind mehrere "Leistungsformen" möglich, entscheiden die jeweiligen Lehrenden darüber.

Konkretisierung der Anforderungen

This is a bi-weekly block seminar.

Students of the History Master should study this course in conjunction with the Theory Seminar "The Environment and Animals. New Perspectives on the European Expansion" (220102) and will sit through a 20 min Oral Exam with me (and another 20 min with Prof. Flüchter) based on a Thesenpapier.

Students of the IAS Master will study this course as the seminar and "The Environment and Animals. New Perspectives on the European Expansion" as the historical contextualization of the IAS history module. At the end of this course, they will write a 20-25 pages seminar paper on a topic of their choice within the subject scope of this course.

HEPS MA Students will write a 6000 words seminar paper on a topic of their choice within the subject scope of this course.

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