WiSe 19/20: Contemporary Environmental History: Europe and the United States since 1945
Whether it’s climate change, the loss of biodiversity, the global deforestation of tropical rainforests, microplastics, the pollution of oceans, sustainability, or the question of renewable energies ... read more
Whether it’s climate change, the loss of biodiversity, the global deforestation of tropical rainforests, microplastics, the pollution of oceans, sustainability, or the question of renewable energies – many challenges and questions of our times have a longer history and for the first time emerged between the 1950s and 1990s, a time sometimes referred to as ‘the great acceleration.’ In this class, we will explore the historical genesis of the environmental challenges and problems of our times. Themes we will cover include the history of environmental movements and environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, the history of climate change and the Ozone hole, the global campaign to save the tropical rainforest, the invention of renewable energies, and transatlantic protests against nuclear power. We will also discuss key concepts such as the ‘Anthropocene’ or the ‘great acceleration.’
Students should note that this class will be organized around a research-based approach. There will be some readings, but the major share of class sessions will be devoted to developing student research projects that should eventually translate into papers. The course may thus be especially useful for students planning to do their module exam in this course.