Berlin-Brandenburg Colloquium on Environmental History Winter 2017/18

Jan-Henrik Meyer's picture
Type: 
Seminar
Date: 
December 4, 2017 to February 15, 2018
Location: 
Germany
Subject Fields: 
Environmental History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Intellectual History, Diplomacy and International Relations, Pre-Columbian History / Studies

 

The Berlin-Brandenburg Colloquium on Environmental History offers an open forum for the discussion of environmental history research broadly defined. Please find the schedule for this winter semester

Programme

Monday, 4.12.2017

Book discussion at the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, 
„Environment, Growth and International Organisations: Schmelzer: The Hegemony of Growth“; Kaiser/Meyer: International Organisations and Environmental Protection, Commentator Thomas Risse, Moderator: Marianne Zepp
@ Heinrich Böll-Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, Berlin, 19:00 hrs

Thursday, 07.12.2017
Melina Antonia Buns (Oslo): 
Clearing the Air: 
How the Nordics Determined International Norms

Thursday, 14.12.2017
Nicole Wiederroth (Hamburg): Tansanias Refugee Settlements oder das Ringen zwischen Experten und Natur

Thursday, 11.01.2018
Maximilian Laun (Documentary film maker, Berlin): 

Film Screening: “Camping NO! Un Momento de Gloria” A documentary on environmental protest on Formentera

Thursday, 25.01.2018
Hanna Sonkajarvi (Rio de Janeiro): Environment and Environmental Protection in the Latin-American New Constitutionalism

Thursday, 15.02.2018
Richard Reitan (Lancaster, PA, USA): Holistic Communities: 
The Social Reproduction of the Environmental Crisis

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Friedrichstraße 191-193, Entrance Friedrichstr., 4th floor, Room 4026.
Time: 18:00 (c.t.) – 20:00 hrs
Contact: Astrid M. Kirchhof astrid.m.kirchhof@geschichte.hu-berlin.de
Jan-Henrik Meyer j.h.meyer@hum.ku.dk


Abstracts

Monday, 4.12.2017

Book discussion at the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, 
„Environment, Growth and International Organisations: Schmelzer: The Hegemony of Growth“; Kaiser/Meyer: International Organisations and Environmental Protection, Commentator Thomas Risse, Moderator: Marianne Zepp
@ Heinrich Böll-Foundation, Schumannstr. 8, Berlin, 19:00 hrs

 

Matthias Schmelzer: The Hegemony of Growth. The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press 2016. 
In modern society, economic growth is considered to be the primary goal pursued through policymaking. But when and how did this perception become widely adopted among social scientists, politicians and the general public? Focusing on the OECD, one of the least understood international organisations, Schmelzer offers the first transnational study to chart the history of growth discourses. He reveals how the pursuit of GDP growth emerged as a societal goal and the ways in which the methods employed to measure, model and prescribe growth resulted in statistical standards, international policy frameworks and widely accepted norms. Setting his analysis within the context of capitalist development, post-war reconstruction, the Cold War, decolonization, and industrial crisis, The Hegemony of Growth sheds new light on the continuous reshaping of the growth paradigm up to the neoliberal age and adds historical depth to current debates on climate change, inequality and the limits to growth.
https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/the-hegemony-of-growth/A80C4DF19D804C723D55A5EFE7A447...

Wolfram Kaiser & Jan-Henrik Meyer. International Organizations and Environmental Protection. Conservation and Globalization in the Twentieth Century. New York: Berghahn 2017.
Pollution, resource depletion, habitat management, and climate change are all issues that necessarily transcend national boundaries. Accordingly, they and other environmental concerns have been a particular focus for international organizations from before the First World War to the present day. This volume is the first to comprehensively explore the environmental activities of professional communities, NGOs, regional bodies, the United Nations, and other international organizations during the twentieth century. It follows their efforts to shape debates about environmental degradation, develop binding intergovernmental commitments, and—following the seminal 1972 Conference on the Human Environment—implement and enforce actual international policies.
http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/KaiserInternational

Thursday, 07.12.2017 Melina Antonia Buns (Oslo): Clearing the Air: How the Nordics Determined International Norms

As early as the late 1960s, the Nordic countries have cooperated on issues regarding the environmental pollution. Located downwind in particular Norway and Sweden suffered from rising acidification as a result of cross-border transmission of sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides, commonly known as acid rain. As importers of air pollution, the Nordics used the international arena of the United Nations, OECD and ECE to address this political issue. Despite the Nordics basing their argument to be net importers of air pollution on a scientific report by Svante Odén from 1968, scepticism vanished only in the early 1980s.
Still, both the Stockholm Conference of 1972 as well as the Nordic Environmental Protection Convention of 1974 can be seen as Nordic actions that finally led to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution of 1979. Yet, as this convention lacked power, the Nordics together with six countries established the 30% Club – 30%-reduction of sulphur dioxide emission by 1993 – in March 1984, leaving air polluters as the US and Great Britain looking ignorant. 
This paper tells the story of Nordic actors pushing and forming international agendas, research programmes and negotiations to conserve economically valuable nature. Further, it unpacks the ethos and ambition of Nordic alignment within intergovernmental organisations, its characteristic and influence on international environmental politics. Finally, it discusses the Nordic countries as norm entrepreneurs of environmental politics. 
Short Bio: 
Melina Antonia Buns is Doctoral Research Fellow at the University in Oslo. In her PhD project Regional Environments, International Politics and Transnational Exchange: Nordic Environmental Cooperation 1967-1995 she analyses the establishment of environmental policy as a core area of Nordic cooperation and the Nordic countries’ engagement within international organisations’ environmental policy making. She studied History, History of Art, and Scandinavian Studies in Vienna and Aarhus (B.A., 2013), as well as International and Global History at Arhus University (M.A., 2016) and subsequently worked for an environmental organisation.
Recent publication: 
Melina Antonia Buns, “Marching Activists: Transnational Lessons for the Danish Anti-Nuclear Protest”, Arcadia, Summer 2017, no. 18, https://doi.org/10.5282/rcc/7918



Thursday, 14.12.2017 Nicole Wiederroth (Hamburg): Tansanias Refugee Settlements oder das Ringen zwischen Experten und Natur

Tansania war über Jahrzehnte hinweg eines der Hauptzielländer von Migration in Afrika. Hunderttausende Menschen, die hier nach der Unabhängigkeit Schutz fanden, trugen dabei nicht nur zum (materiellen) Wandel ausgewählter Regionen bei, sondern boten verschiedensten Akteuren auch neue Möglichkeiten, diese Regionen und ihre Veränderungen wahrzunehmen und neu zu interpretieren. Am Beispiel des Mwese Highland Settlements werden in einer Verknüpfung von Migrations- und Umweltgeschichte einzelne dieser Interpretationen herausgearbeitet. Der Vortrag basiert größtenteils auf bislang marginal, in der historischen Forschung noch unbeachteten Archivquellen der Lutheran World Federation in Genf. Die Analyse dieses Quellenmaterials bietet dabei nicht nur einen Einblick in die Geschichte einer in der Forschung wenig berücksichtigten Region, sondern deckt zudem bestimmte Perspektiven und Inszenierungsweisen auf, deren Erhalt mitunter recht langlebig sein können.

Kurzbiographie: 
Nach dem Studium der Afrikawissenschaften und Gender Studies an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin promovierte Nicole Wiederroth 2015 in Neuerer und Neuester Geschichte an der Universität Duisburg-Essen. Seit 2015 arbeitet sie als Postdoc im Fachbereich Geschichte, konkret im Arbeitsbereich Globalgeschichte und CliSAP (Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction) an der Universität Hamburg. 
Veröffentlichungen:
Südafrikas Propaganda im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Zur medialen Legitimation einer kolonialen Ordnung. St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag 2016; „Radio broadcasting for blacks during the Second World War: ‘It could be dangerous ...’”, in: Historia. Journal of the Historical Association of South Africa, 57, 2 (2012), S. 104-149; „'The stories they tell us are of fables' – Der Broadcasting Service für die schwarze Bevölkerung in der Südafrikanischen Union, 1940-1945“, in: Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien, 12, 22 (2012), S. 61-101.
 

Thursday, 11.01.2018
Maximilian Laun (Documentary film maker, Berlin): 
Film Screening: “Camping NO! Un Momento de Gloria” A documentary on environmental protest on Formentera


Die kleine Insel Formentera steht vor einem ernsthaften Dilemma: Sie lebt fast ausschließlich vom Tourismus und droht gleichzeitig an ihm zugrunde zu gehen. Wie lassen sich Massentourismus und Umweltschutz miteinander vereinbaren? Und wer hat das Recht darüber zu entscheiden? „CAMPING NO! - Un Momento de Gloria.“ ist ein historischer Dokumentarfilm über die Entwicklung einer Umwelt- und Protestbewegung auf der Insel Formentera. Er dokumentiert den schnellen wirtschaftlichen Aufstieg von einer armen Fischerinsel zu einer wohlhabenden Touristendestination und die damit einhergehenden Konflikte.
Der Dokumentarfilm basiert auf dem Thema meiner Masterarbeit mit dem Titel: „Tourism and the Limits to Growth - The Protest Movement on the Island of Formentera (1975-1995)“. Neben der inhaltlichen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Film, bietet sich deshalb auch eine Diskussion auf der Metaebene an: Wie lässt sich eine wissenschaftliche Arbeit verfilmen? Welche Begrenzungen, Gefahren, aber auch neue Möglichkeiten ergeben sich daraus?

Kurzbiographie:
Maximilian Laun (geb. 1987) arbeitet im Medienbereich und interessiert sich besonders für die Kombination aus Wissenschaft und Film. Neben seinem Dokumentarfilm „CAMPING NO! - Un Momento de Gloria.“ ist er an dem YouTube Projekt „History on Tape“ beteiligt. Er hat einen M.A. in Global History (Freie Universität & Humboldt Universität, Berlin).



Thursday, 25.01.2018 Hanna Sonkajarvi (Rio de Janeiro): 
Environment and Environmental Protection 
in the Latin-American New Constitutionalism

The Nuevo Constitucionalismo Latinoamericano that inspires the Constitutions of Ecuador (2008) and Bolivia (2009) is based on the idea that man is merely a species among others. Nature, in this conception, has a legal personality which can be enacted by any physical or juridical person(s) in the Nature’s interest. However, a closer reading of the key concepts and writings of politicians and thinkers advocating it reveals that there are some tensions and contradictions between the utopia of the New Constructionism and its putting into practice, by means of legislation. For instance, the New Constitutionalism presents itself as an indigenous community based tradition of Buen Vivir (Living well) that rejects capitalism and the concept of development and it proposes local level solutions along with a redefinition of the State as an institution. At the same time, the existence of a State is not questioned and therefore inhibits not only any tentative to develop theories of a Global New Constitutionalism, but equally any tentative to cooperate across State borders for the conservation and administration of the common and universal resources of the Nature. Since the New Constitutionalism a vocation to be put into practice, the paper proposes to inquire, across time, and inspired by the History of Concepts, into the key notions of this New Constitutionalism (such as Buen Vivir, Sumak Kawsay, Pachamama) and to critically reflect upon the concepts’ capacity to be traduced into the legal system and the legal practice.
Kurzbiographie:
Hanna Sonkajärvi earned her PhD in History and Civilization at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, in 2006. Her PhD thesis dealt with everyday definitions of what is a Foreigner in eighteenth century Strasbourg. She was, among other things, Lecturer (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), at the Department of Early Modern History at the University of Duisburg-Essen (2007-2013) and Feodor Lynen-Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation at the Universidad del País Vasco in Leioa (2014-2015). Since April 2015, she is Professor of Legal History at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. Her latest publications include: A aplicação do Código Comercial brasileiro entre 1850 e 1860: análise das evidências de um caso de falência culposa, in: Tempo. Revista do Departamento de História da UFF 21 (2015), 1-17; ‘Acudir al remedio’: Protektionsleistungen der Juntas y regimientos de Vizcaya im atlantischen Raum im 17. Jahrhundert, in: Tilman HAUG, Nadir WEBER et Christian WINDLER (eds.), Protegierte und Protektoren. Asymmetrische politische Beziehungen zwischen Partnerschaft und Dominanz (16. bis frühes 20. Jahrhundert), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2016, 349-364. The current paper stems from a project conducted with Daniel Cavalcanti Pimentel, a graduate student at the Faculty of Law at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.


Thursday, 15.02.2018 Richard Reitan (Lancaster, PA, USA): Holistic Communities: 
The Social Reproduction of the Environmental Crisis

The global environmental crisis is urgent and complex; it cannot be properly addressed through the lens of any single academic discipline. While environmental science is crucial for understanding climate change, ocean acidification, and biodiversity loss, for example, and for proposing science-based policies to address them, one role of the humanities and social sciences is to formulate ecological theory to explain and overcome the socio-economic and ideological barriers to such policies. Indeed, many suggest the ecological crisis is not primarily a scientific problem, but a social, political, and ideological one. Yet certain forms of ecological theory, despite their urgent calls for “radical change” to save the environment, nevertheless sustain the socio-economic order generating the ongoing environmental crisis. How do we account for this contradiction? There is clearly much at stake in this: without sound ecological theory to complement environmental science, efforts to address the global ecological crisis will fall short. I explore this contradiction in what I call “holistic ecology” (e.g. deep ecology and reactionary eco-nationalism). My aim is to sketch out views of holistic ecological community, primarily in Japan and Germany, and identify their shortcomings. I suggest that the contradiction in holistic ecology reflects an ideological response to neoliberal capitalism: a holistic desire for radical change on the one hand (driven by real ecological degradation) impeded by an ahistorical, idealist, and static view of holistic community on the other. The result is ecological theory that reproduces the environmental crisis and lies open to co-optation by right wing ideology.
Short Bio:
Richard Reitan is associate professor of history at Franklin & Marshall College (Pennsylvania, USA). He is the author of Making a Moral Society: Ethics and the State in Meiji Japan (Hawaii, 2010) and various articles on modern Japan on themes of reactionary environmentalism, feminism, folk-psychology, and neoliberalism. He is currently completing a book exploring conceptions of interiority and strategies for regulating society in the context of Japan’s capitalist modernity and beginning a new project on holistic ecological theory and the social reproduction of the environmental crisis.

 
Contact Info: 

 

Astrid M. Kirchhof astrid.m.kirchhof@geschichte.hu-berlin.de
Jan-Henrik Meyer jhmeyer@gmx.de

Contact Email: