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Developing resilience through crises

A new research focus and a lecture series look at resilience in science and society

Freiburg, Nov 02, 2020

Developing resilience through crises

Photo: Guido Kirsch

It is hardly an outlandish statement to describe the year of 2020 as a year of crises. How science can tackle the crises of the day and help resolve them is the question at the heart of the new research focus ‘Researching and Building Resilience in the Environmental Humanities’ at the University of Freiburg’s Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS). In addition an accompanying series of online lectures, the ‘Lunch Lectures’ on the theme of ‘Multidisciplinary Research on Resilience: Examples from Theory and Practice’ will take a comprehensive look at the subject. The research focus and the lecture series will start in the 2020/21 winter semester.

To fight the climate and environmental crisis, the humanities in particular invest in cooperation, organizing under the umbrella of ‘Environmental Humanities’. In recent years the term ‘resilience’ has become a buzzword in relation to the ability of individuals and societies to withstand crises. A group headed by historian Prof. Dr. Melanie Arndt, Sinologist Prof. Dr. Sabine Dabringhaus, geographer Prof. Dr. Hartmut Fünfgeld and media culture expert Prof. Dr. Evi Zemanek together with international researchers will examine the concept of resilience from various perspectives. On the one hand they want to study how the humanities themselves can develop resilience in the face of the challenges arising from changes in the academic value system and new higher education policy. On the other, various research focus projects will contribute to interdisciplinary research into resilience. The academics want to clarify that while the term ‘resilience’ originally came from ecology and was later taken up by sociology and psychology, it also opens up new perspectives on current social debates in the humanities.

This is the goal amongst other things of the online lecture series, the ‘Lunch Lectures’, which will investigate the integration of resilience in various disciplines. They will take place every other Thursday from 5 November 2020 between 12:15 and 13:00. The first lecture will be given by forest scientist Dr. Roderich von Detten. In his lecture he will look at the origins and forms of socio-ecological resilience. Other events in relation to the research focus are planned for 2021: following a workshop in March on teaching the ‘Environmental Humanities’, in July there will be a conference and a summer school on interdisciplinary dialogues about resilience.

‘Researching and Building Resilience in the Environmental Humanities’ Research Focus

Lunch Lectures


Prof. Dr. Evi Zemanek
Department of Media Culture Studies
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203 97319

Prof. Dr. Sabine Dabringhaus
Department of History
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203 3427

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Fünfgeld
Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203 3560

Prof. Dr. Melanie Arndt
Department of History
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203 3442


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