The Environmental Humanities and the Ecological Transformation of Society

Climate catastrophe, the sixth great extinction and other massive environmental changes are overwhelmingly the result of human activity. Already societies all around the world feel their effects. Simultaneously, human activity may also be key for positive change. Inter- and transdisciplinary in scope and method, the Environmental Humanities help to “rethink environment” both on a local, and culturally specific, but also global scale to build a more sustainable relationship with our planet.

The International Doctorate Program at a glance

Duration of studyEight Semesters
Place of studyAugsburg, Munich
Admission requirementsMaster's degree in one of the participating or a related field. Fast track candidates can also apply.
LanguageEnglish, German
Application deadline15. April 2021
Further information on application
HeadProf. Dr. Matthias Schmidt (UA), PD Dr. Simone Müller (LMU)
CoordinatorPD Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck
Contact the coordinator
Further informationWebsite "Rethinking Environment"

Socio-Ecological Transformation and the Humanities

The International Doctorate Program "Rethinking Environment", funded by the Elite Network of Bavaria, qualifies doctoral students from the humanities, the social sciences, and from economics to contribute inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives to a debate commonly associated with the natural sciences.

Indi­vidual pro­jects range from “Gla­ciers as sto­ried mat­ter” in A­me­ri­can poet­ry to cur­rent trans­for­mations in the Pamir mountains in Cen­tral Asia. They exam­ine how rock drill core sam­ples shape the way we relate to the un­der­ground and ask how liber­alism poses a lim­it to re­think­ing the envi­ron­ment. By work­ing across disci­pli­nary and meth­odo­logi­cal bor­ders, the pro­gram trains doc­toral stu­dents to ap­proach en­vi­ron­men­tal topics from aca­demi­cally inno­vative an­gles.

Porträtbild: Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmidt

The program offers an environment for inter- and transdisciplinary thinking and research on pressing issues and thus contributes to the socio-ecological transformation processes that are necessary.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmidt

Furthermore, the program builds heavily on cooperation with partner institutions in Germany and worldwide and ultimately aims to train doctoral students so that they can work at the frontier of theory-guided, evidence-based economics, both in the academic and private-sector.

Snippets of the program

Second Colloquium of the IDK “Rethinking Environment”

In mid-February, PhD stu­dents pre­sent­ed their re­search pro­gress at the sec­ond collo­quium of the IDK “Re­think­ing Envi­ron­ment” that took place at the Uni­versi­ty of Augsburg and at LMU Mu­nich.

Read the report

PhD student Lakshmi Dilipkumar presents at the second IDK Colloquium.

Welcoming L. Sasha Gora and the "Off the Menu" Junior Research Group

Following the talk on the Culinary Environmental Humanties, the IDK was happy to welcome PhD L. Sasha Gora and the doctoral students of the “Off The Menu” Junior Research Group in Augsburg.

Read the report

A group of 13 doctoral students from the IDK and the Research Group are standing next to a building. Some of the doctoral students are looking at each other, others are looking at the camera.

Snippets of the research

Picturing Snowflakes

Floris Winckel explores the flaky history of snow crystal science across four centuries for his doctoral project.

Technology and Humans

The first article of Maximilian Pieper's cumulative dissertation he compares in the context on debates over the Anthropocene the concept of technology as an extension of human capabilities with the concept of technology as a fetish.