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Cultivating Sustainability: Education and the Environmental Humanities

Together with the English Department II, ZuS organized the conference "Cultivating Sustainability: Education and the Environmental Humanities", which took place in Cologne from October 4-6, 2018.


Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Greg Garrard (British Columbia)
  • Professor Mike Hulme (Cambridge)
  • Professor Christiane Lütge (Munich)
  • Professor Uwe Küchler (Tübingen)
  • Professor Hubert Zapf (Augsburg)


What is now known as the environmental humanities has become a recognised and thriving field, and invaluable work that tackles the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and energy consumption is being done in areas such as ecocriticism, human-animal studies, and environmental history. This work helps understand the cultural dimensions of environmental change and underlines the importance of both disciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to the global crises at hand. Yet, although policy documents, curricula, and research on subject-specific pedagogies underline the role of education in this regard, we are still only at the beginning of what could be called an ‘environmental turn’ in education. The UNESCO as well as other, political stakeholders demand that findings in environmental research be more fully integrated into teaching practices and suggest that we understand and endorse the societal impact of education in terms of a ‘transformative education’ that is necessary for a ‘Great Transformation’. Concepts such as ‘transformative literacy’ have begun to shape the field of pedagogy – yet the role and full potential of education in literatures, cultures, history, and other, traditionally humanities-based, fields is less than clear.This international conference seeks to bring together scholars working in the aforementioned fields in order to inquire into the role (and possible shortcomings) of the concept of sustainability in educational and broader social contexts. It will provide a platform to discuss research and teaching methodologies and explore the potential of global and transcultural learning, inclusive education, and interdisciplinary takes on transformative education from hermeneutic-systematic, historical as well as quantitatively and qualitatively empirical vantage points.


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