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RMA Thematic course: ‘Writing environmental history in the Anthropocene’

The climate crisis has forced historians to confront what has often only been visible in the background of their works: how have interactions between humans and the environment shaped history? How should current accounts of history be adjusted based on insights about this relation and which new histories should we write? Exploring these questions, historians can draw on a broad body of scholarship in the field of environmental history. In this course, participants analyze core concepts and themes of environmental history. In particular, we will discuss how environmental history impacts debates about agency, the temporal scope, and spatial parameters of history.

This course is primarily aimed at RMA students. Taking our cue from distinct historical subjects like animal history, forestry, mining, the activities of naturalists, and environmental activism, we will examine a particular approach to environmental history each week. Participants are expected to prepare for each session by reading the assigned texts and writing a short statement. For one of the sessions, they will prepare a more extensive critical evaluation of a particular approach. The final assignment consists of an essay which discusses how an existing strain of historiography should be adjusted based on new insights from environmental history or discusses a new subject could be developed based on one of the approaches discussed.

Dates & times

Location: University of Amsterdam

Friday 10 November 2023, 15:00-17:00h
Friday 17 November 2023, 15:00-17:00h
Friday 24 November 2023, 15:00-17:00h
Friday 1 December 2023, 15:00-17:00h
Friday 8 December 2023, 15:00-17:00h
Friday 15 December 2023, 15:00-17:00h

Course registration new RMA students

RMA students who start in 2023-2024 are not yet registered with a National Research School (this will be carried out by the local graduate schools in September), but can already enroll in our courses and activities. To secure your spot in this course, please enroll via the form below. In the remarks section. mention that you will start your RMA in September.

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This course is fully booked. For a spot on the waiting list, contact