13657 - How to Talk about Nature? Modulübersicht

Module Number: 13657
Module Title:How to Talk about Nature?
  Wie über Natur sprechen?
Department: Faculty 5 - Business, Law and Social Sciences
Responsible Staff Member:
  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. phil. habil. Schwarz, Astrid
Language of Teaching / Examination:English
Duration:1 semester
Frequency of Offer: Every winter semester
Credits: 6
Learning Outcome:After passing the module, students understand main philosophical theories of “nature”, interrogate the concept of “nature” and expose its numerous ideological and cultural manifestations. They identify the main ethical dimensions of “nature”, and its crosscultural and political dimensions. Additionally they understand the power of narratives and storytelling to shape our environmental present and future by insight into reading, writing, and visual practices about “nature”.
Contents:“How to talk about nature?” is closely linked to the question of what “nature” is, how it is construed and in which way we act with, in or against it. It is a question that is ontological and epistemological at the same time, it is about how we imagine nature “to be” and how we conceive knowledge about nature. The ideas about this entwinement are manifold over time and in space, different cultures have developed different ways of thinking and also practices of how to deal with a culture/nature distinction. Another important conceptual issue is how nature and technology are related, in contemporary debates for instance, "nature" is often identified with "environment" and as such inescapably entangled with its cultural, political, and technological context. Is the use of technology in “nature” then a threat or an opportunity to build a genuinely sustainable world?
This module seeks to answer these and other questions, by approaching “nature” with variously grounded historical and contemporary theoretical approaches. For example, the concept of “nature” was differently interpreted in ancient times, compared to modern contemporary cultures. We will probe the different usage, the scope of historical and cross-cultural depth, the semantics, the images/imaginaries, and finally, the logical coherence of “nature” concepts. This variety of topics means that the assigned readings will draw from a wide range of sources. With respect to handle current ecological and technocultural problems, a conscious reflection about “nature” seems to be required. Thus, the module should be also seen, in part, as a way to gain insight into contemporary reading, writing, and visual practices about “nature”.

Participation in the accompanying excursion is encouraged.
Recommended Prerequisites:none
Mandatory Prerequisites:none
Forms of Teaching and Proportion:
  • Lecture / 2 Hours per Week per Semester
  • Seminar / 2 Hours per Week per Semester
  • Self organised studies / 120 Hours
Teaching Materials and Literature:Literature and learning materials are given in the course description.
Module Examination:Continuous Assessment (MCA)
Assessment Mode for Module Examination:
  • One short essay, max 1500 words (25%)
  • Two reviews, each max. 2000 words (each 30%)
  • 2 oral (group) presentations, about 15 min OR
    weekly submitted written answers to one short question per week on the topical readings to be determined by the instructor (15%)

The oral part of the examination can be done digitally or as a virtual meeting if the conditions for an examination in presence are not given.
Evaluation of Module Examination:Performance Verification – graded
Limited Number of Participants:None
Part of the Study Programme:
  • Master (research-oriented) / Environmental and Resource Management / PO 2011 - 2. SÄ 2017
  • Master (research-oriented) / Environmental and Resource Management / PO 2021
  • Master (research-oriented) - Double Degree / Environmental and Resource Management / PO 2021
  • Master (research-oriented) / Urban Design and Sustainable Revitalization / PO 2024
  • Master (research-oriented) / World Heritage Studies / PO 2008 - NF 2021
  • Master (research-oriented) - Double Degree / World Heritage Studies / PO 2008 - 4. SÄ 2017
  • Master (research-oriented) - Double Degree / World Heritage Studies / PO 2021
Module Components:
  • Seminar, lecture - 4 hours per week per semester
Components to be offered in the Current Semester: