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Umwelt und Gesellschaft

Umwelt und Gesellschaft seeks to become the prime German-language outlet for high-quality monographs and edited volumes of environmental research within the humanities, with a special emphasis on environmental history. It is interdisciplinary and open in thematic and methodological respects, and open to all scholars who publish in German. The series is published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, and is edited by Christof Mauch and Helmuth Trischler.


Vandenhoeck_Köster_coverVolume 15: Roman Köster, Hausmüll: Abfall und Gesellschaft in Westdeutschland 1945–1990 

In the wake of the “economic miracle,” post-war West German society was confronted with a new challenge: the increase in consumption resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of waste being produced. By the 1960s municipal waste management systems were stretched to their limits. An even bigger problem was how to prevent this waste from causing harm to humans and the environment. In this study of social attitudes towards waste, Roman Köster traces the development of a “new” environmental problem and the political, economic, and discursive strategies for dealing with it.



Vandenhoeck_Reden_Wieland_coverVolume 14: Sitta von Reden, Christian Wieland (ed.), Wasser: Alltagsbedarf, Ingenieurskunst und Repräsentation zwischen Antike und Neuzeit

This volume offers a comparative perspective on the control of water and water supply as political means of stabilizing, legitimizing and representing power. Water is a scarce and at the same time un-substitutable means of life whose successful control can help to demonstrate the success of political régimes. Ancient, Early Modern and modern states did and still do use this opportunity to stabilize their power, while aesthetically appealing or materially impressive hydraulic works of engineering visually encapsulate that power. But their building also mobilizes and concentrates manpower, taxes and know-how so that successful water control and state-building were interrelated processes.


Vandenhoeck_Huff_coverVolume 13: Tobias Huff, Natur und Industrie im Sozialismus: Eine Umweltgeschichte der DDR

Should East Germany be considered a "failed state" from an ecological perspective? Images of polluted cities, landscapes devastated by mining, and sludge pits have become icons representing the environmental destruction of the former East German state. Tobias Huff offers a more nuanced picture, pointing out growing ecological awareness and efforts to protect the forest and clean the air. His study challenges common conceptions that portray the environmental history of East Germanyas one of decline, as well as the idea the state and environmentalism were in direct opposition to one another. Instead, he shows that there were advocates of environmental measures within the socialist party, even while the party determined which voices and issues were heard and discussed.


Vandenhoeck_Meyer_coverVolume 12: Annette Meyer, Stephan Schleissing (ed.), Projektion Natur: Grüne Gentechnik im Fokus der Wissenschaften
Green genetic engineering has been a topic of much debate in Germany, both among researchers and the general public. Both opponents and proponents of this technology use science to support their arguments—science interpreted in accordance with their own beliefs. The deep divisions between the two sides suggest that the discussion is about more than just the pros and cons of a new technology, but rather different conceptions of nature. The articles in this volume, which draw on insights from biology, sociology, history, philosophy, and law, contextualize green genetic technology within the discussion about nature and society in order to deconstruct established dichotomies.



Vandenhoeck_Heßler_coverVolume 11: Martina Heßler, Christian Kehrt (ed.), Die Hamburger Sturmflut von 1962: Risikobewusstsein und Katastrophenschutz aus zeit-, technik- und umweltgeschichtlicher Perspektive

In February 1962 Hamburg was devastated by a major storm flood: 315 were killed, 20,000 evacuated, and the dykes were damaged in more than 60 places. The catastrophe shocked not just Hamburg, but the entire German nation. Although the flood was a key event in the history of the German Federal Republic, it has seldom been the topic of in-depth historical study. The articles in this volume offer comparisons with other floods in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as examining the relationship between humans and nature. Risk awareness and disaster protection in modern societies are recurring topics. The volume also considers the role of technology and the socio-cultural context, for example the roll of the German armed forces and the debates of the time about catastrophe protection.

Vandenhoeck_Kraus_CoverVolume 10: Alexander Kraus, Martina Winkler (ed.), Weltmeere: Wissen und Wahrnehmung im langen 19. Jahrhundert

The contributors to this volume examine our relationship with the oceans in the long nineteenth century: how it became the object of scientific study, how it was domesticated, aestheticized, commodified, and structured. They reveal processes which call into question the belief that the ocean was seen as "foreign" and "other" in the modern period. This volume calls for a demystification and pluralization of the cultural study of the seas and gathers both systematic and empirical arguments for such a shift. The articles consider such different subjects as the development of aquariums, Japanese whale fishing, the perception of sound on polar expeditions, and the psychological concepts and literary portrayals of the sea and marine studies in the German and Russian Empires.


Vandenhoeck_Masius_CoverVolume 9: Patrick Masius, Schlangenlinien: Eine Geschichte der Kreuzotter

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the European viper had seldom been studied. But knowledge about this poisonous snake, which represented a danger for both humans and animals, would soon spread. Scientific study went hand-in-hand with ideas about how to exterminate it. The policy of extermination reached its height in 1900 when the Prussian government offered a reward for every snake killed. But the European viper turned out to be very good at surviving and government measures were unsuccessful. In the twentieth century the attitude towards the European viper changed substantially. In the wake of aesthetic and ecological nature conservation ideals it was gradually rehabilitated, eventually even receiving official protected status.



Vandenhoeck_Lübken_CoverVolume 8: Uwe Lübken, Die Natur der Gefahr: Überschwemmungen am Ohio River im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert

Scarcely any other river in the United States has been the scene of such dramatic interaction between nature and society as the Ohio River. The river, an important channel for communication and transportation, was crucial for the rapid development of the Ohio Valley in the nineteenth century. Trade centers and industrial metropolises such as Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Cincinnati sprang up along its banks. However, frequent floods challenged this apparently harmonious relationship between nature and society. Lübken traces the history of the flood regions from the late eighteenth century through the twentieth century. He shows how the vulnerability and resiliance of the local communities has changed over the course of generations, and how specific flood disasters have been dealt with socially, economically, and culturally.


Vandenhoeck_Zelko_CoverVolume 7: Frank Zelko, Greenpeace: Von der Hippiebewegung zum Ökokonzern

The organization Greenpeace fundamentally changed the nature of environmentalism. Today, it is an international network with a global reach. Zelko's study of Greenpeace (originally published in English under the title Make It a Green Peace!) is the first detailed study of the group's history, from it's origins as a loose-knit group of anti-nuclear and anti-whaling activists to the influential organization it is today. His analysis draws on meeting minutes, internal correspondence, manifestos, philosophical writings, and interviews with former members, combining primary source documentation with insights from history, political science, sociology, cultural theory, and environmental studies. Not only has Greenpeace changed substantially in the decades since its foundation, the public's understanding of the environment and nature has transformed into a global awareness.


Vandenhoeck_Strube_CoverVolume 6: Sebastian Strube, Euer Dorf soll schöner werden: Ländlicher Wandel, staatliche Planung und Demokratisierung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Between 1961 and 1979 villages participated in the contest "Unser Dorf soll schöner werden" (May our village become more beautiful). No other project enjoyed such popularity in rural areas. The contest was about far more than just kitschy flower decoration. Rather, itwas an important means of encouraging the formation of a new order in a time when modernization was changing the rural landscape more than ever before. As "peasant folk culture" died out, a modern, functionally diverse region took its place. Even isolated villages were economically integrated into the rest of Germany and gained new importance as spaces for vacation homes and recreation.


Vandenhoeck_Bemmann_CoverVolume 5: Martin Bemmann, Beschädigte Vegetation und sterbender Wald: Zur Entstehung eines Umweltproblems in Deutschland 1893–1970

Martin Bemmann focuses on the debate in Germany about forest damage due to air pollution to shed light on the greater picture of how the approach towards environmental problems has changed over time. The primarily economic concerns of the late nineteenth century had become a socially relevant environmental problem by the 1970s, a problem that would become familiar worldwide as Waldsterben, "forest dieback." The book selects five key moments in this ongoing discussion and shows how the shift in the public discourse and policy was embedded in socio-economic, political and ideological developments in German society.


Vandenhoeck_Mutz_CoverVolume 4: Mathias Mutz, Umwelt als Ressource: Die sächsische Papierindustrie 1850–1930

The interaction and co-evolution with the environment is a fundamental aspect of modern industries. This is particularly true for the paper industry due to its special requirements regarding location, availability of resources, and disposal of waste. Mathias Mutz examines three dimensions of this interaction, the spatial, the material, and the institutional, focusing particularly on the German paper industry in the region of Saxony. He looks at problems such as the transportation of products, optimizing the flow of raw materials such as water and wood, and investment in wastewater treatment facilities.



Vandenhoeck_Zwierlein_CoverVolume 3: Cornel Zwierlein, Der gezähmte Prometheus: Feuer und Sicherheit zwischen Früher Neuzeit und Moderne

In the pre-modern era, city-wide fires posed one of the greatest imaginable catastrophes: they turned cities into ashes and destroyed homes and possessions, and at the same time marked the limits of human control over nature. Starting in the seventeenth century, fire insurance was a precursor to contemporary insurance giants and one of the earliest forms of institutionalized disaster surveillance. Cornel Zwierlein traces the extent, character and perception of conflagrations and the development of insurance from its beginings in Germany and England in the fifteenth century through the globalization of the nineteenth century and the new metropoles in Turkey, India and the USA.



Vandenhoeck_Hasenoehrl_CoverVolume 2: Ute Hasenöhrl, Zivilgesellschaft und Protest: Eine Geschichte der Naturschutz- und Umweltbewegung in Bayern

1945–1980 Nature conservation in Bavaria underwent a fundamental change between the end of World War II and the late 1970s. Ute Hasenöhrl looks at key areas of conflict such as nuclear energy and tourism, and shows how nature conservation developed from a mainly conservative movement to a concernshared by the postmaterialist left. In addition to these changes, continuities also become clear, however: "Granddaddy's nature conservation" wasn't nearly as old-fashioned and passive as popular conceptions of the post-war period frequently portray it.



Vandenhoeck_Uekötter_CoverVolume 1: Frank Uekoetter, Die Wahrheit ist auf dem Feld: Eine Wissensgeschichte der deutschen Landwirtschaft

There are few areas of German society that have been more profoundly affected by innovations in science and technology than agriculture: A pre-modern agrarian society in which hunger was a constant threat has been transfor

med by industrial production methods which produce an abundance of food but also lead to serious environmental problems. Frank Uekötter examines the developments in agricultural practices since the nineteenth century as well as the debates and conflicts to which they have given rise.