course
HPI133 | Spring | 6 ECTS

Competing histories of climate change

This class provides a historical background to contemporary climatic issues, to help understand and assess the problems at stake in global environmental politics. We will examine different hypotheses about the human origins of climate change and discuss their intersection with the history of technology, development, and globalization. The program will focus in particular on the formation of the fossil fuel economy and its link to capitalism and rival economic systems, as well as on colonization and imperialism as agents of global environmental transformation. We will also explore and question grand-scale narratives about the long-term evolution of the human species, such as the enduring influence of early agricultural revolutions as processes that initiated the rise of humans to a geological force. Class participants will reflect on the implication of these different visions of climate change's past for the attribution of responsibilities and climate mitigation targets in international politics.