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Reinventing plastic in everyday life: a challenge for science and society

Leader: Dr. Sumati Bhatia, Freie Universität Berlin; Junior Prof. Dr. Magdalena Buchczyk, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Institutional affiliation: Institut für Chemie und Biochemie, Freie Universität Berlin

Funding Period: 01.04.2022 – 30.09.2022

How do plastics operate as part of our daily life, from consumer practice to waste? How do we make eco-friendly alternatives and use them as part of our everyday life? This course aims to explore the possibilities of joint scientific and social research to address the challenge of plastic for the implementation of alternatives.   Despite having caused immense damage to our biosphere, the demand for plastic based products is all time high. Inappropriate waste management, poor recycling, and social barriers to change paired with industrial challenges for replacement with affordable green alternatives have made this wicked problem almost insolvable.  Following a preparatory phase (Week 1-6) in which the students are introduced to debates surrounding eco-friendly polymers and ethnography and material culture approaches, the students conduct their own research (Week 7-12); preparing for the final presentations. The semester concludes with a multimedia presentation of the research outputs and an exhibition. The Module will be taught by a chemist and an anthropologist. The seminars will be held in English, so will be the readings. The master students from all disciplines (e.g., Chemistry, European Ethnology, Biology, Sociology, Archeology, Economics, etc.) are greatly welcome. Anthropology or chemistry experience is not essential.  The first session will be on April 20 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm via Zoom link https://hu-berlin.zoom.us/j/66787158731 

Course language: English
Schedule: wednesdays, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Place: The first lecture will be held on April 20 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm via the zoom link below: https://hu-berlin.zoom.us/j/66787158731 

Seminarroom: Institut für Europäische Ethnologie der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Room 408, Mohrenstraße 40/41 (MO 40)

Contact: sumati@zedat.fu-berlin.de / magdalena.buchczyk@hu-berlin.de