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Nature as Remedy? Exploring how Berliners care for a healthier city

Nature as Remedy. Bildquelle: Nadja Bülow / Moviemiento.org

Nature as Remedy. Bildquelle: Nadja Bülow / Moviemiento.org
Image Credit: Nadja Bülow / Moviemiento.org

Leader: Dr. Laura Kemmer, Geografisches Institut, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; institutional connection: Geografisches Institut, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

This research group critically explores the notion of ‘health’ through the lens of human-environment relations in Berlin. Our project will be developed in close dialogue with an interdisciplinary and inter-university collaboration that is currently being set up in response to the BUA Main Call Global Health and which seeks to develop an urban ‘multispecies’ perspective in order to 1) Problematize urbanization as process that leads to the destruction of natural habitats, thus contributing to the emergence of zoonoses such as Covid-19 and the general ill-being of both humans and the environment. 2) Explore the city as a space where solutions to the (current) health crisis – which is inextricably linked to the ongoing climate crisis – are being developed. Drawing from critical theories of care in the humanities and social sciences, we will explore Berliners' relations to species (animals, plants ...) that are being framed as both remedy and threat in current urban politics and everyday practices, including but not limited to case studies of ‘urban greening’ and the promotion of ‘animal infrastructures‘, the management of ‘urban wildlife’, or discussions about ‘invasive species’. 


The seminar is open to MA students from all disciplines and BUA institutions; theories and methods are decidedly inter-disciplinary and will be elaborated together with the lecturer during the regular seminar meetings. The final assignments are short films produced by the students throughout the semester. Students will receive guidance about this method by a professional filmmaker. 

All interested students are invited to participate in a first information meeting on October 14, 3-5 p.m. If you wish to participate please send an email including your name and study program/university (and 1-2 sentences about your interest in the group, if you like) to <laura.kemmer@geo.hu-berlin.de> to receive the zoom link.

The research group is organised in form of a block seminar (final dates t.b. set during the info meeting!):
Session 1: 29.10 and 30.10.2021, 9-5 p.m.
Session 2: 5.11 and 6.11.2021, 9-5 p.m.
Session 3: 4.2 and 5.2.2022, 9-5 p.m.
Session 4: 11.2 and 12.2.2022, 9-5 p.m.

Contact: laura.kemmer@geo.hu-berlin.de

For more information about the BUA x-student format: https://www.berlin-university-alliance.de/en/commitments/teaching-learning/sturop/research-groups/index.html