Call for Participants

PhD-course Antropocene, Bildung and Education

1 & 15 November 2023 digital; 6-8 December 2023 in Stavanger, Norway

This PhD course will explore the relationship between education and the concepts of the Anthropocene and Bildung. In addition to examining these connections, the course will place emphasis on the challenges that the Anthropocene poses for the teaching and learning of specific school subjects and academic disciplines. It will consider what responses are currently underway and what possibilities remain for the future.

The Anthropocene concept denotes not only the realities of endangered Earth systems but also the many controversies surrounding the interpretation of this predicament and its broader conceptualisation. In contemporary education, the Anthropocene reflects a need to address both its real-life consequences and the associated normative questions of guilt, justice, ecojustice and human self-understanding, topics that have long been central to the educational concept of Bildung. On the one hand, the concept of Bildung encompasses modernist ideals about emancipating humankind from the restrictions of nature. On the other hand, it brings attention to the potential new foundations upon which alternative social organisations and human self-understanding might be reimagined. Bildung in the Anthropocene reveals layers of tension in education conceived as an individual or societal project, as a project of cultural socialisation or constant critical questioning.

While the Anthropocene challenges many disciplinary epistemologies, its implications for subject-based education are not self-evident. Education for sustainable development and environmental humanities often emphasise the importance of transcending disciplines to identify new ways of addressing environmental change. During the course we will problematise this conception and explore specialisation as a powerful tool for transcending everyday experiences and devising new strategies.

The main questions to be addressed during the course are:

  • How can Bildung during the Anthropocene ideally cultivate reimaginings of possible futures?
  • How can the dynamics between the Anthropocene, Bildung and education be regarded, and what epistemological implications might result for education?
  • How can the nature of specialised knowledge in relation to the Anthropocene drive new curricular principles and manifest in teacher transformations within and across disciplines and school subjects?

The course dates and topics are as follows:

  • 1 November, digital, Introduction: Bildung and the Anthropocene
  • 15 November, digital, Workshop: Ideas for paper to EBAN-conference
  • 6 December, physical in Stavanger, Perspectives on the Anthropocene and on Bildung/subject didactics
  • 7 December, physical in Stavanger, Students’ readings and perspectives on the Anthropocene and Bildung
  • 8 December, physical in Stavanger, Workshop on academic papers

This course is open to PhD candidates interested in the concepts of the Anthropocene, Bildung, education, and subject didactics. It is open to candidates from all disciplinary backgrounds. The teaching will consist of a combination of lectures by internationally renowned academics and participatory workshops. Students are expected to develop and work on an academic paper throughout the course. The resulting paper can, if found acceptable, be presented at the international conference organised by the research network Education and Bildung in the Anthropocene (EBAN), held in January 2024.

There is no fee for taking the course. Students will have to arrange for their own travel and accommodation for the in-person days.

Those who complete the course will earn 5 ECTS.

To apply, send a short motivation letter (no more than 300 words) and the application form to Anne Kristine Ohm Ekroll no later than 1 September 2023.

The course is being organized by The Greenhouse Center for Environmental Humanities at the University of Stavanger as one of our Themes in Environmental Humanities PhD courses (course code DUH280) and the research network Education and Bildung in the Anthropocene (EBAN), which is funded by the Swedish Vitenskaprådet.  

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