Aktuelles Lehrangebot

Current Courses

Berta Martín-López

Environmental Sciences - an Introduction


First part: key scientific background necessary to work in environmental sciences; second part: social-science components of environmental sciences, including value systems and governance.

Ziel: Despite disciplinary boundaries: introduction to environmental sciences including two different perspectives, the natural and the social sciences. In this introductory course we combine basic knowledge in environmental sciences with knowledge of relevance to application to major challenges of our time. This will prepare the way for making cross-cutting connections between the different modules of the environmental science major in later semesters of the bachelor degree.

Colloquium Social-ecological system research


Das Kolloquium wird inhaltlich verschiedene Methoden, Ansätze und Ergebnisse sozial-ökologischer Forschung behandeln und unterschiedliche Formate anbieten: Studierende präsentieren ihre Forschungsvorhaben und/ oder Ergebnisse, die dann mit den Betreuuenden und anderen Forschern diskutiert werden können

Ziel: Ziel der Veranstaltung ist ein Austausch zwischen den Forschenden und Promovierenden, aber auch eine Präsentation des Promotionsvorhabens und eine Reflexion über die Fortschritte der Promotion

Environmental Sciences - an Introduction. Humanities seminar A (for GESS)


The main content includes:

• Conceptualization of paradigms of value-systems with practical exercises

• Identification of relevant stakeholders and institutions for environmental decision-making

• The importance of social relationships in environmental governance

• Social conflicts and the role of deliberation

The knowledge in seminars is constructed through role-play teaching method that allows students to understand social-ecological dynamics and to assimilate the contents learned in lectures by facing realistic situations and environmental problems

Ziel: The seminar aims to get knowledge about social aspects that determine sustainability decisions, particularly value-systems, conflicts between social actors, and power relations.

Ecological restoration for sustainability - final module (transdisciplinary project)


With the increasing human pressure on ecosystems and cultural landscapes, one of the main challenges is to design and develop ecological restoration that supports the preservation of biodiversity, ecosystem services and livelihood security. A central theme here is to integrate the ecological dimension with the socio-cultural dimension in order to create sustainable landscapes and equitable societies. Therefore, restoration does not only focus on ecological functions and biodiversity, but also on human communities, their knowledge and values. Indeed, restoration requires of society as agents of sustainable transformations.

During the seminar in the second module we will examine how we can restore nature, how we can engage different social actors and how we can measure the impacts of restoration strategies on human wellbeing and biodiversity.

Ziel: The overall goal of this seminar module is to move on from the designing and implementing work performed in the previous semester to working directly on the transdisciplinary project you have chosen in the previous semester. An outcome will include an outreach project e.g. a film, presentation to the wider public or article.

Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Get knowledge about basic ecological and social methods for implementing restoration practices;

2. Get understanding about the complex interactions between social and ecological systems in restoration;

3. Ability to deal with complexity

4. Be familiar with the scientific literature regarding ecological restoration

Students will also get competencies on:

1. Ability to systematically research information

2. Ability to work in interdisciplinary teams

3. Ability to communicate in writing and oral formats.

4. Designing and implementing an transdisciplinary project (from start to "finish")

Basics of Inter- and Transdisciplinarity - lecture


Qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative methods for knowledge integration and identifying, framing and solving (sustainability) problems:

Stakeholder analysis, future scenarios and backcasting, assessment approaches, integrative approaches of problem transformation and solving, methods for designig and implementating collaborative processes (both transdisciplinary research approaches and approaches for supporting societal negotiation processes).

Ziel: The students acquire knowledge, skills and capabilities for purposefully engaging with sustainability problems in a project oriented way by: (i) understanding conceptual fundamentals of sustainability and respective problems, (ii) being able to apply a set of methods meaningfully to a given problem, (iii) being capable of identifying and discussing potentials and limitations of respective methods and the relevance of knowledge integration and achieving collaborative/participatory processes between science and society.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.

Current Courses

Dr. Aymara Victoria Llanque Zonta

Environmental Sciences - an Introduction. Humanities seminar. Group B (for UWI)


The main content includes:

• Conceptualization of paradigms of value-systems with practical exercises

• Identification of relevant stakeholders and institutions for environmental decision-making

• The importance of social relationships in environmental governance

• Social conflicts and the role of deliberation

The knowledge in seminars is constructed through role-play teaching method that allows students to understand social-ecological dynamics and to assimilate the contents learned in lectures by facing realistic situations and environmental problems

Ziel: The seminar aims to get knowledge about social aspects that determine sustainability decisions, particularly value-systems, conflicts between social actors, and power relations.

"When we stand up, they have to negotiate with us" - South-North North-South proposals from local to global sustainable changes


The course proposes to reflect on participation and contributions for sustainability transformation from the perspective of knowledge generation. We will focus on sustainability from the point through lectures and workshop style methodology; for an understanding of political participation of social movements. We will emphasize in social learning and the adoption of a transdisciplinary approach to the interface between science, policy and practice. The inspiration will be local proposals to global changes, mainly examples of South-North North, and their pragmatic responsible towards sustainability.

There are 2 threads under which sessions will be organized in the seminar:

1. Interface of Science, Policy and Practice, resonance with social movements from North and South.

2. Understanding meta topics- transformative, transgressive and transdisciplinary learning.

Ziel: It is expected that at the end of the seminar, we have:

1) Develop broader understanding of the concept of sustainable development

CANCELED: Biocultural approaches, multiple and dynamic relationships between the diversity of cultures and nature towards sustainability (FSL)


The seminar focus on bio-cultural habits in indigenous thought. That consist of reflections on life and death, upbringing, productive food cycles, in the indigenous world, bio-culture in daily life, for the integral management of common goods, towards socio-ecological restoration. Myths and legends. Ontological on cultural differences and cosmopolitics.

We are going to analyze social organizations practices connected with indigenous and local knowledge, on forms of community political organization, commons distribution systems, care policies, for self-determination as anti-extractivism political ecology. The party and community leisure time as an integration strategy. Seeds of future that sprout from the past, reflections on practices and discourses for territorial management, the material, the political and the spiritual integrated in self-determination forms.

We will focus on indigenous sciences, as a strong transdisciplinary bet, where bridges of dialogue are woven between non-Western and Western knowledge matrices, for example the science of the Sami people, Daagaba science of Ghana, indigenous science in the Andes, Yoruba science, among others, to problematize the colonial continuities in the production of knowledge and possible alternatives.

Ziel: Provide a background of biocultural perspectives, culture and nature interactions, power relations and structural asymmetries in territories with bio-cultural diversity, combining conceptual framework from indigenous sciences and practical experiences.

Sustainable Consumption - final module (transdisciplinary project)


This seminar is complementary to the course called: Sustainable Consumption - Project planning [Sustainable Consumption - Project planning] (S). It aims to offer direct advice to transformative participatory action research projects, and is focused on local initiatives of change towards sustainable consumption.

The work dynamics will have a package perspective, we will test a theory of change related to strong transdisciplinarity and sustainability; as well as create spaces for collaborative work and scientific training linked to policy and practice.

Ziel: To create a transdisciplinary research project, accompanying a pilot action of transformation in sustainable consumption.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.

Current Courses

Dr Jasmine Pearson

Basics of Inter- and Transdisciplinarity - lecture


Qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative methods for knowledge integration and identifying, framing and solving (sustainability) problems:

Stakeholder analysis, future scenarios and backcasting, assessment approaches, integrative approaches of problem transformation and solving, methods for designig and implementating collaborative processes (both transdisciplinary research approaches and approaches for supporting societal negotiation processes).

Ziel: The students acquire knowledge, skills and capabilities for purposefully engaging with sustainability problems in a project oriented way by: (i) understanding conceptual fundamentals of sustainability and respective problems, (ii) being able to apply a set of methods meaningfully to a given problem, (iii) being capable of identifying and discussing potentials and limitations of respective methods and the relevance of knowledge integration and achieving collaborative/participatory processes between science and society.

Valuing nature: reflecting on transdisciplinary methods (FSL)


Sustainability challenges have increasingly brought attention towards the role of the plurality of values of nature to humans, shaping human-nature relationships. In particular, research and practice on environmental values have made significant progress in building a common framework on values, by linking different interdisciplinary concepts and methods, and bridging between science and policy platforms. In more recent years, nature valuation literature has focused mainly on three main categories of values: (1) Intrinsic (nature has value as an end in itself in a moral sense), (2) Instrumental (nature has value as a means for achieving a particular end), (3) Relational (the importance is given to preferences, principles and virtues derived from relationships with nature). These three categories synthetize long-dated efforts from academia, social movements, Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK), and policy-makers, to better understand human-nature relationships and social-ecological systems dynamics. Nevertheless, the debates are still ongoing, considering the complexity of conceptualizing the diversity of perspectives and worldviews from which societies build their interactions with their environment. Such discussions have been part of the deliberations of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), in search for integrative and innovative approaches on the topic.

Nature valuation has been of crucial importance for thinking and designing sustainability transformations at multiple scales. For this reason, this course will provide a general conceptual overview of values of nature, and an exploration of the methodological applications that could guide further research and action in sustainability topics and initiatives inside academia and in practice-oriented contexts. The seminar will aim at promoting a dialogue on the benefits, risks and opportunities of a plurality of conceptual and methodological approaches to understand the values of nature to humans.

The seminar will be developed through three main axes: concepts, methods, and applications. In the conceptual axis, we will review the most important and recent debates about values. In particular, we will highlight the relevance of thinking values from an environmental ethics perspective, and discuss how this links to multiple perspectives of human-nature relations such as the anthropocentric, the eco-centric and the bio-centric. We will also discuss the importance of conceptualizing values from an epistemic justice perspective, considering for example how different worldviews can be represented or excluded from the conceptual frameworks that guide research and practice. In the methodological axis, we will assess a plurality of methods through which values can be unveiled and analysed, raising awareness on how the methodological choices can also shape the realities that they intend to analyse. This methodological axis will provide tools to better understand the roles, the potentials and the risks of assessing values of nature, and the importance of transdisciplinary environmental science for overcoming epistemological barriers that usually exclude a plurality of knowledges (such as ILK). The course will particularly address the close links between research-practice on values of nature, pluralism and epistemological justice. Finally, the applications axis will analyse the practical implications of conceptual and methodological debates and pluralism. This axis will promote practical experimentations in which students will learn from case-studies in literature and real-life examples of research and practice on values and will engage in active dialogues with actors involved in concrete research in different geographies (e.g. Germany, Colombia, Fiji, Bolivia). This axis will promote innovation and creativity in students interested in developing research-action initiatives in the future.

The seminar will address key questions according to the different axes:

- Conceptual: (1) how can we conceptualize values of nature, (2) what are the main benefits and risks of the different values conceptualizations? (3) what can we learn from bridging academic and non-academic conceptualization?

- Methodological: (4) how can we unveil and assess the plurality of values of nature? (5) how can we promote epistemological justice in research and practice involving values of nature?

- Applications and transdisciplinarity: (6) what can we learn from different practical applications of multiple values frameworks? (7) how can we apply different values-frameworks in our academic and practice-oriented initiatives?

This seminar is a collaborative initiative between Jasmine Pearson, who works on the demand and values of NCP in Mt Kilimanjaro Social-Ecological System (DFG funded) and Stefan Ortiz-Przychodzka, from the research project on biocultural diversity in farming landscapes in the Global South (BMBF funded).

Ziel: This seminar aims at promoting in-depth reflections and dialogue on values of nature as performative concepts, as epistemological processes, and as triggers of action in transdisciplinary research for sustainability transformations.

The students will gain knowledge on the main conceptual debates in research and practice involving values of nature. The conceptual exploration will highlight the extent to which concepts are not merely mental constructs but also affect and are affected by tangible realities and power-relationships in academic, policy and practice contexts. This will allow students to understand the transdisciplinary and transformative aspects of values conceptualizations.

Values of nature as methodological processes involving epistemological justice: students will learn from different examples of methodological applications of values of nature in transdisciplinary contexts. They will discuss the epistemological justice implications, i.e. the extent to which methodological designs allow for an epistemological pluralism considering the close links between the diverse values of nature and sociocultural worldviews shaping human-nature relationships.

Values of nature within transdisciplinary research: students will actively engage in thinking and designing transdisciplinary research methods for unveiling and assessing values, using the conceptual and methodological tools discussed during the seminar, and the inspiration from debates and discussions with participants including actors involved in values-related research and practice from multiple geographic contexts.

The students are expected to show interest in bridging between concepts-methods-practice through reflections, dialogue and creativity in methodological application. The seminar is aimed at students interested in inter- and transdisciplinary research in sustainability transformations. Reflections and applications of methodological pluralism will include quantitative and qualitative approaches for the elicitation of values, and participatory research potentially involving audiovisual tools, cartography and participatory GIS, arts-based methods, interviewing techniques, among others.

Further information about courses you will find in our academic portal myStudy.