Universität Wien FIND

070155 GR Guided Reading - Energy in History and Social Ecology (2019S)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 7 - Geschichte
Continuous assessment of course work


max. 25 participants
Language: English



This seminar is held at the Institute of Social Ecology of BOKU: 1070 Vienna, Schottenfeldgasse 29 (U3 Zielergasse or U6 Burggasse-Stadthalle or tram 5 Stollgasse). All classes on Monday early afternoons - 4.3. 13-15 ct (kick-off), all other classes 13:15-16:00: 18.3., 1.4., 29.4., 13.5., 20.5., 17.6., and 24.6.


Aims, contents and method of the course

CONTENT: Energy as a key issue and concept of interdisciplinary environmental history and Social Ecology - Energy transitions in (world) history - Energy crises past and present - Energy sources and their social and ecological implications - Energy conflicts, energy revolutions, energy wars?

LEARNING METHOD: This is a GUIDED READING course. You will read one article per week and prepare for an intensive class discussion. For one article, you will research the context (author, other relevant literature, etc.), prepare a handout and give a short introduction. You are expected to engage actively in the detailed discussions of all articles.

LEARNING AIMS: Students learn to critically read scholarly literature, they achieve an overview of important ways to address energy (in environmental history and social ecology) and get an overview over roles of energy (transitions) in history. Students strengthen their ability to read scholarly literature for the use of one's own writing.

Assessment and permitted materials

Participation is key: 70% of your grade is based on your contributions to the discussions (0-100 points for each class), participation and hence, attendance, is mandatory!
ONE short written Paper is expexted, a handout, approx. 2 pages.
30% of your grade is based on your input and written paper

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Some proficiency in English is necessary, as the course is held in English.

Examination topics

Reading list

WHITE, Richard (1995): Chapter I: Knowing Nature through Labor. In: R. White: The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River: Hill and Wang, 1995, pp. 3-29

MALANIMA, Paolo (2014): Energy in History. In: Agnoletti, M., Neri Serneri, S. (eds.): The Basic Environmental History: 1-29.

RUSSELL, Edmund et al. (2011): The Nature of Power: Synthesizing the History of Technology and Environmental History. In: Technology and Culture 52: 246-259.

BARCA, Stefania (2011): Energy, property, and the industrial revolution narrative. In: Ecological Economics 70: 1309-1315.

SMOUT, Christopher (2003): Energy in Scotland, Ireland and Iceland 1600-1800. In: Economia e Energia Secc. XIII-XVIII: 607-621.

FISCHER-KOWALSKI, M. et al. (2014): A socio-metabolic reading of the Anthropocene – Modes of substistence, population size, and human impact on earth. In: The Anthropocene Review 1: 8-33

SIEFERLE, Rolf Peter (1982/2001): Preface and Energy Systems and Social Evolution. In: The Subterrenean Forest (c. 50 pages in total)

SMIL, Vaclav (2000): Energy in the Twentieth Century: Resources, Conversions, Costs, Uses, and Consequences. In: Annu. Rev. Energy Environ. 25: 21-51.

KRAUSMANN, F. (2016): From Energy Source to Sink: Transformations of Austrian Agriculture In: Haberl et al., Social Ecology: 433-445.

MALANIMA, Paolo (2014): Energy in History. In: Agnoletti, M., Neri Serneri, S. (eds.): The Basic Environmental History: 1-29.

Association in the course directory

Epoche: Zeitgeschichte
Aspekte/Räume: Globalgeschichte, Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte
MA HPS: M 1.2, M 1.3

Last modified: Mo 01.07.2019 15:07