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CfP - Changing the Earth’s (Sur-)Face. Adjusting Nature to Human Needs (Wuppertal, Germany, May 23-25, 2018) - deadline Nov. 3

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The Interdisciplinary Centre for Science and Technology Studies (IZWT) at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal will organize the workshop 'Changing the Earth’s (Sur-)Face. Adjusting Nature to Human Needs' in Wuppertal, Germany, on May 23-25, 2018. Papers from all fields of history with a focus on more recent history are welcome and should be submitted before November 3, 2017.

The extensive use of science and technology as a means of changing nature seems to link such varied forms of manipulation as landscape designing/gardening or plant-genetics. But, though neither a genetically manipulated plant nor a beautifully designed garden is “natural”, the ways in which they have been influenced by human intervention fall into different categories.

The workshop wants to encourage discussion about how we could best define and describe such categories. As a starting point we suggest to focus on the purposes that have driven humans to change their natural surroundings, laying special emphasis on the late 19th to the 20th century. How and why have nature or specific elements of nature been altered according to human needs and what levels of manipulation have been employed?

The workshop wants to address these gaps in our knowledge and welcomes all contributions that relate to the different aspects of how and why man has interfered with nature. .

For further information on the topic, please get in touch with Vanessa Cirkel-Bartelt,; or Volker Remmert, The workshop’s ambit invites interdisciplinary collaboration. Proposals for papers from all who can contribute to the topic are therefore welcome. Special consideration will be given to proposals from young scholars.

The language of the workshop will be English. Submissions must include a title, an abstract (1–2 pages) of a 20 minute presentation, and a short CV (maximum one page). Submissions should be sent to Vanessa Cirkel-Bartelt at and Volker Remmert at no later than November 3, 2017. Contributors’ overnight accommodation costs will be covered. But because funds are limited, please let us know well in advance if you will need support to cover travel expenses.

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