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Welcome to the Panel on Planetary Thinking

"In times of crisis it is all the more evident that we have to say goodbye to narrow patterns of thought. The "Panel on Planetary Thinking" at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen overcomes the boundaries between disciplines and expands these in the sense of a planetary overall perspective. I am glad that the participating researchers are thus taking a closer look at the topic of "sustainability", which we have very consciously included in the Hessian Higher Education Pact 2021-2025. Among the higher education policy goals, it explicitly states that "Sustainability, in view of scientifically proven knowledge about the transgression of planetary boundaries, should play an important role in the actions of every university (planetary thinking)." (Angela Dorn, Hessian Minister for Science and Art)


Starting at the earliest possible date, we are looking for reinforcement for our core team. The available position as a research assistant at 20h/month offers insights into the development of a transdisciplinary initiative and a broad field of activity. Tasks range from supporting and communicating scientific projects to developing databases. Applications are due on March 28, 2023.


March 06, 2023: "Remain faithful to the earth!": "Review by Claus Leggewie of Markus Schroer's "Geosociology. The Earth as Space of Life" (german)

On March 06, Claus Leggewie's  review of Marburg sociologist Markus Schoer's publication "Geosociology. The Earth as Space of Life". The book argues for the development of a new theoretical program of "environmental sociology" towards an expansion of sociological-perspective and methodological approaches in view of the challenges of the Anthropocene.

Winners Planetary Futures Competition 2022: Workshop Planetary Pedagogy at the Theaterlabor (20.-22.02.23)

Ecological catastrophes concern us all, civil society and scientific actors alike. This also applies to pedagogy as a discipline: crises of planetary magnitude, such as the climate crisis and mass extinction of species, require a new,a planetary pedagogy, in order to adequately grasp the dimensions of these phenomena. This new approach needs to include physical, affective, and material practices in addition to solely teaching factual knowledge.

This week, the winners of our Planetary Futures competition explored new concepts for teaching in a multi-sensory approach: Through a series of workshops, Carolina Mendonça, Luïza Luz, and Max Haiven offered sessions on Embodiment, Listening Pratices, Game-making and Performativity.

We thank the initiators Gerko Egert, Martina Ruhsam and Bojana Kunst for a successful event at the intersection between performance art, pedagogy and activism.

Podcast "Knowing Animals" 209: Liza Bauer on Teaching Animal Studies

Our scientific manager Liza Bauer was a guest on the podcast series "Knowing Animals" to talk about her research on Animal Studies, pedagogy and science fiction. The conversation was based on her publication "Reading the Stretch the Imagination: Exploring Representations of 'Livestock' in Literary Thought Experiments," which appeared translated to English in Multispecies Studies (2022) and in the original German version in InterspeziesLernen (2021).

January 2023: Second Call for Applications of our Planetary Futures Competition 

For the second time, the Panel on Planetary Thinking announces the Planetary Futures Competition Vol. II (2023). The aim is to provide financial support for transdisciplinary research projects that are in the initial stages of applying for external funding. Project ideas dedicated to researching planetary phenomena using innovative approaches and methods will be awarded funding of up to 5,000 euros. The main aim is to pave the way for explorative research projects that require a research practice beyond disciplinary boundaries and thus entail special risks, challenges and opportunities.

January 2023: Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class for Prof. Claus Leggewie

Photo: Paul Müller

We congratulate our Scientific Director Claus Leggewie: On January 20, 2023 he was awarded the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his commitment to democracy and tolerance. For further information, please visit We would like to express our sincere gratitude for his commitment to the Panel, to the University of Giessen, and to his many activities far beyond.




Press Release: Announcement Fellows “Planetary Spaces” for the first semester of 2023

 The Panel on Planetary Thinking is very pleased to welcome our Fellows for the first semester of 2023: Dr. Sibylle Anderl, Adenike Titilope Oladosu and Jason Waite will spend the summer semester as Resident Fellows researching planetary spaces to collaboratively develop new ideas for their own projects. A press release with detailed information about the Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence program, as well as the projects of our Fellows can be found here.


26 January 2023 - Planetary Lecture Dr. Kira Vinke - "Sturmnomaden" (german)


The Panel on Planetary Thinking, the DFG Research Group MeDiMi (Human Rights Discourses in the Migration Society) and the Environmental Law Practitioners Seminar of the Justus Liebig University Giessen invite you to attend our upcoming Planetary Lecture:





Kira Vinke: „Sturmnomaden“. Der Klimawandel verlangt eine neue Migrationspolitik

Time: January 26, 2023, 6-8 p.m.

Location: University main building, 3rd floor, seminar room 315.


Durch den Klimawandel dehnen sich Wüsten aus, werden Küsten überspült und reißen Bergrutsche Dörfer und Stadtviertel weg. Dadurch schränken sich die Lebensräume für Menschen weiter ein, eine massive Klimawanderung ist die Folge. Kira Vinke hat mit ihrer Pionierarbeit zu den Sturmnomaden auf die Notwendigkeit einer Politik hingewiesen, die Klimawandel und Biodiversitätsverlust als Fluchtgründe anerkennt und sich dem Thema der globalen Migration neu stellt.


Kira Vinke is the director of the Center for Climate and Foreign Policy at the German Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the German government's Advisory Council on Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding. Her research topics include climate impacts, violent conflict, and civil crisis prevention, particularly in South Asia, the Sahel, and the Pacific. Previously, she worked as a consultant for the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and as a consultant for the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Asian Development Bank. She is also involved in the board of trustees of World Vision Deutschland e.V., as a member of the association of the German section of Action against Hunger, and in the Development Service and Humanitarian Aid Committee of Bread for the World.



Jürgen Bast, Chair of Public Law and European Law at JLU and spokesperson for the MeDiMi research group, will open the discussion on Kira Vinke's lecture with a commentary on "Climate Migration and the Humanization of Refugee Law".


Please note that the lecture will be held in German.


Das Resort (2022). A Film by Mathias Kessler





The short film "Das Resort", directed by our Fellow Mathias Kessler was made under the impressions of the first Covid-19 lockdown. Adapted from a script by screenwriter Ron Kanecke and translated into German by Chiara Juriatti, the film tells of the nameless narrator's search for his father in a world where humans have been silenced by a virus. Against the backdrop of an unspecified mountain village, a narrative unfolds away from linear time, along memories of childhood, the father, and the world before and after catastrophe. A more detailed description of the movie can be found here.







Reflections: Planetary Materials-Workshop Series 18 October - 12 November 2022


James Lovelock Memorial Lecture

Writing Workshop on Climate Grief

This year, our fellow Claudia J. Ford’s workshop series “What Earth is Made of” took place on Oct. 18th, and Nov. 10th & 11th, 2022. The series reflected on James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis from an indigenous perspective to deepen our understanding of planetary materials and their constellations through art and science. The series connected indigenous ideas about ecology with the climate crisis and engaged the participants in storytelling through all of the senses – hands on farm labor, film, creative writing, lectures, listening, dialog, and an exhibition of climate change and planetary materials inspired visual art.  Here you can find a more detailed report on the events.

Artists Talk by Claudia Ford during the opening of the exhibition Planetary Origin Stories
Collage The Cosmic Show, 42x29.7 cm; collage of paper, homemade paper, fabric, ink



23 November 2022: Guest Lecture by Claudia J. Ford “Writing Nature: Justice, Identity & Environmentalism in American Multicultural Literature" at University Klagenfurt



On 23 November 2022, our Fellow Claudia J. Ford was invited to the University Klagenfurt to give a lecture on "Writing Nature: Justice, Identity & Environmentalism in American Multicultural Literature". Among other things, she spoke about the literary representation of ecological injustice and discussed with the participants the potential of literary texts to communicate the voices of ethnic minorities in connection with ecological challenges to the public.


17 November 2022: Live Feature with Frederic Hanusch on the TV Show “Scobel – Zukunft gestalten” (Transforming the Future, 3sat)


The evening of Nov 17th, our scientific manager (currently fellow at The New Institute) Frederic Hanusch appeared live within a TV-feature: The German channel 3 Sat invited him as a guest to discuss future forms of living in conversation with Imke Woelk (architect & artist), Stefan Brunnhuber (economist & psychiatrist), and Gert Scobel (journalist & philosopher) at the show “scobel – Zukunft gestalten”. The show reflects on transforming the future in light of current planetary challenges. This episode, the round of guests debated on the interrelationship between democracy and climate policies, the effectiveness of “rights of nature” approaches in connection to transforming cities, and on the psychological challenges involved in changing our habits and renouncing our privileges. You can watch the full show on the 3sat Media Database.


08 November 2022: "Eigener Koordinator für Raumfahrt": FAZ article by Claus Leggewie about the conference "Hessen in Space" and challenges of sustainable space travel (german)


Claus Leggewie reports in his article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 08.11.22 about the conference "Hessen in Space".  In the one-day program, various experts came together to talk about the involvement of the state of Hesse in today's space research and to reflect on the associated opportunities and challenges. One of the central themes was the declaration of intent to use spaceflight not only to better understand and protect the planet but also to make spaceflight itself more sustainable. In his commentary, Claus Leggewie puts the idea of space travel as an "astronaut-ecological complex" in relation to current discourses around planetary crises. He argues for its increasing decoupling from the economy and the defence industry.


02 November 2022: "Der Wald als Mitakteur? Das Fallbeispiel einer planetaren Politik": Publication of the Panel in the Politischen Vierteljahresschrift


On 02 November 2022 an article by Frederic Hanusch, Liza Bauer, our Fellows Claudia Hartl and Clemens Finkelstein, and Claus Leggewie appeared in the PVS issue The Planetary Political(e) Thinking. "The forest as co-actor? The Case Study of Planetary Politics." sheds light on how forests can be understood as active participants in 'planetary forest politics' and asks about the political science consequences of such an understanding. This collaborative article brings together the work of the panel and its first Fellows in the Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence Program, whose focus during the summer semester was on the planetary material 'wood'.


Nov 10 & 11, 2022 -  "Narratives of Environmental Knowledge in the Anthropocene" & "Sacred Feminine Birthing the New" - Responses to "What Earth Is Made Of"


We are delighted to announce the participation of two expert scholars in our Workshop-Series: Ayşe Dayı and Matthias Klestil will kindly be giving responses as part of our Planetary Materials Workshop-Serie „What Earth is Made Of”.

Matthias Klestil delivered a response titled "Narratives of Environmental Knowledge in the Anthropocene" following Claudia J. Ford's James Lovelock Memorial Lecture.

He is Postdoctoral Assistant in American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. He received his PhD from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and was Bavarian Fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. In his doctoral thesis he examined the interplay of mankind and nature and explored African American texts from an ecocritical perspective. Klestil’s first book Environmental Knowledge, Race, and African American Literature is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan (2023); his recent publications include scholarly articles on Colson Whitehead and Ted Chiang’s short fiction. Klestil’s current research project focuses on narrative theory, the Anthropocene, and contemporary North American fiction and film.

Ayşe Dayıs contribution "Sacred Feminine Birthing the New" responded to Claudia Ford's Artist's Talk during the opening of the "Planetary Origin Stories exhibition" (Nov. 11, 5:30 p.m.).

She is a psychologist, medical sociologist, healer and mindfulness trainer. After receiving her PhD from Penn State University, Ayşe worked over 15 years in universities in the U.S., Turkey, France, Switzerland and Germany, teaching and conducting research on women´s sexual/reproductive health rights. Her latest publication is the book “The Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary Turkey Reproduction, Maternity, Sexuality” which she co-edited with Drs. Alkan, Yarar and Topçu (2021, IB Tauris). In 2020, Ayşe established Orca Dreams: Platform for Mindful Living ( where she provides education and consultation on holistic health and mindfulness to individuals and organizations around the globe. In this platform Ayşe integrates her academic and activist knowledge on health with her mindfulness knowledge and practice to support individuals, groups and institutions through the great transformation of consciousness experienced by GAIA and ourselves. She will facilitate a women’s healing circle Remembering & Honoring my Sacred Feminine  February-March 2023 at VHS-Mitte, Berlin.

© Ayşe Dayı, Photographer: Oliver Ohanlon


Oktober 18 and November 10 - 11, 2022 - Planetary Materials Workshop "What Earth is Made of"




Planetary Materials Fellow Claudia J. Ford's workshop series will take place on October 18 and November 10 and 11. Ford's work focuses on our relationship to planetary materials. As a scientist and artist, it is important to Ford that participants experience their own relationship to the Earth with all their senses. Accordingly, the series kicks off with the excursion to Gladbacherhof on October 18, where the experience of agricultural work will lead us to reflect on our relationship with food and its production. The events on November 10 and 11, broaden the focus and direct attention to experiencing one's own relationship with nature in the context of society and the current climate crisis. What role can James Lovelock's Gaia Theory and a relational understanding of our Earth play in this setting? In addition to exploring scientific aspects in a lecture and film screening, participants will also be invited to engage creatively with the question in a writing workshop on climate grief and a vernissage with collages on "Planetary Materials." We cordially invite all interested parties to join us at one or more events of this exciting program. Here you can find more information about the individual events and registration.



Poster: What Earth is Made of


November 10, 2022 | Recognizing the 'Resource' as an Active Partner: Report on the Planetary Colloquium Perspectives on the Rights of ›Nature‹ 






In the face of the ongoing loss of biodiversity on the planet, more and more voices are calling for an entrenchment of solid rights of 'nature' within Western legal systems. In our planetary colloquium, questions about whether, how, and why the planet's myriad animal, plant, microbial, and other inhabitants can shape human politics were debated on. A more detailed report of the lecture can be found here.



A recording of the hybrid event is available for streaming on our Youtube Channel .

Poster: Perspectives on the Rights of Nature


October 27, 2022 - Excursion to the museum Sinclair-Haus


On Oct. 27, the Panel visited the Sinclair-Haus, a museum funded by the Kunst und Natur foundation, to see the international exhibition Eternal Ice.

The exhibition displayed selected works of contemporary artists who showcased the cultural, political, social and other interrelationships in light of the global ice melt; its effects on local indigenous communities and on the world climate as a whole.

The exhibition sent us on a sensorial experience through visual and auditory means that included embroidery, photography and video installations. It showcased work which included (but not limited to) the embroidery work of the Swedish Sámi artist Britta Marakatt-Labba that recounted the (his)stories of Lappish reindeer herders in the far north, a short video collaboration, Rise: From One Island to Another between the Marshall Islander poet Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner and the author Aka Niviâna from Kalaalit Nunaat (Greenland).

Our special thanks go to Madelaine Heck for providing us with a thought-provoking guided tour of the exhibit!


25. Oktober 2022 - DocTalk x MoMa Clemens Finkelstein "Environmental Control: Seismicity as Design Technique in Wilhelmine Germany"


DocTalks x MoMA

Clemens Finkelstein and Lydia Xynogala
25 October, 2022 / 4-6 PM CET / 10-12 AM EST | register: Eventbrite

Clemens Finkelstein (Princeton University / Universität Hamburg)
“Environmental Control: Seismicity as Design Technique in Wilhelmine Germany"
(Respondent: Alfredo Thiermann, EPFL)


Our Fellow Clemens Finkelstein will give a lecture on "Environmental Control: Seismicity as Design Technique in Wilhelmine Germany" at MoMa on October 25 at 4:00 pm. The lecture investigated seismicity as collaborative design principle between geophysicists and architects in building so-called "Erdbebenwarten" (earthquake observatory).

 For further information on the event series, visit To register, please go to Eventbrite.

Earthquake Observatory Göttingen, unknown photographer, c. 1902. Courtesy Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft / DGG Archive.


Oktober 18, 2022 - Excursion report: Community Farm Day @ Gladbacherhof


Farm manager Johannes Eisert leads the group through the new research barn © Bauer

Philip Weckenbrock explains the experimental setup for analyzing the productivity of different agroforestry systems © Wiegand

On Oct. 18, the kickoff event for our Fellow Claudia Ford's workshop series "What Earth is Made of?" took place. The event series serves to rethink the human relationship to the earth and its materialities by combining diverse perspectives from applied fields, science, and the arts. In the first workshop, the focus was on one of the most fundamental relationships between humans and the environment - namely food production and nutrition. To this end, our excursion took us to the Gladbacherhof farm, which combines organic farming and research: on the productive organic farm, research is conducted in cooperation with the JLU to further develop sustainable concepts for organic farming.

The day started with a tour of the newly built dairy cattle research barn, where fully automated milking machines and a fully automated feeding and cleaning system are intended to enable both the study of climate gas emissions in organic farming as part of the Green Dairy project and, in terms of animal welfare, a greater degree of self-determination for the animals. 

After a lunch prepared by Veganatural with the farm's own products, the group heard scientific presentations on various topics. In addition to considerations on decision-making criteria for farmers in dealing with sustainable technologies, new approaches in agroforestry and a plea for more care in agriculture were discussed. There was also a tour of the on-site laboratory facilities.

Lastly, the agroforestry techniques discussed in the lecture could be seen in application as Philipp Weckenbrock showed the group around the agroforestry area of the farm. Agroforestry uses a specific planting strategy in an attempt to arrange multiple levels of food production into a single cohesive system. Specifically, the farm's experimental setups are designed to examine the productivity of mixed systems between trees and traditional agricultural crops such as cereals or potatoes. Although they have not been widely used in practice, agroforestry systems promise some advantages, such as greater resilience and resistance to climatic changes, erosion, and increased water storage capacity of the soil.

The field trip allowed us to gain in-depth insights into a fascinating combination of research and agricultural practice in organic farming.


Claudia Ford pleads for more care in agriculture © Wiegand.


The group harvests the kale for lunch directly in the field © Wiegand


October 7-12, 2022 - Claus Leggewie at the Austrian Acedemy of Sciences, the Maison Heinrich Heine and the conference "Rethinking the Interplay of Civic Engagement and Institutional Politics"


At a conference of the Austrian Academy of Sciences on "Historical Comparison. Gain of knowledge and battle zone" on October 7, 2022, Claus Leggewie gave a lecture entitled "'You can't compare this!' On the Usefulness and Disadvantage of History for Diagnosing the Times" on the question of the fascist development of the Putin regime.
On October 10, at the Maison Heinrich Heine in Paris, he discussed with Prof. Malika Rahal, director of the Institut d'histoire du temps présent (IHTP), and Thomas Wieder (Le Monde) the "Chances of a French-Algerian-German Triangle."
On October 11 and 12, he participated in the conference "Rethinking the Interplay of Civic Engagement and Institutional Politics" of a European research group and gave a presentation on climate councils in France.


September 5th, 2022 - Welcome to the second term of the Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence Program!


After a short summer break, we are excited to welcome the second round of PLANETARY MATERIALS - fellows to our Hub! Matthew Wilson and Claudia Ford will devote the winter term to exploring different questions about our relationships to planetary materials: For example, considering our relationship to soil, what role do its components play in current as well as future practices of agriculture? What has the past taught us, and what challenges do drought and other climatic changes pose to the present? How do biochemical processes of food production affect the DNA of different life forms? And how can we describe the origins of continuously evolving conceptions of ecological processes and systems? How do origin stories about humans and ecosystems from indigenous cosmologies differ from the ones told in cultures from Western countries, and how might they cross-fertilize?

The workshops of the fellowship term will take place November 10-12, and will be centered around the common theme of James Lovelock's 'Gaia Theory'. Through a variety of activities - an interactive visit to Gladbachhof, a film screening and writing workshop, and an exhibition of collages on PLANETARY MATERIALS - our fellows will explore the question of what lessons 'Gaia' provides for current societies in light of escalating planetary crises. More details will follow shortly.

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