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)
We are off during August as we are taking a summer break. You can still contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org but we will not reply to emails regularly. Therefore, please excuse any delayed response until we are back in September. We wish you a pleasant summer time!
The Panel on Planetary Thinking is looking forward to recieving applications for the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program 2023 by September 1, 2022. As the current fellows conduct projects on Planetary Materials the main focus of the program in the upcoming year is Planetary Spaces. You can find more information on the application process in the Call for Applications 2023.
July 12, 2022 - Winner of the Planetary Futures Competition
We are very pleased to present the winners of this year's Planetary Futures competition: Prof. Dr. Bojana Kunst, Dr. habil. Gerko Egert and Dr. Martina Ruhsam from the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies receive funding from the Panel on Planetary Thinking to prepare their proposal on the topic "Mediating the Planetary. Performance and Pedagogy in Times of Ecological Catastrophe."
To address the value-action gap in planetary crises, i.e. the phenomenon that we do not act according to what we know, the project focuses on knowledge mediation. Hard facts, according to Prof. Dr. Kunst and her team, do not suffice for real change. First, they want to analyze how various artistic works, especially in the field of performative arts, convey knowledge about planetary disasters and how artists succeed in making it a tangible experience. Subsequently, these insights form the base for collaborative work with selected artists: The partnership aims to develop general mediation formats which can be applied in a wide variety of educational contexts.
For the initiation of artistic-scientific cooperations, a two-day workshop with international artists will be held and the project will then be submitted for funding. The workshop is open to all interested parties. Information on the content, time and place of the workshop as well as on how to participate will follow shortly. We see this project as a valuable contribution to the artistic-scientific collaboration and an important step on the way to a planetaryly responsible future and are happy to support our colleagues in the application phase.
June 23-25, 2022 - "Planetary Forest - Bring the Forest to the Garden": workshop, vernissage and accompanying exhibition
The performative action "Planetary Forest: Bring the Forest to the Garden" from June 23-25, 2022 was the highlight of the first cohort in the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence program. This first year of the program centers around the theme "Planetary Materials" and the first Fellows, Claudia Hartl, Clemens Finkelstein, and Mathias Kessler, approached the topic from very different perspectives. As an integral part of trees and thus the forest, wood became the planetary focus material of the semester as well as the central leitmotif for the Planetary Workshop: Led by the Fellows, on Thursday morning a small diverse group explored the planetary dimension of human-forest-climate interactions in the Rosbach City Forest. Clemens Finkelstein, employing a historical and socio-cultural perspective, offered interesting insights into the forest's history of use and the relationship of people to "their forest". Claudia Hartl was able to provide participants with a climatological and dendrochronological point of view: She demonstrated how to take a drill core and used the sample to explain the broad field of tree ring research and the complex relationships between forest health and climate.
In addition to sharing knowledge, experiencing the forest and exchanging ideas in and with the group formed a central part of the day. Thus, among others, a member of the local BUND group, an expert in hydrogeology, an employee of the JLU fleet, various colleagues of the department 09, and temporarily even the Rosbach mayor Steffen Maar added to the workshop with their expertise. The latter was available for questions and explained the background of the disturbed area as well as the planned reforestation measures for the site. Afterwards, participants and Fellows alike collected forest material for the living sculpture planned by Mathias Kessler: litter, dead wood, topsoil, roots and even the odd seedling found their way into the trailer. Mathias Kessler also accompanied the trip with his camera and will artistically process the recordings in a short film - soon available on our YouTube channel.
On the following day, the Fellows designed the living sculpture as an image of a forest habitat in the Botanical Garden. For now, the fenced-off piece of a disturbed forest site will remain untouched for three years, and its development will be watched expectantly: Will the forest make its way into the garden, will the garden reclaim the area, or perhaps nothing will happen for a while? The sculpture was opened in the festive setting of a vernissage with catering and live music, to which we were also pleased to welcome the President of the JLU, Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee. In a subsequent article (in German), the Gießener Allgemeine newspaper praised the action for its character as planetary food for thought. We cordially invite you all to visit the living work of art and send dated photos to email@example.com. Experience the Rosbacher City Forest in the Botanical Garden Giessen!
For two weeks, the Neuer Kunstverein Gießen e.V. also hosted an accompanying exhibition at its premises, which documented the work of the three Fellows at the Panel on Planetary Thinking. On display were, among others, Line Drawings and "The Arctic Ocean - Failed Hope" by Mathias Kessler, Vibrascapes by Clemens Finkelstein and Dendro Art by Claudia Hartl.
May 10, 2022 - First Planetary Lecture on "Planetary Law" by Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis Kotzé and Networking Event of the Panel
The Planetary Lecture Series opened with a talk on "Planetary Law for the Anthropocene." Earth System Law pioneer Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis Kotzé (North West University, South Africa) proposed a transformation of international environmental law in order to respond more appropriately to planetary phenomena than has been the case so far: Instead of humans, legal principles should focus on the Earth System, especially in the so-called Anthropocene. Accordingly, Prof. Kotzé centered his lecture around the question how such Earth System Governance could be designed. A corresponding governance approach should emphasize the planetarily significant shaping power of humans, but always relate this power to planetary forces and consider humanity as part of the Earth System. The full recording of the lecture as well as the following discussion opened by Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn (Public Law and International Law, JLU) is available on YouTube.
The warm spring weather exceeded expectations and set the scene for the subsequent networking meeting of the panel members. The Panel had invited to the new premises to inaugurate the new 'Planetary Hub' and to introduce the current Fellows and their work to the Panel members. First, Geoscientist Claudia Hartl fascinated the assembled with drill core samples of beech trees from the Rosbach city forest and explanations of their history. Colorful, abstract-looking posters formed the centerpiece of Clemens Finkelstein's short lecture on vibrations. The illustrations show the vibration patterns of various ambient sounds of the panel office: Spectators could marvel at the vibratory signatures of church bells across the street, rail traffic behind the building, and a helicopter flying overhead. However, due to its content the demonstration by Mathias Kessler attracted the most attention: the artist presented his work "The Arctic Ocean - Failed Hope", a refrigerator filled with beer. At first glance an invitation to socialize, a 3D version of Caspar David Friedrich's "The Arctic Ocean" lies hidden in the icebox. By opening and closing it time and again, the slight recurring increases in temperature cause the ice to slowly melt. Hereby, Kessler points to the serious consequences that human actions can have on the planet.
May 2022 - Contributions by Clemens Finkelstein to SICK ARCHITECTURE
“Concerns of human and planetary health have always been closely entangled, growing increasingly closer at a moment when public discussions shift focus to lament the Earth’s transformation from a biosphere (a sphere of life) to a thanatosphere (a sphere of death). Yet, instead of evolving towards equilibrium—as entangled objects do according to current physical theories of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics—their relationship has unraveled into sustained disequilibrium. Planetary infirmity is materialized through significant climatic shifts, excessive anthropogenic vibrations, the resultant corruption of its biospheric system, as well as the redistribution of its mass and axis through glacial melting.”
Planetary Scholar and current Fellow of the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program Clemens Finkelstein recently contributed the essay “Planetary Disequilibrium”, the inter-active exhibit “sick world building syndrome”, and the eponymous lecture to SICK ARCHITECTURE, a collaboration between Beatriz Colomina, e-flux Architecture, CIVA Brussels, and Princeton University. The exhibition at CIVA Brussels is open from May 6 to August 28, 2022.
April 8, 2022 - Field Work in the Rosbach Forest with Claudia Hartl and Lea Schneider
|The Planetary Scholars & Artsists in Residence Program kicks off with the panel team and a small group of students heading to the Rosbach city forest - the fieldwork results in core samples from forty beech trees. In the course of her fellowship project "Tree Ring Reports on Forest Dieback", dendrochronologist Dr. Claudia Hartl investigates the vitality as well as the reactions of healthy as well as dying beech trees to draught events or extreme weather events. Thanks to the active support of Prof. Lea Schneider (Institute of Geography, JLU) as well as her students, ~12,000 tree rings now find their way into Dr. Hartl's long-term study.
Although the April weather did not show its friendliest side, the field work turned out an especially instructive as well as memorable event. Beyond the techniques of sampling, the team learned a lot about the many applications of tree-ring research. These range from determining the origin of construction materials, to dating and certifying works of art or musical instruments, to today's widespread research into tree species suitability or climatic change. The annual rings showcase how planetary phenomena, reaching from heat waves to world wars, materialize in locally specific and tangible manners. In addition, the core samples themselves offer a fascinating sight. The beech trees respond to the removal of their valuable cores by creating chemical barriers around the drilling sites and should tolerate the brief procedure well, allowing their vitality to be more accurately determined in the summer based on their by then fully sprouted crowns. News about the unique the unique tree-ring width pattern of the two beech populations in the Rosbach city forest may therefore be expected before long.
April 6, 2022 - Team Meeting with the first fellows of the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program
Following long preparations, we are excited to finally welcome the first fellows of the in Giessen. This year's fellowship focuses on planetary materials: for joint work on this topic, we were able to invite five excellent researchers and artists to Giessen. The first three fellows, Claudia Hartl, Clemens Finkelstein and Mathias Kessler, will research and create at the Justus-Liebig-University in this summer semester. We are looking forward to welcome Claudia Ford and Matthew C. Wilson in the upcoming winter semester.
Dendrochronologist Claudia Hartl analyzes tree ring characteristics to explore forest dieback due to climate change. Clemens Finkelstein investigates vibration as a planetary transmaterial, particularly how vibrations in modern architecture function as a bridge between the natural and the built environment. Artist Mathias Kessler perceives each destruction, especially human-made destruction, as a chance for renewal. Therefore, during his fellowship he dedicates himself to the re-shaping of a forest stand that owes its destruction to climate change. For more information on the fellows and their projects, see the press release of the Justus-Liebig-University (only available in German) and the Fellowship section on this website.
At the first meeting in our new premises, it was already possible to identify the first points of connection between the projects and to collect concrete implementation ideas for the workshop planned at the end of the semester. On the 23rd and 24th of June 2022 the fellows will host a joint workshop. More information on content and attendance will follow shortly.
November 2021 - Prof. Claus Leggewie is granted with the Honorary Thomas Mann Fellowship
Claus Leggewie is granted with the Honorary Thomas Mann Fellowship and in November und December 2021 will be residing at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles, USA. The Thomas Mann Fellowships enable academics, pioneering thinkers, and intellectuals who live, or have lived, in Germany to tackle the pressing challenges of our time and to foster the intellectual and cultural exchange between Germany and the United States. The Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles aims to create a vibrant transatlantic space for debate, where outstanding personalities, in dialogue with each other and the host country, address fundamental contemporary and future issues related to politics, society, and culture. As part of the Fellowship Programme, Claus Leggewie will be a guest at the podcast 55 Voices for Democracy. The podcast is modeled after the BBC radio speeches, through which Thomas Mann, from his home in California, turned to listeners in Europe during the war.
November 27, 2021 - Panel discussion at the Climate Cultures Festival
On the 27th of November, as a part of the In which direction would the baselines of the climate policy shift? How should democracies change to integrate climate concerns? Is global, or even more so, planetary thinking in the climate crisis possible? were some of the themes discussed in the panel iBerlin's Volksbühne.
Over three days in November 2021, the Climate Cultures Festival "Planet Writes Back!" explored how the climate crisis is represented in the perspectives of literature and debate, film and art photography. This year’s festival focused on three main areas: Arctic cultures, petromodernity (petrofiction) and climate in science fiction.
November 9, 2021 - Interview with Frederic Hanusch about planetary thinking in science
"Wir leben nicht auf einem Planeten, wir sind Teil von ihm" (We do not live on a planet, we are a part of it). Access here the full interview (in German) with Hanusch, made for L.I.S.A. - the online science platform of the Gerda Henkel Foundation.
November 4, 2021 - "What kind of future will the future hold?" - Participation at the IC4 FUTURE Conference
On the 4th of November, Frederic Hanusch participated at the IC4 Future Conference with a contribution on the topic "zur Zukunft der Tiefenzeit" (On the future of deep-time). The Conference approached the topic of the future from an interdisciplinary bird’s eye view. What are the key questions on the way to a diverse, sustainable, and digital society and in what way can a reframed industrial culture help to create answers and find solutions? Challenges and visions of the future were identified to give stimuli for a rethought industrial culture.
For the opening of FUTUR 21 - kunst industrie kultur, a variety of actors and agents from academia, the arts, and cultural institutions discussed the future of industrial culture at the Conference.
June 4, 2021 - Planetary Colloqium "Planetary Perspectives"
The Panel on Planetary Thinking from the JLU Giessen, in cooperation with the (Goethe University Frankfurt, Senckenberg, ISOE) and the , organized the planetary colloquium “Planetary Perspectives”. In a pleasant digital atmosphere, around 30 participants from different academic backgrounds exchanged thoughts and ideas on the challenges facing our planet and the urgent need of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches in order to tackle them. Our key note speaker, David Christian from the Macquarie University in Sydney, opened the floor with an inspiring talk about Big History, a multi-disciplinary approach that examines earth’s and humanity’s past, and by learning from it, it explains present and contributes to imagining sustainable futures. The discussion was followed by two sessions of short impulse talks from our colleagues from JLU Giessen and the Goethe University Frankfurt. The first session provided an input on the planetary perspectives from the social sciences and humanities, provoking a discussion on the ways in which we can learn from past societies, have to extent sociological thought to the earth’s core as well as to outer space, the need to change human behavior and the way we think economics by valuing more the future benefits compared to benefits in the present, and how poetry and human artistic expression can relate us with the planet. The second session offered planetary visions from natural sciences, with nevertheless creative contributions that cross the boundaries of separate disciplines. From conversations on the inherent rights of nature in the context of biodiversity, what kind of agricultural practices are needed for sustainable future, to envisioning the planetary by focusing on subatomic elementary particles, were some of the thought-provoking dicussions our participants were keen to delve into. The participants agreed to deepen their inspirational discussions in future planetary colloquia to open up a new collaborative research endeavor of both, JLU and Goethe University Frankfurt.
June 2021 - new book "Planetar denken: Ein Einstieg"
New book on introduction to planetary thinking from Frederic Hanusch,
Claus Leggewie and Erik Meyer - "Planetar denken - Ein Einstieg".
June 10, 2021 - Talk "Planetary Thinking: an Introduction"
Claus Leggewie and Frederic Hanusch will give a talk as part of the online seminar series of the Planetary Thinking Working Group (Goethe University, Senckenberg, and ISOE) in cooperation with University of Giessen, Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, and GRADE Sustain. You can register for the Zoom event here.
October 2020 - NECE Campus
Frederic Hanusch participated in two workshops of the "Networking European Citizenship Education" (NECE) Campus as an expert on the topic "Sustainability, Democracy and the Arts - Cultural and Artistic Responses to Environmental Change". Both workshops were recorded and are available here:
|Workshop I||Workshop II|
September 2020 - Podcast: Hessen schafft Wissen
Claus Leggewie and Frederic Hanusch on sustainability and democracy in the podcast.
August 31, 2020 - Lettre International
Read a recent article by Claus Leggewie in Lettre International p. 60-63: "BRÜDER DER SONNE ... Wie das Wettrennen ins All die planetare Achtsamkeit bestärkte." You can find the link to the magazine here.
August 10, 2020 - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Read our current article in the FAZ by Claus Leggewie and Frederic Hanusch "Towards Planetary Thinking".
June 19, 2020 - Opening Meeting
On June 19, our opening meeting took place in Giessen, Germany, where about 30 members of the panel from different disciplines met. You can find the article about the opening meeting in German in the .
April 1, 2020 - Launch of the "Panel on Planetary Thinking"
The "Panel on Planetary Thinking" at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen is taking up its work - complex phenomena such as biodiversity, climate and inequality are to be assessed from an overall perspective. Click here for the JLU press release on the Panel on Planetary Thinking.