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)
The Panel on Planetary Thinking is looking forward to recieving applications for the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program 2023 by the 1st of September 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.
10th of May 2022 - First Planetary Lecture on the topic "Planetary Law" with Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis Kotzé
On the 10th of May 2022 we will start our biannual Planetary Lecture Series with a keynote by Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis Kotzé of the North West University, South Africa, on "Planetary Law for the Anthropocene".
The event will be held in hybrid format and we warmly invite you to attend. It will be broadcasted via the BigBlueButton Conference Room. To register, please send an email with the form of your attendance to
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.
8. April 2022 - Feldarbeit im Rosbacher Stadtwald mit Dr. Claudia Hartl und Prof. 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.
6th of April 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, Dr. 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 Dr. Claudia Ford and Matthew C. Wilson in the upcoming winter semester.
Dendrochronologist Dr. 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
Prof. 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, Prof. 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.
27th of November 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.
9th of November 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 Dr. Hanusch, made for L.I.S.A. - the online science platform of the Gerda Henkel Foundation.
4th of November 2021 - "What kind of future will the future hold?" - Participation at the IC4 FUTURE Conference
On the 4th of November, Dr. 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.
4th of June 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".
10th of June 2021 - Talk "Planetary Thinking: an Introduction"
Prof. Claus Leggewie and Dr. 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
Dr. 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
Prof. Claus Leggewie and Dr. Frederic Hanusch on sustainability and democracy in the podcast.
31st August 2020 - Lettre International
Read a recent article by Prof. 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.
10th August 2020 - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Read our current article in the FAZ by Prof. Claus Leggewie and Dr. Frederic Hanusch "Towards Planetary Thinking".
19th June 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 .
1st April 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.
The Panel on Planetary Thinking currently seeks applications for a Research Assistant (Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft) 64h/month starting at the earliest possible date. For more information check the job advertisement under this link.