Category Archives: The EHL

Occupy Climate Change (OCC!)! 

instead of studying the resilient subjects, we should “identify the actors and processes that produce the need to build resilience in the first place” (ibid.)

Northwest Washington, Washington, United States
Shot on Pennsylvania Ave near the Capitol. Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/cpAKc-G6lPg

We are happy to announce that the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory recently received a positive message from Formas. The project Occupy Climate Change!, proposed by Marco Armiero, is awarded almost 900.000 euros over three years. 

“OCC! explores how urban communities can respond to Loss and Damages by investigating new and insurgent citizenship practices and new types of knowledge. Focusing on the practices and experiments of grassroots organizations across different cases (New York, Rio, Istanbul, Naples, Stockholm), it aims to identify how these diverse, dynamic, self-organised responses to loss undo or embrace damage. This endeavor requires a critical appraisal of the highly contested narratives of societal resilience (Kaika, 2017). As Kaika argues, instead of studying the resilient subjects, we should “identify the actors and processes that produce the need to build resilience in the first place” (ibid.), engaging critically with the material basis reproducing injustice.” Summary taken from the project application, written by Marco Armiero.

To kick off this project a coffee talk together with Doreen Stabinsky is planned for late November this fall. Please visit the lab’s  Facebook page for more news, event updates and interesting articles. 

Conferment of two Doctoral Degrees


Friday November 17 the annual ceremony for the conferment of doctoral degrees was held in Stockholm City Hall. The Division was proud to have two former doctoral students on stage; Dr Daniel Svensson and Dr Isabel Pérez. A few of us, who couldn’t make it to the City Hall due to not having defended during the past year, cheerfully and proudly followed the streamed ceremony at KTH.se.

Daniel, who can also put the titles poet and pro exerciser next to Doctor, is currently a researcher and lecturer at the Division of Science, Technology and Society at Chalmers in Gothenburg. However he still works with Sverker Sörlin in our project Movement Heritage, funded by Riksantikvarieämbetet. He defended his thesis in December 2016.

Doctor Isabel was the first doctoral student to defend from the EHL. She has now moved back to Spain and is currently looking for open positions. We can certify that her next employer will not only have a competent and diligent co-worker, but also a great colleague and friend who can set color to even the grayest of November days. Isabel defended in June this year.

We wish them both the best of luck and joy!

Spiking day!

As more and more of our doctoral students finish, more and more new traditions are created. Some traditions seem made to be broken quite fast, but the tradition of getting together for the spiking of a freshly printed doctoral thesis is one we hope to keep.

Today was the day for Anna Svensson to grab the hammer and, ehrm, hang her thesis A Utopian Quest for Universal Knowledge – Diachronic Histories of Botanical Collections between the sixteenth Century and the Present on the thesis tree in the library. We were a happy bunch of ten who accompanied Anna to the library for this occasion, humming on the Imperial March.

Anna started her doctoral studies at the Division in 2013 as one of the first doctoral students of the Environmental Humanities Laboratory. However, in 2014 she successfully applied for fundings together with supervisor Sabine Höhler, and from 2015 her doctoral studies have been funded by the Swedish Research Council in the project Saving Nature.

Except from thesis writing, Anna has super powers such as sensational kindness, magical flower fingers and crazy craft skills. A proof of the later can be seen on the dust jacket of the thesis, which is a photo of a patchwork that Anna made during the rare breaks she could take while finishing the kappa. 

Anna will defend on December 8 2017 at one in room F3 at Lindstedtsvägen 26 here in Stockholm.

Poland on fire: voices from the provinces | Irma Allen in openDemocracy

The place in Warsaw where Piotr Szczęsny set himself on fire. Wikicommons/ Mateusz Opasiński. Some rights reserved.

There is agrowing atmosphere of hatred in which anyone who opposes the current governmentis labeled the ‘worst sort’, or even ‘Soviet murderers’.

Thursday October, 19 at 16.30: An ordinary day, an ordinary man stands on the steps of the Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science. He is reading something through a megaphone to inattentive passers by. Just another protesting voice in the Polish capital. Except, once finished, this 54 year old man, who would become known for some time simply as Piotr S., then sets himself ablaze, performing an act of self-immolation to the sound of a song by ‘Chłopcy Placu Broni’ coming from a tape-recorder.

‘Freedom. I love and understand freedom. I don’t know how to give it up…’ On the ground lie strewn the pieces of paper from which he had been reading – a manifesto outlining 15 points of protest against the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). Ten days later, on October 29, he dies in hospital. It begins to sink in that this was a decisive, considered and dramatic political act. Where at first the media and politicians stay largely silent, following his death they now rush to assess his sanity, his past and his intentions.

All this he foresaw. He openly admitted that he struggled with depression for eight years – but this was nothing to do with that, though he knew politicians would try to make it so. Depression does not equal derangement. So how should he be understood?

Read doctoral student Irma Allen’s full post here: Poland on fire: voices from the provinces | openDemocracy

Into the fascist forest – a real Italian controversy 

A fire recently tore through an Italian memorial to Mussolini made of trees. Shutterstock.com

This post is re-posted from https://theconversation.com.

Can a forest be fascist? This may seem a facetious question, but it is one that Italians have been discussing of late due to a fire that occurred at the end of August.The fire, allegedly started accidentally by someone cooking tomato sauce, burned down part of a historic and controversial forest on the slopes of Mount Giano, about 100km north-east of Rome. The 20,000 fir trees here, spread over eight hectares, were planted between 1938 and 1939 by recruits studying at the academy of the forestry corps in the small town of Cittaducale. They were an homage to Mussolini: planted in such a way so that from afar, they read DUX, the fascist leader’s title in Latin. And some want to replant it.This story brings effectively together two major recent issues of debate: forest fires and the removal of inappropriate, “disturbing” monuments. In this instance a politically incorrect monument has been (partially) destroyed by one of the many forest fires that, every year, hit central and southern Italy. This past summer was particularly dramatic, with more than 70,000 hectares of Italian forest destroyed by fires.However, this forest is not just any forest, but a prime example of the fascist appropriation of landscapes to mark a regime’s domination on both the country and its nature. The fact that this forest survived decades of neglect and a first attempt at getting rid of it in the 1950s has allowed it to become a powerful symbol for neo-fascist groups, who gather publicity by defending its historic value.So should we see the forest first and foremost as a forest, a natural landscape that perhaps should be restored, or as a disturbing memory of Mussolini? Ought we to recreate the forest, as a preservation of the memory of the country’s history? Or should we leave it to its destiny and forget about it?

Read the full blog post by Marco Armiero and Wilko Graf von Hardenberg (originally posted on the 9th of October, 2017) : Into the fascist forest – a real Italian controversy