Sustainability and the Cultural Heritage

Mar 17, 2017
  • 11:00 am - 6:30 pm
  • Location:
    St. John's College
    2111 Lower Mall, UBC
    Vancouver, BC

*Workshop Day 2 – Saturday, March 18, 2017, St John’s College UBC

What do the various—especially historical—disciplines of the humanities and their methods have to contribute to research on sustainability, and vice versa? How can the humanities foster a sense of urgency in their academic instruction and research? Which concepts and lines of questioning derive from the research on sustainability? Which links and transitions exist between material and immaterial resources and their economies? And which of these require interdisciplinary attention?

Research on the relation between sustainability and the humanities has increased in recent years and this conjunction opens a broad variety of new perspectives. As the most important vehicle for the transfer of cultural knowledge, education is one obvious working area for research on sustainability in the humanities. In addition, historical research should examine the history of the human relationship to the environment. Furthermore, ecological health and social equity are interrelated, and the latter is the product of specific cultural histories. Thus, not only the ecological value of the humanities is in question but also the sustainable handling of cultural artefacts and memories. Therefore, one possible approach to sustainability in the humanities would be to focus on cultural memory. As a key concept in both historiography and cultural studies, the notion of “cultural memory” could serve as a hinge between a broader range of disciplines. It encompasses aspects of both time and space, which are especially critical to the research on sustainability. The workshop will address the following three promising fields of research:

Immaterial cultural heritage and the mediality of literature
(Historical) semantics and concepts of nature
Sustainability, literacy and education

This international workshop is organized by Gaby Pailer, UBC and Jutta Eming, Free University of Berlin.  All are welcome to attend.