Dr Franz Mauelshagen

Senior Fellow


IASS Project

  • The Anthropocene: Reuniting Earth History with Human History

Research Interests

  • History of great transformations; sustainability and resilience in a deep historical perspective; climate history; global environmental history; history of (natural) disasters

Curriculum Vitae

Franz Mauelshagen is a senior fellow at the IASS, where he focuses on the Anthropocene and looks at the implications that this idea has for our understanding of global (environmental) history and modernity, and its place in the history of great transformations. 

Dr Mauelshagen earned an M.A. in philosophy, history and law from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn (Germany) and a PhD in history from the University of Zurich (Switzerland).

Franz Mauelshagen held postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Bielefeld (2000–2003) and Zurich (2003–2008), and lectured at the Universities of Bielefeld, Zurich, Berne and St. Gallen. In 2008, he became a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen (Germany), where he coordinated the “Climate & Culture” research programme. He was a member of KWI's Board of Directors from 2010 to 2014. In 2013, he was awarded a translation grant for his dissertation from the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the German Foreign Office, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, and VG Wort within the framework of their programme “Geisteswissenschaften International – Preis zur Förderung der Übersetzung geisteswissenschaftlicher Literatur.” He completed a six-month fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich in 2014/2015.

Selected Publications prior to joining the IASS

Selected Lectures and Speeches

  • The Early Debate about Climate Change in Historical Time, The Climates of History (in honour of Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie), German Historical Institute, Paris, France, November 16–17, 2015.
  • Die Kolonisierung der Zukunft im Anthropozän [The Colonization of the Future in the Anthropocene], Zukunft des 20. Jahrhunderts, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, Essen, Germany, October 16–17, 2015.
  • Anthropozän — Menschengeschichte als Erdgeschichte [The Anthropocene: Human History as Earth History], opening lecture, Ökologie und Humanität: Die Herausforderungen des Anthropozän, Evangelische Akademie, Tutzing, Germany, September 18, 2015.
  • The Birth of Climatology from the Spirit of the Esprit des Lois, keynote lecture, Ruling Climate: The Theory and Practice of Environmental Governmentality, 1500–1800, University of Warwick, UK, May 16, 2015.
  • The Anthropozoic Era: History of an Idea, keynote lecture, Religion in the Anthropocene: Challenges, Idolatries, Transformations, EFSRE Conference, Munich, Germany, May 14–17, 2015.
  • Resilienz in der Geschichte sozial-ökologischer Systeme [Resilience in the History of Social-Ecological Systems], Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Germany, March 1, 2015.
  • The Climatological Revolution of the Eighteenth Century, Himmelsstriche. Klima in Kunst, Literatur und Wissenschaft um 1800, Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK), Vienna, Austria, January 22, 2015.
  • The Climatological Revolution of the Eighteenth Century, Lunch Time Colloquium, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany, October 9, 2014.
  • Zukunft der Klimageschichte — Klimageschichte der Zukunft [The Future of Climate History — Climate History for the Future], keynote lecture, Wissenschaft und Politik des Klimawandels, Junges Kolleg, Akademie der Wissenschaften NRW, Düsseldorf, Germany, March 20, 2014.
  • Große Transformationen in der Geschichte [Great Transformations in History], keynote lecture, R&Dialogue: Research and Civil Society Dialogue Towards a Low-Carbon Society, Center of Research, Jülich, Germany, March 6, 2014.
  • The Climates of Colonialism: A Global Perspective, Colonialism and Climate History, Mortara Center for International Studies at Georgetown University, June 6–7, 2013.
  • The Sociosphere and the Ecodynamics of Normative Systems, Religious and Spiritual Aspects on Climate Engineering, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, Germany, April 24–26, 2013.
  • Szenarien –  Geschichte der Zukunft II [Scenarios – History of the Future II], Ringvorlesung “Ökologie und die Künste”, Graduiertenkolleg InterArt, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, April 18, 2013.
  • Defining Disaster and Catastrophe, keynote lecture, Catastrophe and Catharsis: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, University of Cincinnati, USA, March 1–3, 2013.
  • Disaster, Environment and Migration, Fourth International Disaster and Risk Conference, IDRC Davos, Switzerland, August 26–30, 2012.
  • Human Agency and the “Big History” of Climate Change, First Conference of the International Big History Association (IBHA), Grand Rapids, MI, USA, August 3–5, 2012.
  • Catastrophe in World History, Global Sustainability Summer School, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, July 19, 2012.
  • The Climatological Revolution and Colonial History, 1750–1850, First Annual Conference in the World History of Science, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA, May 3, 2012.
  • From Vegetarian to Ogre: Climate and Historians in the Anthropocene, Climate Change and History Workshop, The University of Chicago, sponsored by the Chicago Center for Contemporary History, The Early Modern Workshop, and The Energy Policy Institute, Chicago, IL, USA, October 31, 2011.
  • Communicating Climate Change, keynote lecture, Communicating Civilisations and World Order, 5th International Forum on World Civilisations, SOAS, University of London, UK, September 5–7, 2011.
  • Climate History of the Anthropocene: Extending the Field of Historical Climatology, Historical Climatology: Past & Future, Conference at the German Historical Institute, Paris, France, September 5–6, 2011.
  • Social Dynamics and Global Environmental Change: The Climate-Migration Nexus in Context (with Claus Leggewie), Opening Keynote Lecture, Environmental Change and Migration, Research Conference of the European Science Foundation (ESF), Bad Salzuflen, December 2–5, 2010.
  • Sociosphere: Why we need to better understand the society-environment nexus, Our Common Future, Hannover and Essen, Germany, November 2–6, 2010.
  • The Future of Historical Climatology, Keynote Lecture, Réunion: Histoire et Climat, Laboratoire des Scienes du Climat et de l’Environnemt, Orme de Merisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, September 24, 2011.

Honors and Awards

  • Doctoral Fellow, Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (1997–2000)
  • Book Translation Prize (Börsenverein, 2013)
  • Fellow, Global Young Faculty (2010–2011)
  • Rachel Carson Fellow (2014–2015)