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Culture and Climate


Admission requirements

You have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year and your academic results are good (indication: 7,3 average). Students who meet the criteria may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


Debates about climate change these days reach beyond the exact sciences. Due to the relation between global warming and human activity the debate on climate change has generated moral criticism on capitalist norms and consumer society. This politicization of the climate change debate is less unique than we might think.

Meteorologists agree that natural climate variations and change can occur at all times. Climatologists and geologists have found causal connections between historic volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Indonesia and fluctuation in the average temperature on earth in the late medieval period. Research into historical climate is partly based on research in historic records and this is one of the fields where sciences and humanities complement each other. In this course we will be looking a climate change from a historic perspective. Question that will be dealt with are How do societies and civilizations respond to climate variations and climate change? To what extent are societies and cultures shaped by climatic circumstances? In this course this complex relationship between culture and climate stands central. The emphasis will be on processes of adaptation, on politicization and on the complementary relationship between science and the humanities in the field of climate studies.

Course objectives

Students will develop a deep understanding of the relationship between culture and climate and in the complexity of the climate change debate and the role that climate and the climate change debate (can) play in the humanities. Student work individually on their own research paper on a subject of their choice, while working together in setting up a website to communicate their research results.


Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.00 to 17.00. For the exact timetable, please visit the following website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

  • Research

  • Excursion

Course Load

Amount of lectures 26 hours Terature (1) 40 hours Assignments (2) 74 hours Total course load 140 hours- Ad 1: Time to study the compulsory literature. Guideline: 7 pages per hour depending on the material to be studied.

  • Ad 2: Necessary hours to write a paper, including research and reading secondary literature.

Assessment method

  • Paper

  • Abstract, oral presentation

The final mark for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements that all tests are sufficient.
If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the final essay. Contact the course lecturer for more information.


Blackboard is used for communication.

Reading list

Mike Hulme, Why we disagree about climate change. Understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity (Cambridge 2009)

For each session a specific chapter of the book and an extra article will be assigned.


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered via uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab.


Instructor: Mw. Dr. A.F. Schrikker

Humanities Lab:
Office: e-mail
Phone: 071-527 2228 or 071- 527 8039


If all participants of this course are Dutch native speakers, this course will be taught in Dutch.
More information: website.