Workshop: Resources and Sustainability?

Resources and Sustainability?

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Practices of Extraction, Reclamation and Appropriation in Past and Present

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum,  December 7-8, 2023.

The prevailing climate crisis and the discussions about the current and future availability of (geo-)resources have sparked significant interest for the topic of sustainable resource futures across politics, industry, science, and society. However, the debates on sustainable development in the context of extraction, appropriation and use of resources are not only an urgent concern of the present. Yet the present not only demands attention but also necessitates a deeper historical perspective to critically assess existing socio-material systems and behaviors, as well as to formulate innovative ideas for the future. This workshop delves into the intricate interplay between sustainability and the practices of resource extraction, reclamation, and appropriation considering various geographical and temporal perspectives.


Public Lecture

December 7, 16:15-18:00, Haus der Archäologien, Hörsaal

Timothy LeCain (Montana): How Resources Created the Post-War Human: Thinking About Sustainability in an Age of Monsters

A central argument of the New Materialism is that humans emerge in significant part from their engagement with creative non-human resources, materials, environments, organisms, and artifacts. During the post-World War II “Great Acceleration,” copper, concrete, coal, cars, and other powerful things became embedded into our environments and bodies at an unprecedented level, creating new societies of human Monsters or Chimeras. The question of sustainability is thus not solely one of economics or resource extraction, but also a fundamentally post-human question: What manner of Monsters have we become, and what might we wish to become in the future?


December 8, Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola, Room G1 R110




Thomas Stöllner (DBM/RUB): Between Crisis, Sustainability and Resilience in Early Resource-Scapes? Prehistoric and Early Historic Raw Material Strategies reconsidered.


Simone Müller (Augsburg): Legacy Lands. Waste, Wetlands and Reclamation


Frank Uekötter (RUB): The Tides and the Flows of History, or: Whatever Happened to Causality?


Tina Asmussen (DBM/RUB): Extraction – Regeneration – Resurrection: Mining Ecologies and Sustainability in Early Modern Europe

12:45 -13:45



Response by Timothy LeCain and closing discussion

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