Knowledge, Space, Environment

Group leader: Professor Martin Schulze Wessel

Whenever a person takes possession of space – whether as creator and user of infrastructure, or in an aggressive political act of invasion, or cognitively as part of a scientific expedition, or even in the artistic manner of a travel writer – in doing so, he or she always produces and exploits knowledge. Town and regional maps, travel reports and architectural plans are all examples of spatial knowledge, whereas forestry regulations or botanic collections are objects demonstrating environmental knowledge.

It is not only in processes which claim and develop space which we can examine the role of knowledge. Also in processes in which space disintegrates, here one could think of the collapse of empires, is it useful to ask about the fate of the knowledge which occupied that space.

The study group “Knowledge, space, environment” investigates different aspects of the sociological and cultural appropriation of space and the environment and investigates the role different forms of knowledge play in this process. Academic and traditional knowledge are here as relevant as knowledge which is implicit and not codified. The study group asks not only how people acquire (or forget) knowledge about space and environment but also how they, as bearers of this knowledge, influence their surroundings and what influence the surroundings have on them.