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NatureCultures and Maritime Anthropology

These thematic areas cover a broad spectrum of subjects in both teaching and research, encompassing the environment, energy and resources; Medical Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies (STS); as well as social and cultural research in the field of Oceanography. Inspiration was drawn from insights that non-human actors (be they things, animals, plants or microorganisms) bring to research, in particular work drawn from the heterogenous field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Science and Technology Studies analyses how culture, social processes and politics play an equal part in the application of knowledge and technology in everyday life, as well as in the production of knowledge and technology itself.   

The separation of the world into distinct natural and cultural spheres has been subject to severe criticism over the course of the past decades and called into question as a legacy of Structuralist Anthropology and Western Modernity. Current social and ecological challenges such as global warming have been ascribed to the nature-culture interface and require a modified perspective on the world. The discovery of plastic particles in the sea, for example, accounts for the growing trend to frame problems in terms of the environmental impacts of consumer culture, while also yielding new knowledge on ocean current dynamics. Such entanglements of nature and culture are the focus of nature-culture research - the impacts and politics of their mutual interpenetration / demarcation, discussed anddebated. The Bremen Nature - Cultures Lab  has been offering scholars, students and (international) guests a forum for debate and experimental research ever since 2014.

Beyond this, Maritime Anthropology at the Departmentgroups together an array of research interestsdevoted to a broad spectrum of human-ocean relations. Previous research ranges from questions of Bremen’s maritime culture in the 19th Century and the theorization of coastal societies; through transnational and local dimensions of offshore wind power; to interest in port infrastructures, plastic waste in the ocean or interdisciplinary approaches to Marine Research.