Study Abroad

A wooden square sculpture in a forested area
Art by Nils Udo

The following undergraduate course will be offered in summer 2023.

Study Abroad Summer 2023

CLA 3500: Rethinking Place: Environmental Humanities in Minneapolis and Munich

In this international undergraduate seminar, students explore, discuss, and apply the conceptual tools that humanities scholars have developed for understanding the physical environment and humans’ role in it. Through a combination of readings, discussions, excursions, and meetings with experts in the field, students hone the humanistic skills that are sometimes absent from environmental initiatives and discourse focused solely on science, technology, and policy. Such skills include comparing shared and contested histories of a single place, critically questioning dominant environmental narratives, exploring how environmental ideas are embedded into language itself, and interpreting literary and artistic representations of a particular place.

Guiding questions for the seminar include:

  • What complexities reside under the surface of seemingly familiar terms such as “place,” “nature,” “home,” and “environment,” and what role does language play in human-environment relationships?
  • What environmental problems have science, technology, and policy been unable to solve, and what ideas, methods, and products can the humanities provide?
  • What texts, places, and people offer insights into these questions?
  • How do an individual’s background knowledge, ideas, and experiences shape their engagement with this work?
  • What can students do with all of this information? And how can students respond when it feels like “doing” is no longer possible or productive?

The seminar will begin with an intensive week in Minneapolis, during which students will engage with core readings, discussions, and guest lecturers from various disciplines in the environmental humanities. Then the group will travel to Germany and spend the final twelve days in and around Munich, participating in excursions to various sites and attending lectures from affiliates of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. During the Munich portion, students will pursue individual projects that they will then present at the end of the seminar in a humanities symposium. 

The seminar is designed for undergraduates who have significant interest and prior coursework in fields related to environmental studies, but who may not have had the chance to explore environmental humanities in depth. Knowledge of German is not required; the seminar will be conducted in English.

Program Dates

Monday, June 19 to Friday, June 23, 2023: University of Minnesota on-campus classroom component

Monday, June 26 to Saturday, July 8: Munich component

The on-campus and Munichcomponents of the class are both required. 

Program Leaders

  • Seth Peabody, Assistant Professor of German at Carleton College
  • Kiley Kost, Lecturer in German at Carleton College

Program Cost/Housing/Logistics

  • Lodging will be provided in University of Minnesota dormitories for the Minneapolis portion and in a hotel for the Munich portion. 
  • Food (two meals per day or per-diem stipends) will be provided throughout the seminar. 
  • Expenses for travel, lodging, food, and tuition will be generously subsidized by the Center for German and European Studies (CGES) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Application Procedure

Applications are available here. Applications will be due by January 31, 2023 and will include the following:

  • Statement of interest in participating in the program (1-page, single spaced)
  • List of relevant coursework and experience
  • One academic recommendation

Students will be selected by a committee of center-affiliated faculty and notified by mid-March.

Please share the seminar with interested students and departments. Contact cges@umn.edu or the seminar leaders with questions.