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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Franz-Josef Brüggemeier (History)


The Legacies of Coal

Prof. Franz-Josef Brüggemeier
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Economic, Social and Environmental History
Internal Senior Fellow

The Legacies of Coal
When Jun 27, 2016
from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97353
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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In 2018 deep coal mining will come to an end in Germany and with it an époque whose importance for the history of Europe since about 1750 can not be overstated. Coal influenced politics, the economy, society, and culture not only in Germany but also in the whole of Europe. It brought forth the industrialization, led to many strikes and conflicts, played a central role in both world wars and laid the groundwork for the European Community, which was founded in 1958 and which will have its 60th Jubilee in 2018.

In addition, the production and burning of coal had an enormous impact on nature and the environment. The consequences of this impact are likely to be felt for decades, the increase in CO2 being just one example. The relevance and legacies of the age of coal, therefore, reach well beyond its quality as a resource for industry – not the least because while the mining of coal will rapidly decrease in Europe, this resource will continue to be used in Europe and globally for many years to come.

When it comes to the production of coal, therefore, an important era of European history is coming to an end. The legacies of this era, however, will be with us well unto the end of this century. Concerning nature and the environment, these legacies seem to be obvious. However, it is much more difficult to identify and analyse them for politics, economics, society and culture – as my talk will show.