Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Prof. Dr. Dr. Franz-Josef …

Prof. Dr. Dr. Franz-Josef Brüggemeier

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Economic, Social and Environmental History
Internal Senior Fellow
October 2015 - Juli 2016


Franz-Josef Brueggemeier was born in 1951 in Bottrop, Germany. He studied history and social sciences (1969-75) in Bochum, Munich, York (GB) and Bremen, and medicine (1975-81) in Essen and for two years worked as a doctor (1982/83) at the Marien-Hospital in Gelsenkirchen. His Ph.D. looked at the social and every-day history of coal-miners in the Ruhr area (1889-1919) and his habilitation dealt with the history of air pollution in Germany in the 19th century. In 1995 he was appointed professor at the University of Hannover and in 1998 to the chair for Economic-, Social- and (since 2009) Environmental History at the University of Freiburg. He has published widely on the social and environmental history of Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of Great Britain in the 20th century and the history of modern sport, especially of soccer. In addition he was director of several major historical exhibitions. During the summer term 2012 he was Visiting Professor in the History Department at Harvard University and in the academic year 2012/13 Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich where he finished his most recent book on environmental history: ‚Schranken der Natur. Umwelt, Gesellschaft, Experimente 1750 bis heute’, Essen 2014.


Selected Publications

  • Leben vor Ort. Ruhrbergleute und Ruhrberg¬bau, 1889 - 1919, München 1983 (21984)
  • Tschernobyl, 26. April 1986. Die ökologische Herausforderung, München 1998 (chin. Ausgabe Taiwan 1999)
  • Zurück auf dem Platz. Deutschland und die Fußballweltmeisterschaft 1954, München 2004
  • Großbritannien im 20. Jahrhundert, München 2010
  • Schranken der Natur. Umwelt, Gesellschaft, Experiment, 1750 bis heute, Essen 2014


FRIAS Research Project

The Age of Coal. A European History, 1750 until the Present

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, coal mining has also left deep scars and traces in both everyday and high culture, be it in customs, literature, films or the theatre. For a long time mining was seen as a male domain. However, today we know how important the contributions of women were and we also realize the gains that a gender perspective offers for the history of mining.

While the era of coal mining will end in 2018, coal itself will continue to be used and imported into Europe for many years to come. Furthermore, the impact of coal on nature and the environment is likely to be felt for even longer, the increase in CO2 being just one example.  The relevance and consequences of the age of coal, therefore, reach well beyond its quality as a resource for industry – as the planned book intends to demonstrate.