Dr Frank Uekotter

Dr Frank Uekotter

Department of History
Reader in Environmental Humanities

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 442

I am a Birmingham Fellow working on environmental issues, both past and present, in a global context.


  • PhD Bielefeld University, 2001
  • Habilitation, Bielefeld University, 2009


I studied history, political science and the social sciences at the universities of Freiburg and Bielefeld in Germany, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA. I earned, or at any rate was awarded, a PhD from Bielefeld University in 2001, where I continued to work for several years. Among other things, I organized a conference on the environmental history of Nazi Germany for the German ministry for the environment and spent some time at the German Historical Institute in Washington DC in 2005.

I moved to Munich in 2006, helped by a generous Dilthey grant from the Volkswagen Foundation. I taught at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University and helped to build the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, an institute for advanced studies in the environmental humanities run in collaboration by Munich University and the Deutsches Museum. It is during these years that I realized that environmental history, in addition to being an exciting field of historical scholarship, holds a huge potential for ongoing environmental debates. I also moved beyond my primary focus on German and U.S. history towards a more global perspective on the past. I joined Birmingham University in September 2013.


  • Towards a Dead Planet? A History of Humans, Natural Resources, and the Environment (Spring term)
  • The Age of Energy: Global Histories of Hope, Needs, and Carbon
  • Before Brexit: Histories of European Integration, 1945-2016

Postgraduate supervision

I would be interested in supervising research in environmental history, broadly conceived.

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research interests go into different directions. One is the past and present of environmentalism. I have published a book about the Green Germany, which is a synthesis on German environmental history as well as a reflection on where environmentalism is standing in the twenty-first century. I continue to write and speak about environmental issues in Germany and beyond.

I am currently writing an environmental history of global modernity. How do we write a world history of human interaction with the natural world when all parameters come into flux: definitions of problems, priorities, allegiances, actors? And how do we write an environmental history of the world that speaks to the wider community of global historians? Environmental history should not just speak to itself, and this book seeks to demonstrate how environmental issues can help us writing global history.

Looking towards the future, I am building a research group on the global world of monoculture that seeks to understand why production systems all over the world, from coniferous forests in central Europe to soybeans in Brazil are tilting towards a reliance on a single crop during the modern era. The working argument is that there may be something akin to a “mind of monoculture,” which we can observe in very different societies all over the world.


Recent publications


Uekötter, F 2020, Der deutsche Kanal: Eine Mythologie der alten Bundesrepublik. 1 edn, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart. <http://www.steiner-verlag.de/titel/61865.html>

Uekötter, F 2020, Im Strudel: Eine Umweltgeschichte der modernen Welt. Campus, Frankfurt. <https://www.campus.de/buecher-campus-verlag/wissenschaft/geschichte/im_strudel-16251.html>


Uekötter, F 2020, 'Von den großen zahlen, dem stillen sterben und der sprachlosigkeit der menschheit: Eine kurze geschichte des artenschutzes', Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte.

Uekötter, F 2019, 'Der Wald im Zeitalter seiner medialen Reproduzierbarkeit: Wenn man vor lauter Wäldern den Baum nicht mehr erkennt', Indes. Zeitschrift für Politik und Gesellschaft, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 35-41. https://doi.org/10.13109/inde.2018.7.4.35

Ross, C & Uekötter, F 2019, 'Introduction', HCM. International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, vol. 7, pp. 737-740. https://doi.org/10.18352/hcm.581

Uekötter, F 2019, 'The revolt of the chemists: biofuels, agricultural overproduction and the chemurgy movement in New Deal America', History and Technology, vol. 2021.

Uekötter, F 2019, 'Umweltpolitische erfolge und misserfolge der zivilgesellschaft: von der nachhaltigkeit der revolte', Politische Ökologie, vol. 156, pp. 17-23. <https://www.oekom.de/ausgabe/bewegt-euch-80018>

Uekötter, F 2018, 'Techniker an der Macht: Der Ingenieur-Politiker im 20. Jahrhundert', Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 306, no. 2, pp. 396-423. https://doi.org/10.1515/hzhz-2018-0010

Uekötter, F 2018, 'Wie bildet man für Nachhaltigkeit, wenn niemand mehr weiß, was Nachhaltigkeit ist? Eine historisch-politische Spurensuche', Hessische Blätter für Volksbildung, vol. 68, HBV1802W111, pp. 111-118. https://doi.org/10.3278/HBV1802W111


Uekötter, F 2019, Halbwertszeiten: Das friedliche Atom als Mikrokosmos der bundesdeutschen Geschichte. in S Brandt & T Dame (eds), Kernkraftwerke: Denkmalwerte und Erhaltungschancen. Notebooks of the German National Committee, vol. 68, ICOMOS, Berlin, pp. 25-30.

Uekötter, F 2019, Halbwertszeiten: Das friedliche Atom als Mikrokosmus der bundesdeutschen Geschichte. in Kernkraftwerke: Denkmalwerte und Erhaltungschancen. Berlin, pp. 25-30.

Uekötter, F 2018, Das Utopische und die Landwirtschaft. in M Böhm, B Angerer, J Borgmann, B Jauernig, R Kilian & B Popp (eds), Utopie Landwirtschaft. Stadtmuseum Ingolstadt , Ingolstadt, pp. 13-20.

Uekötter, F 2018, Memories in Mud: The Environmental Legacy of the Great War. in Environmental History of the First World War (working title). Cambridge University Press, pp. 278-295. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108554237.014

Uekötter, F & Anders, K 2018, The Sum of All German Fears: Forest Death, Environmental Activism and the Media in 1980s Germany. in Exploring Apocalyptica: Coming to Terms with Environmental Alarmism., 5, University of Pittsburgh Press.

Uekötter, F 2017, Entangled Ecologies: Outlines of a Green History of Two or More Germanys. in (English translation of Geteilte Geschichte). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

View all publications in research portal