The Notion of Nature in Modern Societies - JTM468
Title: The Notion of Nature in Modern Societies
Guaranteed by: Department of European Studies (23-KZS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2023
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: 12 / unknown (15)
Min. number of students: 5
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: Dr. Paul Bauer
Teacher(s): Dr. Paul Bauer
Class: Courses for incoming students
Examination dates   SS schedule   Noticeboard   
Files Comments Added by
download Philippe Descola, Gisli Palsson - Nature and Society_ Anthropological Perspectives -Routledge (1996).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Alain Corbin - The lure of the sea. The discovery of the seaside in western world, 1750-1840.-University of California (1994).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Anthony Giddens - Politics of Climate Change-Polity (2009).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Arnold Berleant, Allen Carlson - The Aesthetics of Natural Environments-Broadview Press (2004).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Bruno Latour - An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. An Anthropology of the Moderns-Harvard University Press (2013).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Bruno Latour, Catherine Porter - Politics of Nature_ How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy-Harvard University Press (2004).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Michael E. Mann - The New Climate War-PublicAffairs (2021).epub Dr. Paul Bauer
download Patricia Mathew, Tha Aesthetic appreciation of Nature.pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download Rachel Carson - Silent Spring (2002).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
download R.G. Collingwood - The Idea of Nature-Oxford University Press (1945).pdf Dr. Paul Bauer
This lesson proposes a reflexive discussion on the history, the sociology and the politics of nature in Modern societies. Drawing from classical references coming from philosophical and social anthropological works on the dichotomies between nature and culture, wilderness and civilization, nature's exploitation and it's preservation, the lesson intends to provide students with key issues related to the modern mode of existence (Latour, 2018) and its link to environmental risks.
Last update: Bauer Paul, Dr. (07.02.2024)
Aim of the course
Structured both chronologically and thematically, this course has two objectives: first, it offers a long term (end of the 17th century-beginning of 21th) evolution of the nature conception in modern societies. Second, it proposes a multidisciplinary reflection on social researches dedicated to the study of the "Great Divide" between nature and culture, wilderness and civilization.
Last update: Bauer Paul, Dr. (07.02.2024)
Course completion requirements

Active participation (10%)

Students are required do read the mandatory texts for each class and be prepared to answer questions related to it in the class.

Class Presentation  (40%)

25 mn presentation

Paper based on the presentation (50%) A-F grade's system

Students will write a short paper about the chosen presentation's topic.  Minimum length: 6400 characters with spaces.

Send the paper  to Pauli Bauer ( 

Due date for the paper: 31May, 2024. No late submissions accepted!

Grading is based on the Dean's Measure no. 20/2019:

  • 91% and more   => A
  • 81-90%             => B
  • 71-80%             => C
  • 61-70%             => D
  • 51-60%             => E
  • 0-50%               => F

More in SMĚRNICE S_SO_002: Organizace zkouškových termínů, kontrol studia a užívání klasifikace A–F na FSV UK.

Last update: Bauer Paul, Dr. (07.02.2024)

On modernity, Nature and culture:

Philippe Descola: Beyond Nature and Culture, Chicago University Press, 2013

Philippe Descola & Gisli Palson, Nature and Society, Anthropological Perspective, Routledge, 1996.

Bruno Latour, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. An Anthropology of the Moderns, Harvard University Press, 2018

Anthony Giddens, The consequences of Modernity, Stanford University Press, 1991.

Mark Elvin, "Concepts of Nature, China and Europe in Comparative Perspective", New Left Review, 64, July/August, 2010 see link:

Classical references:

Hobbes, The Leviathan, 1651.

Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws, 1750.

Kant, Critique of pure reason, 1781.

Kant Critique of the Power of Judgment, 1790.

Sociology of Environment:

- John Bellamy Foster and Hannah Holleman, ‘Weber and the Environment: Classical Foundations for a Postexemptionalist Sociology’, American Journal of Sociology 117, no. 6 (May 2012): 1625–73,

- De Steiguer, Joseph Edward. The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006.

- Islam, Md. "Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology: An Introduction". Sustainability 9, no. 3 (22 March 2017): 474.

- John Bellamy Foster, "Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology". American Journal of Sociology 105, no. 2 (September 1999): 366–405.

- Patricia Matthews, "Scientific Knowlegde and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature", The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Winter, 2002, Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 37-48.

Politics of nature:

Anthony Giddens, The Politics of Climate Changes, Polity, 2009.

Bruno Latour, The Politics of Nature, Harvard University Press, 2004. 

Optional readings: Books that shaped congtemporary environnemental awareness

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, Penguin book, 2000 (firs ed.1962).

Michael Mann, The New Climate War, Public affairs, 2021.

Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway, The Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate ChangeBloomsbury Publishing, 2011.

Last update: Lochmanová Sára, Bc. (31.01.2024)
Teaching methods

Each session is divided into two parts: a formal lecture, and a seminar type discussion animated by a student presentation.

The class is a presence learning lesson taking place at Jinonice Campus, Room B318.


Last update: Bauer Paul, Dr. (29.01.2024)

Nature in Modernity

 When: Monday from 15:30 to 16:50

Where: Jinonice, Room B318



19.2. Introduction

26.2. Modernity

4.3. The Anthropological Perspective of Nature and Culture Distancing 1/2

11.3. The Anthropological Perspective of Nature and Culture Distancing 2/2

18.3. Enlightenment and the Nature of Humans: Between Civilization and Wilderness 

25.3.Natural Landscape between Visual Art and Politics

8.4 Preservationism in the Industrial Era.

15.4. The Rise of the Ecological Movements, Irina, Iakovos

22.4. The Rise of Environmental Sciences, Karolina 

29.4. Politics and Nature in contemporary societies, the Foundation of a New Ecology, Patrick  

6.5. Conclusion



Last update: Bauer Paul, Dr. (25.03.2024)