Research projects

The people who engage with the centre decide to a large extent what the centre is and should be, and we are in the process of establishing a project portfolio. 








The global environmental disaster we are verging on calls for investigations of how the urgencies of more sustainable futures shape our present. To enable societal transition towards sustainability we need to understand why, how, and when sustainable futures are practiced – or not – within the mundane routines of shopping, eating, cleaning, sorting waste etcetera. Sustainable futures are materialized in the choices of consumption and in the materials of mundane objects such as plastic. In everyday life, near futures and the immediate present as well as cherished family traditions may compete with distant and dystopian futures reaching beyond one’s own lifetime. Yet, everyday activism also enacts micro-utopias of hope and transition. Through ethnographic investigations of Danish households, the project aims at providing a better understanding of how sustainable futures are practised in contemporary everyday life.

Contact: Tine Damsholt 


During the crises that followed the economic boom of the 1960s, politicians and opinion makers from a broad political spectrum seriously considered how Denmark could decouple the affluent welfare state from continued economic growth. Based on Malthusian conceptions of global limits and a belief in the structural character of rising unemployment united with an emerging post-industrial society, they saw some kind of steady-state economy as the only sensible solution. Naturally, they were harshly criticised from the political right that defended capitalist virtues, and large parts of the political left and the labour movement were extremely critical of the potential derived rise in inequality. A debate book published in 1978 efficiently broadened the debate to a larger public but with a centre-right government taking office in 1982 and economic recovery being the dominant political aim of that decade, the apparent wide acceptance of a zero-growth economic regime waned. This historical research project aims at uncovering the main interests and imaginaries embedded in the different positions of the debate in order to evaluate their relevance and applicability in present-day politics of the Anthropocene.

Contact: Bo Fritzbøger



This project aims to provide a historical understanding of the ideas and values that underpin our political responses to the greatest challenges facing mankind today.

The project has two components:

The first component investigates the knowledge sources sustaining Danish climate politics since the 1980s and illuminates how and why climate challenges in recent decades have been linked to the political ambition of ensuring economic growth through market-based and technology-focused solutions. I spoke about this topic in my professorial inaugural lecture

"Klimapolitikkens idéhistorie i Danmark, 1980-2022" on 3 December 2021, and it is my intention to apply for funding for the project in 2022.

The second component illuminates the roots of neoliberal activism in the field of environmental and climate politics and locates these in the strong reactions of a diverse group of American free market thinkers to the rise of environmentalism as a mass social movement in the 1960s and as an area for government policy in the 1970s. I will be speaking on the The Birth of Neoliberal Anti-Environmentalism at Oxford University on 22 February, and I plan to publish a number of articles on the theme in 2022.

Together with Rasmus Skov Andersen, I have written this essay about  "Markedsliggørelsen af Miljøet" at

Contact: Professor Niklas Olsen


The professional and political debate about the future of Danish forestry in the light of demands for biodiversity restoration, carbon sequestration, procurement of biofuels, and room for outdoor activities is intense. It predicts the ultimate breakdown of the mono-functional, wood-producing forest management that was firmly established around 1900. Contributions to the debate, however, frequently presume implicit ideals that prevent a genuinely constructive discourse. In order to unearth the historical foundation of this tacit knowledge, the project aims at describing and interpreting the multiple strains of imaginaries, interests, intentions, and agencies that converged in the genesis of so-called rational forestry, and to show how present-day ideational positions also were all at work a century ago.

Contact: Bo Fritzbøger



This project focuses on conceptions of nature as seen through natural history practices in Denmark-Norway c. 1760-1810, thereby exploring the heterogeneous roots of present day’s views of nature. The project cuts across social, cultural, and geographical spheres, focusing on how nature emerged in diverse practices of natural history, ranging from activities in scientific societies, the determination of specimens in natural history collections, the accounts of local natural history in the provinces, and observations and discussion on natural history in the salons. Further, the project looks closer at the endeavours to disseminate knowledge of natural history, the natural order of things, and the magnificent diversity of nature and to direct feelings and sensations accordingly, asking how this knowledge was transformed, adapted, appropriated and used.

Contact: Signe Mellemgaard