Frank Uekötter 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. He earned, or at any rate was awarded, a PhD from Bielefeld University in 2001, where he continued to work for several years. He moved to Munich in 2006, helped by a generous Dilthey grant from the Volkswagen Foundation. He taught at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University and became one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, a Käte Hamburger Centre run in collaboration by Munich University and the Deutsches Museum. He joined the University of Birmingham in September 2013. In 2021, he also became the grateful recipient of an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for his project on the global history of monoculture.
The End of the Plantation: An Apocalyptic Scenario of the Global South
Plantations have been a pillar of food production throughout the modern era, but they were perennially embattled on multiple fronts, and the natural environment was a particular source of troubles. Every monoculture faced a biological challenge that threatened commercial production, and often a multitude thereof. Coping with these threats left its mark in minds on and beyond the site of production, and this project seeks to explore the mental repercussions of perennially embattled plantations. What does it mean to explore plantation fears as apocalyptic tropes? Do they intertwine with other popular horror scenarios, or do they remain isolated and distinct? Do apocalyptic scenarios resonate along commodity chains, or should we see plantation fears as phenomena of rural life? In a wider context, the project raises the question about an apocalyptic divide between urban and rural populations.