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Thomas Lekan

Visiting Scholar (Mai 2018-Aug 2018)

PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of History and the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, USA

Thomas Lekan is an associate professor in the Department of History and the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment (SEOE) at the University of South Carolina in the United States, where he has been a faculty member since 1999.  He is currently interim coordinator of the Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology, and Society and serves on the Executive Board of the German Studies Association.  Lekan earned an MA at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1993 and a PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999.  His work has received fellowship support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, and the US National Park Service.  He has also held residential fellowships at Princeton University’s Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C, and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. At the Max Planck Institute, Lekan is part of Department III’s working group “The Art of Judgment” and joins senior fellow Wilko von Hardenberg and visiting scholar Sebastián Ureta in organizing a workshop and scholarly publications on the theme of “Shifting Baselines, Altered Horizons: Politics, Practice, and Knowledge in Environmental Science and Policy.”  

Lekan’s research focuses on European environmental history and the interdisciplinary environmental humanities, particularly the global and comparative dimensions of wildlife conservation and ecotourism, the relationship between ecological research and green imperialism, and just sustainabilities in the Anthropocene.  His is currently revising his book, Last Refuge: A “Strange German” Quest to Save the Serengeti (forthcoming, Oxford University Press), which investigates the documentary films and conservation advocacy of Bernhard Grzimek, Germany’s most important twentieth-century wildlife conservationist.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Baselining Nature


Unruly Natures: Pastoralism, Disturbance, and Myths of Wild Africa in the Serengeti Region


Past Events


Conservation in the Anthropocene: A Plenary Roundtable


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

“Green Germany” Lecture Series: The Greatest Good?: German Forestry and Sustainability at the Biltmore Estate, 1898-1909

College of Charleston

Annual Meeting: National Parks as Historical Field Schools

Organization of American Historians

Annual Meeting: Game Ranching and the Ecology of Development in the Serengeti, 1961-1967

American Society for Environmental History

Annual Meeting: A New Berlin in Africa: Remapping the GDR's Socialist City at Zanzibar, 1964-1977

German Studies Association

Humanities Forum: The End of the World as We Know It: Environmental Histories in/of the Anthropocene

University of Oklahoma