Thomas Lekan

Professor, Department of History

PhD, History, University of Wisconsin Madison, 1999

My work focuses on European environmental history and the global dimensions of nature and wildlife conservation, ecotourism, and green imperialism; comparative urban and regional planning history; and the environmental humanities. Publications include Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity, 1885-1945 (Harvard, 2004) and the co-edited volumes Germany’s Nature: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental History (Rutgers, 2005) and Whose Anthropocene: Revisiting Dipesh Chakrabarty’s “Four Theses” (Rachel Carson Center, 2016). My current book manuscript, Last Refuge: A “Strange German” Quest to Save the Serengeti, investigates the work of Bernhard Grzimek, Germany’s most important twentieth-century conservationist. The book examines the tensions between global ambition and local place-making during the mid-century expansion of national parks, nature tourism, and wildlife television. I am also working on a collaborative project, “baselining nature,” on environmental baselines.

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