ISOE-Lecture with Dr. Kim De Wolff

How to Live Responsibly on a Plastic Planet 

ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research in Frankfurt am Main continues its event series “ISOE Lecture”. This year, an environmental humanities theme is the focus of the lecture, which for the first time cannot take place at the Goethe University Frankfurt due to the pandemic. Guest reader of the digital edition of the ISOE Lecture in the winter semester 2020/21 will be Dr. Kim De Wolff from the University of North Texas in Denton (USA). The environmental humanities scholar will address the question of how a responsible approach to plastic can be successful. The ISOE Lecture will be held in English on February 25, 2021.

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Plastic bag as a silhouette of a jellyfish (© Andrii Zastrozhnov/
Plastic bag as a silhouette of a jellyfish (© Andrii Zastrozhnov/

Plastic waste is constantly ending up in the oceans and pollutes the marine environments globally. Common solutions propagate an imperative of cleaning and sorting, for instance fishing plastic waste out of the oceans with considerable technical effort or preventing pollution in advance with the help of a “plastic-free” living. The environmental humanities scholar Kim De Wolff, who researches the connections between the global environment and everyday cultures, consumption and waste, considers those kind of strategies not to be very promising.

In the ISOE Lecture 2020/21, the U.S. scholar shows why solutions that aim solely at waste control – Kim De Wolff also speaks of “regimes of extraction and control” – are not sustainable: They emphasize the separation of nature and society instead of focusing on the complex interrelationships. In De Wolff's view, however, it is a prerequisite to take into account the lively relations of nature and society.

Scientific lecture series on topics in sustainability research

In her lecture, De Wolff will present an “ethics of entanglement” and, drawing on feminist new materialism as well as on Science and Technology Studies (STS), she argues that recognizing the powerful agency of plastic can ultimately contribute to less plastic waste. 

Since 2012, the ISOE Lecture has always taken place during the winter semester at Goethe University and is dedicated to current issues in sustainability research as well as to the presentation of concrete examples from science and research. The series aims to give students and researchers, as well as the interested public food for thought on how transitions to sustainable development can succeed and what role universities and science can play in this context.

How to Live Responsibly on a Plastic Planet 

Dr. Kim De Wolff 
Assistant Professor of Environmental Philosophy
University of North Texas, Denton (USA)

February 25, 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Online event

The lecture will be in English.

Register with the subject line “ISOE Lecture” at .

Take part in the discussion: #ISOE_Lecture

Organized by: ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research in cooperation with the subject area Industrial and Organizational Sociology, Environmental Sociology, Department 03, Goethe University. 

Scientific contact:

Dr. Johanna Kramm
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-16  

Press contact:

Melanie Neugart
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-51