History of Crisis I

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5LH007

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
History of Science and Ideas A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 14 September 2021
Responsible department
Department of History of Science and Ideas

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, the student will be able to:

  • analyze, compare and critically reflect on the use of concepts of crisis across different sciences such as history, medicine, ecology and economy;
  • demonstrate an ability to make in-depth analysis of crisis narratives in historical and contemporary research and in connection to case studies in the course;
  • demonstrate a scientifically integrative understanding of theoretical and historical perspectives on connected crises in late modernity.


In the early 2000s, global societies have been increasingly perceived and connected through the lens of crisis and crisis discourses, emerging from public debate, critical reflection and knowledge production on financial crises, the crisis of democracy, ecological crises and climate change, the global health crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the crisis of globalisation itself. The notion of connected and extended crises in late modernity has also framed social understandings and movements, raising demands for political decisions and reforms, broader epistemic shifts and changing lifestyles. But what does it mean to understand society and the world through a perspective of crisis? What does it imply for our understanding of the past and the future? How is the concept of crisis used in different scientific contexts, and in relation to different types of emergencies? How did the understanding of the concept of crisis change over time and between different historical settings? What role did it play in the theory of history and different modes of historical explanations? And how can an advanced understanding of the history of crisis influence the way societies deal with crises today?

In this course, we address these issues through a series of lectures and case-oriented seminars with teachers who specialize on different aspects of the history of crisis. The course is designed to connect historical and contemporary perspectives as well as different research areas within the human, social and natural sciences. The course is open to advanced students at master's and doctoral level from all disciplinary backgrounds.

History of Crisis I focuses on historical perspectives and provides an introduction to the role of the concept of crisis in historical explanations and historical theory. It will also look at concepts of crisis and crisis narrative in the history of other sciences - for example ecology, medicine and economy - through a selection of historical and contemporary cases. History of Crisis II focuses on thematic and scientifically integrative approaches to current and connected crises related to global warming, environmental crises, global health emergencies, and financial and political crises. Both courses deal with social, cultural and political theories of late modernity as an era increasingly defined by crisis as an interconnected and world-making phenomena. Both courses can be read separately or as two coherent courses that offer gradual progression and specialization.


The course consists of compulsory seminars and lectures.


Assessment will be based upon written and oral assignments.

No reading list found.