Kupper PatrickCreating Wilderness: A Transnational History of the Swiss National Park
Wildnis schaffen: Eine transnationale Geschichte des Schweizerischen Nationalparks
Project Number: CH-2923
|Project Duration:||05/01/2006 - 05/31/2010 project completed|
|Funding Source:||ETH , other , SNSF ,|
|Project Leader:||Prof. Patrick Kupper
Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften und Europäische Ethnologie
Phone: +43 (0)512 507 4390
|Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege|
|History in general|
Environmental History, Global History, Conservation History, Land Use History, National Park History
The research project "Creating Wilderness" seeks to interpret the creation and development of the Swiss National Park as a specific local site within global conservation history. The natural and social conditions of land use will be examined, together with its practical and symbolic forms and its unintended consequences and backlashes. Practical forms of land use include agriculture, forest cultivation, hydropower, scientific research and outdoor recreation. Symbolic forms of land use have taken place as part of discourses about national monuments, environmental protection and wilderness. The period of investigation is the entire 20th century. This scope allows for analysis of long-term developments and gradual changes. Special attention is given to transnational dimensions, relations between nature and culture, social and natural networks, and the interplay between discourses and practices.
The Swiss National Park, officially founded in 1914 in the Lower Engadin, ranks among the first national parks in Europe. In contrast to the Swedish parks established at the same time, the Swiss park deviated in significant ways from the American model. The promotion of ecological sciences was set as the park's main goal. The park was intended to serve as a large outdoor laboratory, where nature could be observed at work, undisturbed by human interference. To this end the park was placed under a blanket preservation order ("Totalschutz"), enforced by a set of exceptionally strict regulations. Its borders and regulations have repeatedly been the subject of intense discussion. Nature preservation for scientific purposes has been challenged by proposals that the land should be put to different uses – including hunting, hydroelectric power production, outdoor recreation and tourism. According to the park's statutes nature was to be left untouched. The park nature, however, was manmade wilderness and man remained present in many ways.
Last update: 12/23/16
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2022)
Update the data of project: CH-2923