Nils Güttler
IFK_Research Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2019 bis 31. January 2020

Nils Güttler


An Environmental Machine: The Frankfurt Airport and Its Region




The book project traces the intertwined history of the Frankfurt Airport and the “Rhein-Main” region. By combining Science and Technology Studies (STS) with regional and cultural history, environmental history, and the history of science, it investigates the frictions between global infrastructures and local environments. In contrast to the notion of big hub-airports as “non-places” (Marc Augé), it highlights the historicity of airports, their embeddedness in local knowledge cultures, and their impact on regional identity-building. How can we enhance our understanding of airports’ ecological dimensions? How have airports shaped their social and natural environments as well as the identity of whole regions?


Nils Güttler is currently a Postdoc in the Chair for Science Studies, ETH Zürich. His research interests range from the history of life sciences, especially biogeography and ecology, and the history of popular science to visual culture and environmental history. He studied Modern History and Modern German Literature and holds a Ph.D. from the Humboldt University of Berlin. His doctoral research centered on mapping practices in nineteenth-century plant geography. From 2008 to 2011 he was a Predoc at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Department II (Lorraine Daston) and went on to hold a position at the University of Erfurt, as well as postdoctoral fellowships at the Huntington Library (San Marino) and Harvard University.


„Hungry for Knowledge: Towards a Meso-History of the Environmental Sciences“, in: Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 42 (2019), S. 235–258; gem. mit Niki Rhyner und Max Stadler (Hg.), Flughafen Kloten: Anatomie eines komplizierten Ortes, Zürich 2018; gem. mit Magarete Pratschke und Max Stadler (Hg.), Wissen, ca. 1980, Zürich /Berlin 2016; Das Kosmoskop. Karten und ihre Benutzer in der Pflanzengeographie des 19. Jahrhunderts, Göttingen 2014.

  • Lecture

Nichtort, Kommerz, „flows“, Beschleunigung – kaum ein technischer Ort wurde in der jüngeren Kulturtheorie so fetischisiert wie der Flughafen. Dass Flughäfen jedoch über viel Bodenhaftung verfügen, zeigt Nils Güttler anhand der Umwelt- und Wissensgeschichte von Frankfurt „Rhein-Main“.