Ideas and imaginaries inspire human capacity for great endeavours, but ‘conventional wisdom’ frequently prevents necessary change. Achievement of global sustainable development is, therefore, dependent on a profound comprehension of the preunderstandings and implicit imaginaries that form both our perception of reality and our basic confidence in the viability of transgressive action. The present-day concept and ideal of sustainable development contains many interlaced meanings and many contradictions. In order to bring out the concept’s indisputable transformative potential, and be able to gain support, promote decision-making and take action in it, it is, therefore, requisite to disentangle this mélange and shed light to the implicit preunderstandings . This course will contribute to doing so by focusing on the historical roots and multiple layers of meaning of sustainable development, and by exploring questions such as: ‘What is the historical background of the current Sustainable Development Goals?’, ‘Which imaginaries about relations between individual and collective tend to promote and prevent sustainable solutions?’, ‘How can ideas about humans and nature affect global development?’, And ‘how do we as humans react on inconstant notions of time and change?’ During this course, you will meet associate professor in history Bo Fritzbøger from Centre for Sustainable Futures as the primary lecturer and a range of cultural, natural and social scientists, all from the University of Copenhagen working with different aspects of sustainability thinking. We hope that you will join us in the course and qualify your participation in current discussions about how to achieve common sustainable development in a divided world.