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About ACV 2021


The Anthropocene Campus Venice (ACV) is a one-week forum, with a strong educational commitment, around the theme of Water Politics in the Age of the Anthropocene, organized by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Center for the Humanities and Social Change, and the Max Planck Partner Group The Water City. It is set in the framework of the Anthropocene Curriculum (AC), a long-term collaborative project initiated by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

It benefits from the support of Ca’ Foscari University and the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage projects ERC EarlyModernCosmology (Horizon 2020, GA 725883) and FARE EarlyGeoPraxis (Italian Ministry of University and Research, cod. R184WNSTWH).

The disastrous effects
of the high tide

that flooded the city of Venice in November 2019 were rapidly circulated by the media around the world as a reminder of the responsibility that humans share for the rise in global temperatures and sea levels. The threat of a catastrophic alteration of the water-land balance is not a novelty for Venice, shaping the city’s culture and urban environments since its inception. The city’s insularity, which is at once natural and artificial, marks its specific relation to the elements. The balance of water and land has always constituted both a vital resource for its inhabitants and a crucial factor for the very existence of the lagoon.


An inquiry into the geo-environmental practices and politics of Venice offers a paradigmatic case study to reflect on the coevolution of humans and their environment. Ongoing research into sustainability and geo-anthropology has brought to the fore the importance of evaluating alternative historical paths to achieve a dynamic integration of human societies and nature.

The ACV takes the case of Venice as a point of departure to collectively reflect on geo-environmental politics. This location is ideal, both historically and symbolically, to engage with cross-cultural comparisons and make sure that201 the multi-dimensionality of the geo-anthropologenic prism can be properly approached, bringing together the social, political, economic, environmental, natural, and geological facets.

Over the span of a full week, this forum will provide a space for co-learning, interdisciplinary collaborations, and comparative studies, bringing together scholars in the humanities, scientists, artists, architects, designers, curators and writers. The aim of the ACV is to establish an interdisciplinary forum for an eco-political reflection on collective human agency and its knowledge-mediated transformative power, as is the case with the environmental history of contexts like Venice. The question of an environmental history of science-mediated human agency stems from the Anthropocene debates on the natural embeddedness of human history. In return, the reconstruction of human water-related practices and praxes in a concrete historical setting contributes to interdisciplinary debates on earth-systems through an improved understanding of collective agency, located at the intersection of anthroposphere, biosphere, and geosphere.


ACV will be divided into 4 seminar threads, each with its own relevant workshop, field trip, series of events. The seminars threads are: