Anthropocene Campus Philadelphia

October 22nd, 2017

A collaborative campus hosted by Drexel University, Philadelphia, from Oct 22‒26, 2017.

 

The Anthropocene Campus Philadelphia (ACP) was a collaborative campus event that took place at Drexel University in October 2017 to challenge the familiar boundaries between the environmental studies disciplines and to open the way for what we believe is a sustainable and provocative research enterprise. The ACP-developed inquiry into Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley engaged with questions of importance to multiple sectors and resonated with other cases in a transnational framework. We construed our approach broadly to include intersecting disciplines, a wide range of actors and experts, and historical time scales from the deep past into the future. In addition to four primary seminars, the ACP also featured plenary lectures, short workshops, a film series, performances, and a full day set aside for field visits (from historical archives and empty buildings to brownfield sites and barges) in the region.

About

The Anthropocene Campus Philadelphia (ACP) builds on the Anthropocene Campus events hosted in Berlin by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2014 and 2016. Both of these transformative events challenged familiar boundaries between the environmental studies disciplines, opening the way for what we believe is a sustainable and provocative research enterprise.

The ACP breaks some new ground in that its geographical gaze is focused squarely on one region: Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. From the complex industrial, economic, and environmental history of this region, the ACP develops an inquiry that engages with questions of importance to multiple sectors, and which resonates with other cases in a transnational framework. We construe our approach broadly to include intersecting disciplines, a wide range of actors and experts, and historical time scales from the deep past into the future.

In addition to four primary seminars, the APC also featureds plenary lectures, short workshops, a film series, performances, and a full day set aside for field visits (from historical archives and empty buildings to brownfields and barges) in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley.

Seminars

  1. Writing Global Histories in the Anthropocene—exploring transnational cases and methods towards the goal of writing critical Anthropocene history;
  2. Slow Disaster—exploring time scale, creation and destruction, and the maintenance of systems over time;
  3. Voice and Representation in the Anthropocene—exploring power, looking for the winners and the losers, theorizing the Anthropocene as a social phenomenon;
  4. Environing Technology—exploring the environmental conditions of the Anthropocene, analyzing the tools of analysis and expectation related to environmental quality.

Each theme is explored through seminars, involving guest facilitators and participants in the co-creation of a curriculum. Field trips to both abandoned and re-used industrial sites, mines, the waterways of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute, and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University are another key element. Finally, the program is complemented by discussions with non-profit and advocacy groups.