Public Guest Lectures HS22
The Earthly Condition – Inhabiting the Earth in Common
Tuesday, October 25, 12:15 - 1:30 pm CEST
Online lecture. Please register in advance: meeting registration
The space-time of politics is changing: the Earth and the multiplicity of beings that compose it are bursting into human affairs by reacting to the continuous assaults of a modernization front led by the State-Capital. The modern condition, driven by anthropocentric rights and political measures governed by the systematic exploitation of natural resources and the putting to work of all beings, is collapsing.
But what about opening another path: to think and live in our earthly condition? In this guest lecture, Sophie Gosselin will be talking about the shifting political landscape of modernity where the individual becomes a relational person, citizen and representative democracy becomes a multispecific assembly of inhabitants, national peoples are transformed into river peoples, mountain peoples or archipelago peoples, and state sovereignty is shared to take into account decolonial, interspecific and ecofeminist perspectives. These reinventions engage us to re-inhabit our relationships, our affects, our imaginations in order to live an Earth in common: an Earth made of many worlds.
Sophie Gosselin is a philosopher based in France. She is the co-author with David gé Bartoli of La Condition terrestre (Seuil, 2022) and Le Toucher du monde, techniques du naturer (Editions Dehors, 2019). She is a founding member of the online review Terrestres and of the University for the Earth in Tours.
On the Wasteocene
Tuesday, November 15, 12:15 - 1:30 pm CET
Online lecture. Please register in advance: meeting registration
Humans may live in the Anthropocene, but this does not affect all in the same way. How would the Anthropocene look if, instead of searching its traces in the geosphere, researchers would look for them in the organosphere, in the ecologies of humans in their entanglements with the environment? In this guest lecture, Marco Armiero will invite us to take a closer look at this embodied stratigraphy of power and toxicity. More than the Anthropocene, we will start a dialogue to discover the Wasteocene.
The imposition of wasting relationships on subaltern human and more-than-human communities implies the construction of toxic ecologies made of contaminating substances and narratives. While official accounts have systematically erased any trace of those wasting relationships, another kind of narrative has been written in flesh, blood, and cells. Traveling between Naples (Italy) and Agbogbloshie (Ghana), science fiction and epidemic outbreaks, the talk will take us into the bowels of the Wasteocene, but it will also indicate the commoning practices which are dismantling it.
Marco Armiero is the director of the Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and current president of the European Society for Environmental History. He is one of the founders of the field of environmental history in Italy. Among his publications: Wasteocene. Stories from the Global Dump (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and, with Gregg Mitman and Robert S. Emmett, Future Remains. A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (University of Chicago Press, 2018).
Public Guest Lectures FS22
Independence from Economic Growth – an Ignored Challenge
Tuesday, March 22, 12:00 - 1:30 pm CET
University of St. Gallen, campus room 01-308
Continuous economic growth on a finite planet is not possible. 50 years after the Club of Rome Report “The Limits to Growth”, the focus on economic growth has not changed and instead the growth model has spread globally. The lecture embeds the growth society in history and economic theory, discusses limits to economic growth and asks the question whether absolute decoupling of economic growth and resource use is possible. It also indicates areas in which transformations can foster a departure from the growth paradigm.
Irmi Seidl is an economist and head of the Economic and Social Sciences Research Unit at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, WSL. She is the co-editor of Post Growth Work: Employment and Meaningful Activities within Planetary Boundaries (Routledge 2021), of Postwachtum. Konzepte für die Zukunft (Metropolis 2010) and the co-author of How do social innovations contribute to growth-independent territorial development? Case studies from a Swiss mountain region (DIE ERDE 2021,https://doi.org/10.12854/erde-2021-592). Irmi Seidl teaches at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich and conducts research on the ecological consequences of economic growth, the economics of land use and settlement development and environmental economic instruments. As a growth critic she advocates the concept of the post-growth society.
Jason W. Moore
Climate Crisis, Planetary Justice, and the Flight from History
Thursday, April 28, 6 - 7:30 pm CEST
online lecture. Please register in advance: meeting registration
Among the legacies of a half-century of environmental studies – across the Two Cultures – is a denial of the history of capitalism in the unfolding climate crisis. In this lecture, environmental historian Jason W. Moore explores two entangled problems in contemporary interpretations of climate crisis and climate justice. One tendency reduces the problem of Holocene climate history to Man and Nature. Rather than reconstruct the long history of class, climate, and civilizational change, we are delivered neo-Malthusian stories that are not only empirically flawed but politically disabling.
Another tendency, common across the humanities and social science, reduces the problem of capitalism to social relations abstracted from the modern history of climate and environmental change, beginning the invasions of the New World in 1492. Moore shows how today's climate crisis is rooted in the emergence of a capitalist world-ecology during the Little Ice Age, and how a politics of planetary justice that ignores that history recapitulates a "soft" climate denialism and favors an authoritarian response to the climate emergency.
Jason W. Moore is an environmental historian and historical geographer at Binghamton University, where he is professor of sociology. He is author, most recently, of Capitalism in the Web of Life(Verso, 2015), Capitalocene o Antropocene?(Ombre Corte, 2017), Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism(PM Press, 2016), and, with Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things(University of California Press, 2017). His books andessayson environmental history, capitalism, and social theory have been widely recognizedand have receivedthe Alice Hamilton Prize of the American Society for Environmental History (2003), the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Section on the Political Economy of the World-System (American Sociological Association, 2002 for articles, and 2015 for Web of Life), and the Byres and Bernstein Prize in Agrarian Change (2011).
Welcome to our team!
The Italian faculty welcomes Tsunoda Kahlua (Keio University, Tokyo). Tsunoda Kahlua will join our research team from February to the end of July 2022 as a member of the Young Researchers’ Exchange Programme between Japan and Switzerland. The agreement is supported by the Leading House Asia, ETH Zurich. Tsunoda Kahlua will work under the supervision of Prof. Federico Luisetti on her current research project entitled Fotodinamismo and the Reception of Photography in Italian Futurism.
We also warmly welcome Dr. Marco Malvestio. Dr. Marco Malvestio is EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Padua and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will join our research team and work under the supervision of Prof. Federico Luisetti from February to the end of April 2022, in the framework of his project The Ecology of Italian Science Fiction. The project is funded by the European Commission, Horizon 2020 initiative.
Dr. Marco Malvestio’s project, “EcoSF”, explores the presence of ecological issues in Italian science fiction. Dr. Marco Malvestio holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Padua and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. He has been visiting PhD student at the University of Cambridge and at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Public Guest Lectures HS21
Tim Ingold (em. University of Aberdeen)
The Sustainability of Everything
Tuesday, October 19th 2021, 12:15-2:00 pm, University of St. Gallen (online lecture: registration)
Sustainability is about carrying life on, not about the achievement and maintenance of a steady state. Moreover if it is to mean anything, it must be for everyone and everything, and not for some to the exclusion of others. What kind of world, then, has a place for everyone and everything, both now and into the indefinite future? What does it mean for such a world to carry on? And how can we make it happen? To answer these questions, I shall take a closer look at what we mean by ‘everything’. I shall argue that it is not the sum total of minimally existing entities, joined together into ever larger and more complex structures, but a rather a fluid and heterogeneous plenum from within which things emerge as its crumples and folds. How, then, does such an understanding of everything affect our concept of sustainability?
Tim Ingold, FBA, FRSE, is Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He has carried out fieldwork among Saami and Finnish people in Lapland, and has written on environment, technology and social organisation in the circumpolar North, on animals in human society, and on human ecology and evolutionary theory. His more recent work explores environmental perception and skilled practice. Ingold’s current interests lie on the interface between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. His recent books include The Perception of the Environment (2000), Lines (2007), Being Alive (2011), Making (2013), The Life of Lines (2015), Anthropology and/as Education (2018), Anthropology: Why it Matters (2018) and Correspondences (2020).
Miriam Tola (University of Lausanne)
The commons reimagined: a case study from Rome, Italy
Tuesday, November 30th 2021, 6:15-8:00 pm, University of St. Gallen (online lecture: registration)
Once associated to a site of tragedy in mainstream environmental thinking, the commons have been reimagined as an alternative to extractive economies that deplete both territories and populations. Through the case study of an urban lake in a postindustrial area in Rome, Italy, this lecture explores activist commons that engage nonhuman beings as actors in projects that challenge neoliberal regimes of property and governance. Thus, it provides insights on the socio-ecological dimension of commoning.
Miriam Tola is assistant professor in Environmental Humanities at the University of Lausanne, where she is a member of the Institute of Geography and Sustainability. Her research explores the intersections of gender, race and nature in the political imagination of modernity. Her work has appeared in journals including South Atlantic Quarterly, Feminist Review, Environmental Humanities and Feminist Studies.
ItaliCHa 2021-2022 – Letture pubbliche delle cattedre di italianistica svizzere
Public Guest Lectures FS21
Malcom Ferdinand (Université Paris-Diderot)
A Decolonial Ecology – Thinking from the Caribbean World
Tuesday, March 9th 2021, 12:15-2:00 pm, University of St. Gallen (online lecture: registration)
Behind its claim of universality, environmental thinking has been built on the occultation of the colonial, patriarchal and slavery foundations of modernity. Thinking ecology from the Caribbean world confronts postcolonial ecological thought with a region where imperialism, slavery and landscape destruction violently tied the destinies of Europeans, Amerindians and Africans. In his guest lecture, Malcom Ferdinand will introduce his concept of a "decolonial ecology" as an option to link ecological issues to the quest for a world emerging from slavery and colonization.
Malcom Ferdinand is a doctor in political philosophy from Université Paris Diderot, researcher at the CNRS (IRISSO). His research draws on the fields of political philosophy, political ecology and postcolonial theory, with a focus on the Black Atlantic and mainly the Caribbean. Malcom Ferdinand is the author of Une écologie décoloniale (Sueil 2019). In his work, he explores the relations between current ecological crises and the colonial history of modernity.
Nerea Calvillo (University of Warwick)
Tuesday, May 4th 2021, 12:15-2:00 pm, University of St. Gallen (online lecture: registration)
Air Pollution is a matter of public concern. But what are exactly the political and social dimensions of environmental pollution or, more specifically, of “urban air”? How to render visible qualitative conditions of toxicity not through management or policy making, and beyond established forms of environmental activism? In her guest contribution, Nerea Calvillo will discuss her recent research and investigations on toxic politics, pollen and queer urban political ecologies.
Nerea Calvillo is an architect, researcher, curator and associate professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (University of Warwick). The work produced at her office, C+ arquitectas, and her environmental visualization projects have been presented, exhibited and published at international venues. Her research investigates the material, technological, political and social dimensions of environmental pollution. This has led her to analyse notions of toxicity, digital infrastructures of environmental monitoring, DIY and collaborative forms of production, smart cities and feminist approaches to sensing the environment.
Public Guest Lectures HS20
Professor Serenella Iovino (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The Virus, Humans, and Other Animals – Understanding COVID-19 with Biosemiotics and Posthumanism
Tuesday, Nov. 10th 2020, 12:15-2:00 pm, University of St. Gallen (online lecture)
More information and registration
knowbotiq (Zurich University of the Arts)
Swiss Psychotropic Gold
Tuesday, Nov. 17th 2020, 12:15-2:00 pm, University of St. Gallen (online lecture)
More information and registration
Public Guest Lecture HS19
Prof. Dr. Christoph Kueffer, ETH Zurich, University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland
Extinctions – The Fate of Biodiversity in the Anthropocene
Tuesday, December 3rd 2019, 10:30 am to 12 pm, University of St. Gallen, 07-003 (main building)
Public Guest Lecture HS18
Professor Christian Uva (Università Roma Tre)
The Representation of Terrorism in Italian Cinema
Tuesday, Nov. 27th 2018, 4:30-6.30 pm, University of St. Gallen, 01-112 (main building)
More information about the conference
International Conference 2018
Politics of Nature
October 11th to 13th 2018
More information about the conference and program
On March 23 and 24, the HSG hosted the conference Anche io parlo italiano organized by the faculty of Italian culture UNISG, the society and the Società Dante Alighieri and the Italian Consulate.