Members

University of Vienna scholars participating in the VAN


The Anthropocene poses entirely new challenges both for the humanities and for an interdisciplinary dialogue. We have charted the territory of this dialogue in The Anthropocene. Key Issues for the Humanities (2020). How can we conceive of the 'anthropos' of the Anthropocene? When did the anthropogenic transformation of the Earth begin? What are the ethical and political issues raised by planetary environmental change? As a cultural historian and literary scholar, I am specifically interested in the aesthetics of the Anthropocene and in the genealogy of Anthropocene thought. I am reconstructing the rich and diverse tradition of thinking about the planetary and the relation between earth history and human history in philosophy, fiction, historiography, and the arts.

Keywords: Aesthetics of the Anthropocene, Narrative, Processes of Scaling, Climate Change, Climate and Culture


Head of Vienna Anthropocene Network

Department of German Studies
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-42128
E-Mail: eva.horn@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene, coined by the natural sciences, opens discussions in a transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary way. In that, it fosters interdisciplinary research and reunites more and more specialized scientific disciplines and defines a space for transdisciplinary projects involving both natural sciences and humanities. For the geosciences the definition of the Anthropocene poses the main challenge within the framework of stratigraphy, the science of the dating and documentation of geological archives. The Anthropocene thus finds its place in Earth history, but also gives a symbol word for today’s anthropogenic changes of the Earth system as a whole.

Keywords: Anthropocene starting dates, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Vienna 


Deputy Head of Vienna Anthropocene Network

Department of Geology
Althanstraße 14 (UZA II)
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-53465
E-Mail: michael.wagreich@univie.ac.at

My research focuses on the political, economic and cultural conditions that impede sustainability transformations - I call this the "imperial mode of living". This mode of living - that is also a mode of production - is deeply inscribed into societal institutions and norms and led to what is called the Anthropocene. This notion is related to other concepts like planetary boundaries, the Great Acceleration or Limits to Growth. I am interested in political-economic and cultural initiatives that take seriously the challenges posed by the strong metaphor of the Anthropocene, i.e. initiatives towards a "Green Economy", United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, actors like trade unions or social movements.

Keywords: International Environmental and Resource Politics, Imperial Mode of Living, Socio-Ecological Transformation, Critical Social Theory, Latin America 


Department of Political Sciences, International Politics
Neues Institutsgebäude
Universitätsstr. 7/2, 1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-49452
E-Mail: ulrich.brand@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene debate started as an academic discussion in stratigraphy and very soon became a tantalizing focal point for different scientific fields investigating its various aspects. I am dealing with the Anthropocene from a geoarchaeological point of view, using this interdisciplinary approach to study human-environmental interaction in the past. How can we document and quantify this interaction? What are the cultural, regional, climatic, technological variables to induce and adapt to changes in the past? My research tries to learn from the past for the future.

Keywords: Climate Change, Environment, Geoarchaeology, Responsibility, Stratigraphy, Sustainability 


Department of Geology - Sedimentology
Althanstraße 14
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-53415
E-Mail: erich.draganits@univie.ac.at

Department of History
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-40865
E-Mail: anna.echterhoelter@univie.ac.at

Department of Science and Technology Studies
Universitätsstraße 7 (NIG Stiege II, 6. Stock)
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-49611
E-Mail: ulrike.felt@univie.ac.at

As a geomorphologist and a natural hazard and risk researcher, my research focuses on Earth surface dynamics and its consequences. These dynamics are directly and indirectly determined by natural and anthropogenic forces. The build-up materials, forms and operating processes are mapped, monitored and modelled including the related anthropogenic domains. The connectivity between nature and humans is of major interest and will be one of the most important challenges in the future – in particular within the global change debate.

Keywords: Geomorphology, Natural hazards and risks, Human Impact, Global change


Department of Geography and Regional Research

Universitätsstraße 7 
1010 Vienna

+43-1-4277 48650
E-Mail: thomas.glade@univie.ac.at

Aquatic and terrestrial processes control the Earth’s environment. They are, however, massively impacted by human activities. Chemical, physical, biological, and geoscientific concepts and methods are needed to for a molecular scale mechanistic understanding and quantitative modelling of anthropogenic environmental processes. The overall goal is to understand processes controlling the environmental systems and to apply fundamental insights to the solution of some of the pressing environmental problems of today and tomorrow.

Keywords: Pollution Dynamics, Environmental Nanotechnology, Remediation of Pollutants, Aquatic Geochemistry 


Department of Environmental Geosciences

Althanstraße 14 (UZA II)
1090 Vienna

+43-1-4277-53320
E-Mail: thilo.hofmann@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene discussion frames processes of transformation in the interaction between society and the environment within a global historical context. It therefore illuminates the Ancient Near Eastern documentation I am familiar with by situating it in a broader conceptual framework. This facilitates interacting with a whole series of disciplines that otherwise hardly enter into dialogue with my field.


Department of Oriental Studies
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 4 (Campus)
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-43413
E-Mail: michael.jursa@univie.ac.at

As a literary scholar, discussions about the Anthropocene encourage me to enquire into imaginaries of the future. Which utopian ideas emerge in the wake of planetary destruction? While apocalyptic fictions give the most detailed accounts of collapse scenarios, contemporary science fiction abounds with techno-optimism. Accordingly, our future is secured if humanity embraces globally centralised institutions and large-scale geo-engineering. Interdisciplinary dialogue with the social and natural sciences allows me to assess the dramatic implications of such visions.

Keywords: Literary Studies, Science Fiction, Future Imaginaries, Dystopia


Department of German Studies
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-49452
E-Mail: johannes.daniel.kaminski@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene as a possible geological era is a topic of current interest that is intensely debated. Traditionally geological periods are defined in retrospect through their content, this would be different in the present case. As a geoscientist who works mainly on the interface of extraterrestrial and terrestrial geological processes, such as meteorite impacts that have punctuated the biological and geological evolution of the Earth, I look at the long-term geological record and how these studies tell us something about the present-day and future development of the planet Earth.

Keywords: Impact Research, Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, Planetary Geology, Meteorites


Department of Lithospheric Research
Althanstrasse 14
1090 Vienna

Deputy Head, Former Director General of the Natural History Museum Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-53110
E-Mail: christian.koeberl@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene redefines the relationship between humans and nature. Based on this theoretical assumption, I am interested in the poetics of the Anthropocene: How does literature present and narrate the Anthropocene as new mode of existence? Which literary forms and genres address insights on the entanglement of human existence and nature and represent the new understanding of nature?  My research assumes that a poetics of the Anthropocene is above all a reflection on literary form represented by natural forms and transformations.

Keywords: Anthropocene Poetics, Form, Genre


Department of German Studies
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-42190
E-Mail: stephanie.langer@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene symbolises the impact of humans on the Earth system. This impact is visible in most cases, such as the increase of sealed surface or effects as recurrent weather extremes. Yet, the human influence is not restricted to the Earth's surface – humans have equally reached into the ground, building subsurface infrastructure and cumulating anthropogenic sediments. In the project 'The Anthropocene Surge', my research interest is on making this hidden layer experienceable and measureable, showing the growing impact by humans over the past centuries. As an archaeologist and geoinformation scientist, my current research work focuses on creating a 3D model of the anthropogenic sediments underlying Vienna – making the invisible visible.

Keywords: Anthropogenic Sediments, Human Impact over Time, Visualisation and Modelling


Department of Geology
Althanstraße 14 (UZA II)
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-40577
E-Mail: kira.lappe@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene highlights to an unprecedented degree the role of human actors in earth, environmental and archaeological sciences. While the investigation of the changing human-environment relationship belongs to the core focuses of archaeological research, the Anthropocene discussion entails a potential of revolutionizing long-held definitions of and traditional approaches to chronology, geomorphology, stratigraphy and human behaviour. In my current field research in and on the Arabian desert and arid areas of the Near East, I am interested in understanding the methodological relevance of the Anthropocene and its possible impact on accepted paradigms in archeology as discipline and in understanding events such as aridization as anthropogenic and/or global phenomena.

Keywords: Archeology, Geomorphology, Historical Geography, Near East, Stratigraphy


Department of Near Eastern Studies
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 4 (Campus)
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-43451
E-Mail: marta.luciani@univie.ac.at

The 'Anthropocene' debate should be perceived as a great opportunity for strenghtening the interdisciplinary dialogue to better cope with challenges arising from highly dynamic human-environmental interactions. I am currently working on human impacts on landscape dynamics, focusing on fluvial systems and soil erosion processes. Furthermore, I am involved in/leading projects and working groups using the concept of connectivity as a unifying framework in the fields of geomorphology, environmental sciences and human-landscape interaction research.

Keywords: Connectivity, Geomorphology, Human Impact, Human-Environment Interactions


Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43 - (0)1 - 4277 48653
E-Mail: ronald.poeppl@univie.ac.at

Department of Oriental Studies
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 4 (Campus)
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-43422
E-Mail: stephan.prochazka@univie.ac.at

In addition to the pressing political dimensions of the Anthropocene relating to climate justice and intergenerational justice, I am interested in the way that the Anthropocene occasions a thoroughgoing interrogation of fundamental categories in the humanities. Together with Juliane Prade-Weiss, I organized a workshop at the University of Vienna on 'Guilt in the Anthropocene.' Rather than abandoning outright such categories as “guilt,” I believe they urgently need to be rethought as we seek to come to terms with what it means to live in the Anthropocene.

Keywords: Climate Justice, Guilt, History, Intergenerational Justice, Politics


Department of German Studies
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-42128
E-Mail: benjamin.robinson@univie.ac.at

The notion of the Anthropocene points to a new era in human-environmental relations, especially to the great transformation of many Earth systems that has accelerated since the industrial revolution. This transformation challenges the status quo and poses the question how sustainable development pathways can be realised. The impacts of this transformation are unevenly distributed and already put lives and livelihoods of people around the world at risk. My research interests lie at the interface between population dynamics and changing human-environment relations. I particularly focus on the role of migration and mobility for coping and adaptation to environmental change, and on the question how translocal connectedness can facilitate sustainable transformation.

Keywords: Migration, Displacement, Translocality, Human-Environmental Relations, Climate Change, South-East Asia and East Africa.


Department of Geography and Regional Research
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-48730
E-Mail: patrick.sakdapolrak@univie.ac.at

The notion of the Anthropocene helps us to go beyond the specific environmental concerns society and academia are facing at any given time, be they climate change, plastic pollution or ocean acidification. It also reminds us of the responsibility humanity carries for the fate of planet Earth. However, neither the destructive capacity nor the ability to mitigate are equally distributed around the globe or within a society. The academic study of the Anthropocene is an inter-, multi- and transdisciplinary field that goes beyond the ‘anthropos’ of the Anthropocene (and of anthropology) to explore the social, cultural, political and more-than-human entanglements of a crowded world with deep inequalities regarding the means to satisfy seemingly unlimited needs. My current research is focused on built and natural environments in the Arctic, where climate change, militarization and the scramble for energy resources interact to demonstrate how the Anthropocene affects remote regions of the world. 

Keywords: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Human-Environment Interactions, Arctic


Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-495 37
E-Mail: peter.schweitzer@univie.ac.at

Dr. Olga Smith

My interest in the Anthropocene is driven by my research in the field of art history, which focuses on 'landscape' as a form of picturing nature. I believe that, by attending to the issues raised by the emergence of the term Anthropocene, including the interdependencies of animate and inanimate worlds, art history can productively contribute to the shaping of a cultural response to current environmental emergency. At the same time it is clear that the Anthropocene poses a challenge to the humanistic basis of art history as a discipline, to bring attention to a wider range of agents, including nonhuman beings and entities.

Keywords: Art History, Nonhuman, Landscape, Nature


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

Department of German Studies
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Different social groups and actors attribute different meanings to the term "Anthropocene", which is why I would argue that social scientists should consider and study the historical, social and political context within which the term is interpreted and used. While geologists designate a specific geological period to be anthropogenic to make sense of data that indicates the far-reaching human influence on our planet, Fridays-for-Future activists may refer to the term to underpin the necessity for societal change. As such, the Anthropocene is related to meaning making processes, diverse value systems and norms. It can be an object of political struggle over the legitimate way to represent our world and is thus an excellent case for studying the interrelations between science, politics and society, which is my main research interest.

Keywords: Social Sciences, Value Systems, Maripoldata (Marine Biodiversity, Monitoring Practices, Conservation Policies)


Department of Political Science
Ferstelgasse 5
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-849465
E-Mail: alice.vadrot@univie.ac.at

The Anthropocene is a catchword which has the power to mobilize the intelligence of concerned people around the world. It has had the effect of raising our awareness of humankind's detrimental impact on our natural environment, and in this sense it has generated a lively and urgent debate especially among academics and artists. As a scholar of East Asian Studies, I am interested in understanding the East Asian reaction to this catchword and in deconstructing different responses to the Anthropocene in East Asia and Europe. I am interested in making people in Europe understand that East Asia, which faced the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and many natural catastrophes of enormous dimensions during the last decades, has accumulated valuable experiences in coping with the Anthropocene. We have to de-center the debate on the Anthropocene and learn from each other how to meet the challenge in order to guarantee survival for next generations to come.


Department of East Asian Studies, Chinese Studies
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2 (Campus)
1090 Vienna

Tel: +43-1-4277-42128
E-Mail: susanne.weigelin-schwiedrzik@univie.ac.at

Associated members

Researchers with affiliations other than University of Vienna


Scientific Director

Konrad Lorenz Institut für Evolutions- und Kognitionsforschung (KLI)
Martinstraße 12A
3400 Klosterneuburg

Tel: +43-1-4277-42128
E-Mail: guido.caniglia@kli.ac.at

In the debate over the Anthropocene, some have criticized the concept as an outright expression of efforts to gain complete control over nature, while others have welcomed it as a long-overdue critique of modernity’s failure to recognize its devastating environmental consequences. In that second perspective, the diagnosis of the Anthropocene becomes an incentive for change and for thinking about our common future on planet Earth. What will that future look like? Will the recognition of the Anthropocene be a harbinger of doom? Or will it herald a new age of sustainability? As an environmental historian I am interested in the past. But I am also a citizen of the earth. To me the Anthropocene challenges the old Kantian distinction between the public and the private in the academic persona.

Keywords: Climate, Environmental History, Future, Material Culture


Department of History
University of Bielefeld
33501 Bielefeld
Germany

E-Mail: franz.mauelshagen@uni-bielefeld.de

The Anthropocene concept, describing the current geological epoch characterised by a global impact of humankind on the environment, has gained actuality through the recognisable effects of climate change and species extinction, making it of crucial importance for school education. The interdisciplinary discussion of the interaction between humankind and nature opens the possibility to utilise the Anthropocene as a concept of reflection and a learning tool for transformative education. The research and development project “Learning and Teaching the Anthropocene” at the University College of Teacher Education Lower Austria employs the Anthropocene as a mental framework for transformative learning, which wants to enable active participation on shaping a sustainable future, across the curriculum.

Keywords: Transformative Learning, Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship Education


Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich
Department 5: Pädagogik
Mühlgasse 67
2500 Baden

Tel: +43-2252 88570-159
E-Mail: carmen.sippl@ph-noe.ac.at

BOKU Wien (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)

Institut für Soziale Ökologie (SEC)
Schottenfeldgasse 29
1070 Vienna

Tel: +43 1 47654-73712
E-Mail: verena.winiwarter@boku.ac.at