Giulia Rispoli

Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellows are early career scholars who are ordinarily no more than five years past the granting of the doctorate and who are financed in part or in whole by the MPIWG. These scholars carry minor responsibilities (no more than 10% of their time) within their research unit.
Department I
Dr. phil.
1. Oktober 2016 to 30. September 2018

I studied Philosophy at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” where I received my PhD in 2015, and at the Faculty of Arts of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. In 2015 and in 2016, I was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre Alexander Koyré and at the Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Over the last three years, I have been Visiting Scholar at the MPIWG (Dep. II), at the Centre for Complex Systems Analysis of The University of York (UK), and at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow. My work has been mainly focused on the history of systems theories and cybernetics and on their application to the life sciences and ecology. In my MA thesis, published in 2012, I focused on the work of Russian Marxist Alexander A. Bogdanov and examined his General Science of Organization, Tektology (1913–1928). My doctoral thesis, recently published in a co-authored book, brought into focus the development of biogeochemistry in twentieth-century Russia, and the idea of co-evolution between the biosphere and the cosmic environment.

My current research deals with the history of biosphere studies and the emergence of the earth-system conception throughout the course of the twentieth century, and within the historical context of the Cold War. I explore how systems theory and cybernetics have shaped, and have been affected by, the development of global ecology—the discipline that investigates the role of humankind as an agent in the transformation of the planet.

Selected publications: 

Ienna, G., & Rispoli, G. (2017). Boris Hessen al bivio tra scienza e ideologia. In G. Ienna (Ed.), Boris Hessen: Le radici sociali ed economiche della meccanica di Newton (pp. 5-43). Roma: Castelvecchi.


Ienna, G. (Ed.). (2017). Boris Hessen: Le radici sociali ed economiche della meccanica di Newton. Roma: Castelvecchi Editore.


Tagliagambe, S., & Rispoli, G. (2016). La divergenza nella rivoluzione: filosofia, scienza e teologia in Russia (1920-1940). Brescia: La Scuola.


Rispoli, G. (2016). Sharing in action: Bogdanov, the living experience and the systemic concept of the environment. In P. Tikka, J. Biggart, M. Soboleva, G. Rispoli, & V. Oittinen (Eds.), Culture as organization in early soviet thought. Helsinki: Aalto University.


Rispoli, G. (2015). The path of cybernetics in the Soviet Union: from rejection to celebration in the service of communism. Paradigmi, (3), 149-162.

Mar 25, 2016
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris
“Pre-Gaian Thinkers: Vladimir Vernadskij and the Foundation of Biospherics.” Gaia and Earth System Science: scientific, historical and philosophical perspectives, IHPST
Feb 6, 2016
The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (dep. II), Berlin
“Rethinking Boundaries: Soviet Cybernetics across the Biosphere, the Ecosphere and the Noosphere Dimensions.” Experiencing the Global Environment
Oct 8, 2015
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
“Systems theories and the 20th century global ecology.” Le développement de l'écologie scientifique et l'émergence des éthiques de l'environnement
Sept 3, 2015
Societat Catalana d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica, Barcelona
“To Mars and Back: The Science–Fiction Interface in Russian Interplanetary Utopia.” International Congrés Ciència i Ficció
July 26, 2013
The University of Manchester (Symposium: The Planet Earth, the Environment and the Cold War)
“From the Sun to the Earth: Biosphere as a living organism in Soviet Geo-ecology.” The 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine


Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin