Pietro Daniel Omodeo, professor at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice and long-term Department I scholar, has been appointed leader of a new Max Planck Partner Group "The Water City. The Political Epistemology of Hydrogeological Praxis." Funded by the Max Planck Society, the group will begin in 2021 and run for five years in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG). More than 70 partner groups exist worldwide, serving towards the promotion of researchers through international cooperation.
The partner group will analyze the geo-environmental history of Venice, Italy, to explore the interplay between culture and nature. Venetian water civilization has long had to negotiate its existence within the shifting boundaries of the sea and land, and it offers a unique opportunity to study the past. "The wealth of scientific sources and historical documents in the archives and libraries in Venice will ensure that the multi-dimensionality of the geo-anthropological prism can be properly approached, bringing together the social, political, economic, environmental, natural, and geological," Omodeo states.
The group's research also will provide a solid historical basis for interdisciplinary collaborations between historians of science and technology, historical epistemologists, geologists, environmental scholars, archaeologists, and historians of art and architecture. As a concrete study of a local setting from a global perspective, the group's research will complement Department I's existing work on the Anthropocene and contribute to current debates on sustainability and climate change.