People

Giulia Rispoli

Research Scholar (Jan 2020-Jan 2026)

Rispoli studied history and philosophy of science at the University of Rome, where she received her PhD in 2015, and at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Her research interests include the history and epistemology of systems thinking—in particular Alexander Bogdanov’s tektology as an alternative to the general systems theory and cybernetics—and their declination and convergence with biosphere theories. She also works on the history of social studies of science, especially in the Russian and Soviet contexts, as well as environmental diplomacy during the Cold War.

She was a visiting scholar at the Moscow State University and at the York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Complex Systems Analysis at the University of York. Additionally, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle and at the Centre Alexander Koyré in Paris. She has taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, at the Cohn Institute of Tel Aviv University, and at the Osteuropa-Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin.

As part of the research group “Knowledge in and of the Anthropocene” at the MPIWG, Rispoli investigates the conceptual history and genealogy of the Anthropocene notion. She studies key moments in the interaction of large-scale perspectives in which systems theory intersects with global ecology, resulting in the emergence of Earth system theories.

Rispoli organizes and curates, along with Christoph Rosol, the project Anthropogenic Markers, which emerges from a collaboration between the MPIWG, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), and the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG)—a body of the Subcommission of Quaternary Stratigraphy that studies the Anthropocene as a formal geological time unit. Addressing the diverse systemic historical trends and processes that are manifested in the global distribution of sedimentary and geochemical markers used by the AWG to define the Anthropocene's “golden spike, Anthropogenic Markers brings together earth scientists, humanists, and contemporary artists to discuss materials and evidence of a twentieth-century transition into the Anthropocene. Proceeding through workshops and discussions, the project's main outcome is the publication of six dossiers that reflect the state of the art in the AWG's formal assessment of the Anthropocene and related contributions from the broader fields of the humanities and the arts.

Rispoli is also working on a project exploring the ideas of human geometabolism in the twentieth century, in particular “the geosphere-biosphere” and the “Earth system,” and how they have reflected changes in scientific concepts and methodologies that can, in turn, explain different policy strategies in different phases of the post-war debate and the Cold War. A book that presents the results of this project is currently in preparation.

Projects

Anthropogenic Markers: Historical and Material Contexts of a Twentieth-Century Transition in Earthly Matters

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Epistemic Configurations: The Formation of Anthropocene Knowledge

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Geoanthropology

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IV. Anthropocene Formations

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Material Practices: The Anthropocene Earth in Formation

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Tracing the Earth System Before Earth-system Science

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No projects were found for this scholar.

Selected Publications

Ienna, Gerardo and Giulia Rispoli (2021). “The 1931 London Congress: The Rise of British Marxism and the Interdependencies of Society, Nature and Technology.” HoST — Journal of History of Science and Technology 15 (1): 107–130. https://doi.org/10…

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Turchetti, Simone, Matthew Adamson, Giulia Rispoli, Doubravka Olšáková, and Sam Robinson (2020). “Just Needham to Nixon? On Writing the History of ‘Science Diplomacy.’” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 50 (4): 323–339. https://doi.org/10…

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Rispoli, Giulia and Doubravka Olšáková (2020). “Science and Diplomacy around the Earth: From the Man and Biosphere Programme to the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 50 (4): 456–481. https://doi…

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Rispoli, Giulia (2020). “Review of: Breyfogle, Nicholas B. (Ed.): Eurasian Environments: Nature and Ecology in Imperial Russian and Soviet History. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 2018.” The British journal for the history of science 53 …

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Upcoming Events

Workshop

Anthropogenic Markers Workshop

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Past Events

Early Career Seminar

Online Public Discourse on Artificial Intelligence and Ethics in China: Context, Content, and Implications

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Cold War Seminar Series

CANCELED: Nuclear Diplomacy: How Knowledge Becomes Worthy of Global Circulation

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Cold War Seminar Series

POSTPONED: Socialism and Scientific Internationalism in Sino-British Scientific Networks from World War to Cold War

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Cold War Seminar Series

POSTPONED: From Soil Erosion to Global Warming: The Postwar Internationalist Origins of Global-scale Environmental Crisis

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Cold War Seminar Series

POSTPONED: Rethinking Collaboration: Medical Research and Working Relationships at the Iranian Pasteur Institute

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Cold War Seminar Series

The Common Problems of Modern Societies: IIASA as a Case for Détente Science

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Cold War Seminar Series

Margaret Thatcher, the Cold War, and International Science in the 1980s

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Cold War Seminar Series

Changing Channel: What is Science Diplomacy and How Could It Help Us to Better Understand Cold War Science?

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Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

“Pre-Gaian Thinkers: Vladimir Vernadskij and the Foundation of Biospherics.” Gaia and Earth System Science: scientific, historical and philosophical perspectives, IHPST

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris

“Rethinking Boundaries: Soviet Cybernetics across the Biosphere, the Ecosphere and the Noosphere Dimensions.” Experiencing the Global Environment

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (dep. II), Berlin

“Systems theories and the 20th century global ecology.” Le développement de l'écologie scientifique et l'émergence des éthiques de l'environnement

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris

“To Mars and Back: The Science–Fiction Interface in Russian Interplanetary Utopia.” International Congrés Ciència i Ficció

Societat Catalana d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica, Barcelona

“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

The University of Manchester (Symposium: The Planet Earth, the Environment and the Cold War)

News & Press

Applications open for Anthropocene Campus Lisboa: Parallax, deadline October 15, 2019

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Postdoctoral Fellow Giulia Rispoli for the ISRF on the tektological organization of the Earth system

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Postdoctoral Fellow Giulia Rispoli in El País article on Soviet climatologist Vladimir Alexandrov

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