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Anthropocene Campus Philadelphia (ACP)

October 22, 2017 through October 26, 2017

12:00 PM-12:00 PM

The "Anthropocene" is the geologic age in which human industrial activity provides the dominant force shaping the Earth and its environment. As an inquiry, the Anthropocene serves as a fruitful meeting ground for interdisciplinary exploration. Researchers interested in technology, science, and the environment have particularly relevant skills in this regard, taking as they do a highly contextualized and critical view of technological determinism, and with their tools for tracing out material and social trends over long stretches of time. This meeting — building on the success of the Anthropocene Campus meetings in Berlin (2014-2019) — will explore the Anthropocene in the setting of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. The meeting will be timed to precede the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (scheduled in Philadelphia, October 26-29, 2017).
Detailed schedule available to download-see sidebar. 



The ACP will last four days. It is built around four main seminars (each participant will choose 2), and includes a fieldwork day exploring Delaware Valley sites. Seminar leaders include leading researchers drawn from across the disciplines and around the globe. Participants will apply for acceptance to the campus: graduate students, humanities/social science faculty at all levels, as well as artists, scientists, engineers, government officials, and other practitioners are encouraged to apply.

Themes of exploration include:

  • Writing Global Histories in the Anthropocene: Engaging the Anthropocene as historical genre: Periodization, scales, directionality, causality and other explanatory commitments are all on the table.
  • Voice and Representation in the Anthropocene: How have ideas of equity, security and inclusion become central to scholarship and policy of the Anthropocene?
  • Slow Disaster: Characterizing disaster as imminent and unexpected is a choice--what is revealed through the politics of pace in disasters? What if we calculated disasters of decades or centuries?
  • Environing Technology: Considers the processes of environmental change and extreme environments mediated by and through technology: sensing and measuring are key.

Each theme will be explored through seminar meetings, involving guest facilitators and participants in the co-creation of a curriculum. Collaborative writing will lead towards real-time and longer-term publication efforts. A key element will also be local on-site visits, including: abandoned and re-used industrial sites, the waterways of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and others to be named. Discussion and coordination with non-profit and advocacy groups will also be facilitated.


Participants will begin writing before the ACP takes place. Collaborative writing and research will take place throughout the ACP, and a web platform will be made available for collaborative work to follow the ACP. A web-based volume (and perhaps edited print volumes and special journal issues) will follow upon the completion of the ACP. It is the hope of the ACP organizers that this event creates new channels of communication and new research collaborations. It also serves as a crucial bridge between the history of technology, environmental history, STS, and the other disciplines presently deeply engaged in the Anthropocene discussion. A roundtable discussion on the Anthropocene and the History of Technology will take place at the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) annual meeting, directly following the ACP. The hope is that ACP participants will stay on to also participate in the SHOT meeting.


SHOT Fellows:

The Society for the History of Technology has generously donated funds to encourage the participation of a diverse group of graduate students in the ACP. Participants selected as "SHOT Fellows"will be eligible for funds to offset travel and participation costs. SHOT Fellows will be asked to stay on after the ACP and participate in a special roundtable discussion in the SHOT meeting. Graduate students wishing to be considered will indicate this when submitting their applications.


Deadlines and Cost:

Applications are closed. Please contact us at or directly to Dr. Scott Knowles at the email below.

The cost for lodging — 4 nights and 5 days — is $500 for a shared room, or $950 for a single room in The Study at University City. Participants may also choose to arrange their own lodgings.

The registration fee is $150 and includes meals (opening and closing dinners, happy hours, breakfast and lunch each day). A reduced registration fee of $125 is available for graduate students and independent scholars.
Payment for registration with optional hotel is accepted from participants here.

ACP 2017 is sponsored by Drexel University's Department of History, Center for Science, Technology & Society (STS) in the College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel's Office of International Programs, and the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT).

Contact Information

Scott Knowles

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Drexel University
Multiple locations-see detailed schedule for public events and locations


  • Everyone
  • Graduate Students
  • Faculty
  • Alumni