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Part-time Lecturer Dr. Etienne Turpin Publishes Research from 2012 Sanders Fellowship in New Book on the Anthropocene

Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse of Smudge Studio have released their edited volume Making the Geologic Now: Responses to the Material Conditions of Contemporary Life. You can read the book online, or order or download it through Punctum Books. Included in the volume are two essays from Taubman College part-time lecturer and University of Michigan Center for Southeast Asian Studies Research Fellow Dr. Etienne Turpin's recent research for his book TERRIBLE IS THE EARTH.

Turpin's essay from the collection, Robert Smithson's Abstract Geology: Revisiting the Premonitory Politics of the Triassic, considers Robert Smithson's anticipation of the discourse of the anthropocene.

From the essay:
"These reptilian figures, while popularly associated with the legacy of the Jurassic period, also witnessed events corresponding to the politics of the earlier Triassic age (250-210 million years ago). They saw the slow but decisive break-up of Pangaea into the two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana, evidence that any form of stable unity is a fiction undone by the viscous earth. And they observed the morphological emergence of ceratitida, the order of nearly all ammonoid cephalopod genera, whose planispiral shells suggest a coiling figuration that would later be rescaled in Robert Smithson's most well-known earthwork."

Turpin also collaborated with Italian architect Valeria Federighi (MS_DR '12) to select excerpts and edit her translation of Antonio Stoppani's Corso di Geologia (Miliano: G. Bernardoni, E G. Brigola, Editori, 1873). This text is published with photographs by Lisa Hirmer.

From the essay:
"The Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani is a remarkable but little known figure in the history of science and the theoretical humanities. Recently, following debates about the Anthropocene initiated by the Dutch chemist Paul Crutzen, some scholars have returned to Stoppani's writing for its eloquent argument regarding the appearance of human activity in the archive of deep time – the earth. Born in Lecco in 1824, the young Stoppani studied to become a priest of the order of the Rosminiani, and was ordained in 1848. In the same year, Stoppani participated in the resistance during the Cinque giornate di Milano (Siege of Milan), where he both fought on the barricades and, fantastically, invented and fabricated aerostats that were used to communicate with the periphery and the provinces, sending revolutionary messages to the countryside from inside a barricaded Milano. In this endeavor, he was helped by the typographer Vincenzo Guglielmini, who worked with Stoppani to ensure that the aerostat balloons would travel from the Seminario Maggiore di Porta Orientale over the walls erected around the city (and the Austrians trying to shoot them from the sky) to encourage Italians to revolt against the Austrian Empire."

To read more, visit: anexact.org

Dec 7, 2012


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