Anthropocene Curriculum

since 2013

Demanding structurally novel commitments, the Anthropocene predicament offers the opportunity to make previously uncharted, transdisciplinary connections visible and to experiment with new forms of higher education. A deep integration of cross-disciplinary thinking, mutual learning, new modes of research, and civic commitment seem key for the future of universities, academies, research platforms, and cultural institutions as situated spaces of knowledge production and its dissemination.

In collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and renowned international partners, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt has developed an Anthropocene Curriculum that explores, in an experimental and exemplary manner, pathways towards a new interdisciplinary culture of knowledge and education. What should a body of “earthbound knowledge” contain, what forms of transmission are appropriate?

The curriculum was first tested in the form of an exemplary model course, the Anthropocene Campus, at HKW in November 2014. Its discussions and exercises showed that the concept of the technosphere may as a key agent determine the dynamics of the Anthropocene.

In April 2016, the second Campus, The Technosphere Issue, was dedicated to this concept. Here, the technosphere was seen as scheme of frictions between human, technological, life-world, cultural and industrial spheres with which the possibilities and limits of the geosphere and biosphere can be described in order to grasp and responsibly shape twenty-first century global challenges

After seven years collaborating on experimental forms of knowledge and teaching in the Anthropocene, the international network of the Anthropocene Curriculum and the initiatives it generated will meet once again in 2020 for an Anthropocene Campus at HKW. The objective is to jointly examine the mosaic of local topographies of the Anthropocene and to exploit the potentials of the Anthropocene concept for new, earth-bound forms of knowledge and action. One of the key elements of this is the field research project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River (2018-2019).

The Anthropocene Curriculum is developed by Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Past projects

Campus 2014 & 2016

How does the Anthropocene change academic approaches to the world? For two issues of the Anthropocene Campus, international teachers and researchers from the natural sciences, humanities, art, and architecture developed model teaching programs of “earth-bound knowledge.” Each tested them in experimental teaching formats together with 100 selected young academics and cultural professionals.