The SAVA project sets out to radically transform debates on the Anthropocene by asserting the constitutive role of the environmental histories of Socialism in the formation of the new geological age
The SAVA project sets out to radically transform current debates on the Anthropocene, addressing the major lacuna in existing accounts by establishing the Socialist Anthropocene as a novel conceptual framework that asserts the constitutive role of the twentieth century environmental histories of Socialism in the formation of the new geological age. It is the first large-scale interdisciplinary research project that institutes the Socialist Anthropocene as a new field of study within the critical corpus concerned with challenging and decentring the West-centric discourses of the Anthropocene. Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Maja Fowkes and running at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies until 2027, the project was selected for a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) and is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The SAVA research is organised around five thematic streams through which the distinctiveness, epistemologies, relationalities and potentialities of the Socialist Anthropocene will be analysed, namely: the socialist praxis of extractivism, infrastructures of the socialist system, transformation of the countryside, species under socialism and cultures of the Socialist Anthropocene. The groundbreaking approach of the project is to reconstruct the histories of the Socialist Anthropocene through visual arts led interdisciplinary research, which entails analysing historical artworks and engaging with contemporary art practices that act as a catalyst to integrate the insights of multiple disciplines and as a critical agent to pose ambitious and expansive questions, challenging assumptions and engendering new cross-disciplinary paradigms to illuminate the specificities of the Socialist Anthropocene. SAVA also incorporates the insights of environmental history, the history of science and beyond-human anthropology, fields that are highly generative of critical reassessments of the Anthropocene, while drawing on global studies of historical socialisms to go beyond regionalism and formulate the Socialist Anthropocene as a globally relevant concept. The project involves twice-yearly SAVA Research Weeks at the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies with roundtable discussions and public events, annual research trips to global sites of the socialist Anthropocene, and a series of conferences, publications and the podcast Left to be Desired.
The SAVA research team, led by Dr. Maja Fowkes (UCL Institute of Advanced Studies), is made up of SAVA Creative Fellows and SAVA Research Fellows from the fields of art history, environmental history, the history of science, anthropology and the history of global socialisms.
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