Publication Details

Turpin, E. & Federighi, V. (2012). A new element, a new force, a new input: Antonio Stoppani's Anthropozoic. In E. Ellsworth & J. Kruse (Eds.), Making the Geologic Now (pp. 34-41). Brooklyn, United States: Punctum Books.


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.