Olga Carlino is the first graduate in Environmental Humanities at Ca’ Foscari and in Italy. On 20 July 2022, she defended her thesis ““Some Aspects of Religious Spirituality in Medicine: An Investigation Into the Dialogue between Biomedicine and Tibetan Medicine via Christianity and Buddhism” in front of the board of examiners.
The master’s degree programme in Environmental Humanities, which was inaugurated in 2020, is the first of its kind in Italy: it merges science and the humanities to understand and explore climate change. The course is entirely held in English and is hosted by the Department of Asian and North African Studies (DSAAM), with the contribution of professors from the Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics (DAIS), the Department of Economics (DEC), the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage (DFBC), the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies (DSLCC), Department of Humanities (DSU).
The programme contributes to the university’s commitment to the development of this interdisciplinary and absolutely topical field. In fact, Ca Foscari hosts THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities (NICHE), a laboratory for research on the relationship between culture and the environment, and in 2022 Edizioni Ca’ Foscari launched Lagoonscapes. The Venice Journal of Environmental Humanities — the first scholarly journal on Environmental Humanities in Italy.
Here are the words of the new graduate, Olga Carlino:
“During my undergraduate years I studied Chinese language and culture at Inalco in Paris. In my third year I obtained a scholarship from the Chinese government, the China Scholarship Council (CSC), which enabled me to study for one term at Shandong University in Jinan, China.
My passion for languages — I am fluent in English, Chinese, French and Spanish — and my keen interest in environmental issues, prompted me to enrol in the master’s degree programme in Environmental Humanities. This is an innovative, unique programme in Italian higher education. It offers an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of complex environmental challenges, from the perspectives of science and the humanities.
In my postgraduate studies I appreciated the stimulating environment, in which students from the most diverse backgrounds and professors from seven departments come together to exchange ideas on environmental issues, experimenting with new narratives on these topics.”
“I am happy and proud that we can celebrate the first student to receive an MA (laurea magistrale) in Environmental Humanities in Italy, only two years after the programme was first established in the midst of the pandemic,” says Shaul Bassi, full professor of English literature and head of studies of the Master's Degree in Environmental Humanities at Ca’ Foscari.
“At the same time, an unprecedented heatwave is showing very clearly that the climate emergency is happening right now. We cannot face it only in technical terms, with energy transitions and technological transformations. We also need a cultural revolution that can prepare the world’s societies to deal with new and more precarious life conditions.
Our graduates are pioneers of cultural mediation. Their efforts must help everyone to realise that the relationship between human beings and the environment is an absolute priority, and that we need to reconfigure the alliance between the sciences and the humanities.
My most sincere congratulations to 'dottoressa' Carlino, who brings honour to us all.”