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Newtopia 2

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions of Utopian novels to put on a student reading list.  Some may have to be promoted to the required reading syllabus.  I am ashamed of course of my own ignorance of many of these, but there's nothing new in that.  ANd as Samuel Joihnson (him I've read) says,   “Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” I know where.


Apr. 6th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
Utopia scholarship
A recent issue of Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (vol 22 issue 2, 2011) has a long review of Ruth Levitas. _The Concept of Utopia_ that makes the book seem worthy of seeking out. It's part of a series that considers both fiction and real-world utopian experiments and politics, seven volumes planned by the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick.
This title (at least judging from the review) like most of the criticism I've found assumes that Utopian fiction stopped being created after the 1950s, so it's great that you're bringing the syllabus up closer to the present.

The study of utopias is a great theme for interdisciplinary Humanities courses (I've done a few myself, some team-taught), because it so painlessly combines philosophy, history, political theory, and literature. My students were always shocked when I included The United States of America on the list of Utopian experiments.
Apr. 14th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC)
Re: Utopia scholarship
Seven volumes! I'll begin with the review, thanks for the hint. I don't think Utopia stopped with the Jetsons, but dystopia certainly took the lead. The principle of a counterexample -- where everything is wonderful, even absurdly wonderful -- being able to spur thoughts on how to bring the better even a little closer, seems to have lost force.