INSTRUCTOR: Ruben Garrote
In this course we explore the utopian imagination by tracing its development from its ancient precursors to its modern manifestations. Through the readings and discussions, we address the shifts in utopian thought as it was affected by contemporary sociopolitical realities and the relationships between the utopian imagination and these realities—perennial yearning for better days past transformed into hopes of a perfect society to come; self-conscious warnings of authors faced with the real results of the planned society; dystopian fantasies looking ahead to the new frontiers of technology and the uncertain future of humanity. We look, too, at the attempts at bringing remedying this reality socially and politically, and whether we have seen an end to utopianism in the current post-modern period. Ultimately, we attempt to understand the importance of the utopian imagination in terms of its place in the “great conversation” about what it means to be a human being.