Hall Center For The Humanities


multiple presenters

"Utopian Visions & National Identity"Co-sponsored by the Early Modern and British Seminars

Tue., Nov. 12, 2002, 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Johnson Room, Spencer Research Library
Oscar Wilde said: ?A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of utopias.?
This workshop will use Wilde?s insight to explore the relationship between utopian literature and national and personal identities.

The tradition within utopian studies has been to treat utopias as if they were similar, whatever their national origin. This workshop will begin from the rather obvious premise that nations differ. Utopianism (defined broadly to include literature, intentional communities or communes, and utopian social theory) is both an aspect of the creation of national identity and reflects national identity.

The plenary talk will argue that in our world of ?identity politics? and the ever-increasing creation of ?imagined communities,? utopian literature is central to the understanding of such identities because it is often an aspect of their creation. The content of these identities changes over time, and utopian literature is regularly both an agent of that change and reflects the changes.

The plenary talk will be given by Lyman Tower Sargent, Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Professor Sargent has been the editor of Utopian Studies since 1990; he is co-editor (with Gregory Claeys) of The Utopia Reader (1999); and from 1997-2000 he advised the Biblotheque Nationale de France and the New York Public Library on their joint exhibit ?Utopia: The Quest for the Ideal Society in the West,? which was shown in Paris from April to July 2000 and in New York from October 2000 to January 2001. He is co-editor (with Roland Schaer and Gregory Claeys) of the catalog published to accompany the exhibits, Utopia: The Quest for the Ideal Society in the Western World (2000). He has won the Distinguished Scholar Awards of both the Society for Utopian Studies and the Communal Studies Association, to be awarded in September 2002

Tues., November 12, 2002
1:00-6:00 p.m.
Johnson Room-Spencer Research Library

1:00 - 2:15 Europe
Plenary talk: Lyman Sargent, University of Missouri, St. Louis
"Utopian Literature & the Creation of National & Personal Identities"

2:30 - 3:30
Bruce Hayes, French & Italian
"Rabelais and the Language of Utopia"

Patricia Manning, Spanish & Portuguese
"Dreams and Distopia in Golden Age Spain"


3:45 - 5:00 The Americas
Amanda Berry, Rhode Island School of Design
"Pantisocracy, Sexuality, and Romantic Nation"

The Imaginary
John Hoopes, Anthropology
"Paradises Lost: Atlantis and Utopian Visions of the Human Past"

5:00 - 6:00Reception
Co-sponsored by Hall Center and Spencer Research Library

Pre-registration is required. E-mail hallcenter@ku.edu or call 785.864.4798 by November 6, 2002.
Papers for each session will be available prior to the event.

*Schedule is subject to change without notice.
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