Australian Research Network for Utopian Studies

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At various moments of history, idealized projections have been generated, depicting what a perfect society would look like, drafting “better” social models, evoking more or less constructed ideals. The Australian Research Network for Utopian Studies gathers scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds in order to examine the social processes through which cultural productions depicting alternative models of society, emancipatory projects or political ideals are generated, and their relation to transformative social change throughout history. The Network explores a wide range of questions such as:

  • How are innovative ideals produced, designed, and communicated in various contexts?
  • How do utopian ideals and the narratives that shape, and are shaped by, them impact everyday discourses, especially at moments of political, economic, environmental or health crisis?
  • What forms are used to shape them– i.e. novels, poems, travel narratives, political treatises, films, etc. – and what is the relation between their content and their form?
  • Through what social processes are ideals converted into practices and the converse? Or, what are the practical relations between idealization and social change and how well can these be understood through existing theoretical frameworks?

Launched by researchers of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, the Network draws together scholars from Australia and New Zealand working disparately on these questions with a monthly online seminar whose second edition will take place throughout 2021. It aims to draw upon the wide academic interest in the notion of utopia and to constitute a meeting point between prominent authors and emerging researchers in this field.

Organisation team: Baptiste Brossard (ANU School of Sociology); Alexander Cook (ANU School of History); Kate Mitchell (ANU School of School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics).

If you are interested in this initiative, please send an email to Baptiste Brossard, Explain briefly how your work fits with the topic, and whether you wish to: a) join the network to stay informed about our activities and/or b) participate in the seminar and/or c) present your research in the seminar in the next six months.

If you wish to present your work in 2021, please send your proposal by April 25, 2021.

Updated:  9 April 2021/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications