SSI1 175

Utopia and the Imagination

In 1516, Thomas More wrote a fanciful story about the New World and called it Utopia. While the term he coined, u-topia, literally means no-place, his fictional text served as a powerful indictment of English society. Among other things, he argued for a radical rethinking of education, a reduction in territorial expansion, and an oddly progressive approach to gender relations and marriage. While More coined the term, the notion of utopia as a societal critique stretches back to foundational texts such as Plato's Republic and Genesis. In fact, it is hard to conceive of the progress of Western thought without the presence of utopian thinking. This course explores utopian thought, examining utopian theories of the golden age, economics, religion, architecture, gender relations, technology, etc. Students are asked to use this frame to examine and critique today's society. This is a writing-intensive course which uses the theme of utopia to teach critical thinking and scholarly writing. Affiliate department: English.