Germanic Languages | Utopia
G573 | 2813 | Professor Fritz Breithaupt


Utopias need a beginning. The beginning of a utopia is at the same
time the end of the current state of affairs. Thus, thinking, writing,
living utopia means to draw a line and to set a–vacant, utopian–space
apart. Unlike earlier authors, the authors since the 18th century were
not satisfied with mere visions of happy civilizations on distant
planets or in the mere imagination. They wanted to see the beginning
of the utopia---this absolute not-here and not-now---here and now; a
no-where that is now here.

The 18th century focused on two kinds of utopian beginnings: the
landing on a distant island and childhood. Both promise a humanity
uncompromised by the specific shortcomings of the current society and
in fact any particular society. Both also share the optimism in man's
ability to be, have, and bring about an ideal form of living, meaning:
the form of living itself. In the Robinson stories, some people land
on a remote island with little possessions and are nevertheless the
seed for a new civilization. Robinson and the child need little or no
help from the outside. And the new pedagogy, starting with texts such
as Rousseau's Emile, holds that the child already has what it needs so
that the task of pedagogy is to not interfere and to be a
non-pedagogy. Nevertheless, in both cases of the island and the child,
there seems to come a point when a law is needed to protect the
utopia, the line to secure the space apart.

This course will focus on the opening-up and protecting of utopian
spaces. We will look both at literary presentations of utopias and at
‘real' utopian societies or lived utopias in and after the 18th
century. As we will see, common concerns and sources of problems for
these utopian visions emerge from selfhood (ego), money, and
sexuality. It seems that at least one of these needs to be strictly
regulated so that at least one of the others can be set free–set
apart. This will lead us to ask about the status of the law, the
regulation, at work within these fictional or real accounts of utopia.
Does utopia rest on a law? We will read texts by T. More, Schnabel,
Mercier, Rousseau, Klopstock, Wieland, Campe, C. P. Moritz, Thoureau,
etc. At the end of the semester, we will look at some short narrative
sequences depicting "the primal horde" in texts by Marx, Nietzsche,
Freud, and others to ask how these authors deal with utopian or
non-utopian visions. Readings are in English and German.

Students should write a total of 20 pages split up in as many papers
as desired. Papers on any utopian project are welcome.


Required Books:

Three Early Modern Utopias: Thomas More: Utopia/Francis Bacon: New
Atlantis/Henry Neville: The Isle of Pines. Susan Bruce (Editor),
Oxford U Press ISBN: 0192838857

Schnabel, 	Insel Felsenburg 		Reclam 		ISBN:	
3-15-008421

Rousseau, Emile: Or, on Education.  P.D. Jimack (Editor),  	ISBN:
0460873806 Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Co.,Inc.

Campe, Joachim H,   Robinson der Jüngere,Reclam ISBN: 3_15_007665

+ plus class reader

optional additional reading:

Hauptmann,	Die Insel der großen Mutter,	Ullstein, 		
ISBN: 3_548_37135_3