Collins Living-Learning Center | Utopia Then and Now
L210 | 7650 | Richard Sears
This class will explore the utopian imagination from the ancient lost island of
Atlantis to the computer games of today. Think of utopia as a fiction, in
whatever medium, that mainly focuses not on characters, but rather on a
place—an alternative social world. We will sample the tradition of such
fictions, from Plato and Thomas More (who gave us the word “utopia”) to the
modern American examples of Bellamy and LeGuin. We will explore
Indiana’s rich history of utopia through original historical records; with a trip to
New Harmony we will experience how people keep the tradition alive.
Sessions will emphasize sharing of ideas, questions, connections, and
responses to the utopian tradition. I am especially interested in what use
students can make of utopian imagination in their own world. Assignments
include e-chat, three short essays, two group projects, and creating your own
utopia in the medium of your choice.