Hope you can join us for the next "The Uses of Literature" seminar, where three speakers from across the disciplines will reflect upon the forms and functions of utopian thinking in a time of public sector cuts and economic austerity.
"'These fanciful useless dreams'? A Panel Discussion on the Forms, Uses and Values of Utopia"
6pm, Tuesday 31st May 2011
Department of Engish Studies, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Hallgarth Street, Durham
Lisa Garforth (School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University)
David Bell (School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham)
Adam Stock (Department of English Studies, Durham University)
Utopian studies is an interdisciplinary field of enquiry that examines utopian and dystopian strands of thought and practice across the arts, humanities and social sciences. At a time of cutbacks and austerity, how can the study of that most intangible of things – social dreaming – be justified? This panel will discuss critical and structural aspects of social dreaming, with particular attention to the privileged role of literary utopias within utopian studies. Between them, the three panellists will analyse some of the structural tools with which literary utopias are conceived and constructed, investigate the spatial formation of utopian spaces, and examine how utopian literature can take us beyond the analyses of social and political theory. Literary utopias offer a timely exemplar by which the arts, humanities and social sciences can be at once critically engaged with the crises of the present, and conceive as a critical enquiry radically different alternatives to our present.