GE: Utopia

Utopia is traditionally understood as a fictive site - literally, no place. Yet this has not prevented designers and radicals from attempting to materialize their visions of an ideal community in concrete, glass, wood, and steel. This seminar surveys the history and design of utopias across three centuries, from Enlightenment cities, to mid-nineteenth-century socialist and free love colonies, to the dome cities and techno-utopias of the 1960s and 1970s. We will also explore the history of theories of utopia, reading works by Ernst Bloch, Manfredo Tafuri, Fredric Jameson, and others. Finally, we will ask whether utopian speculation continues to be an effective aesthetic and political strategy, and consider what forms a contemporary utopia might take.