Siân Adiseshiah in conversation with David Bell. What Hope Utopia?

11th June, Martin Hall room 1.17a/b

Utopia, we are frequently told, is dangerous. It is boring at best, totalitarian at worst, and necessarily dystopian. To call someone ‘utopian’ is to suggest that they refuse to accept reality in the name of the impossible. But what if that refusal is the only viable political strategy? Or what if reality refuses us? Could demanding the impossible in fact be a form of realism? This session will explore what hope there is for utopianism in a world that is itself increasingly dystopian. Touching on utopian literature, strategies, struggles, drama, architecture, music and more, it will draw on Siân and David’s research into utopianism in an accessible, lively and engaging manner.

Siân Adiseshiah is a Senior Lecturer in English and Drama at Loughborough University. Her research explores contemporary theatre and twenty-first century literary studies, utopianism, class studies, women’s writing and age studies. She is working on a book titled Utopian Drama: In Search of a Genre (Bloomsbury), which goes back to classical Greek comedy and includes chapters on early modern and early twentieth-century drama as well as the contemporary period.

David Bell is the Programme Co-Ordinator for LU Arts, with a background in Utopian Studies. He is the author of Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect (Routledge, 2017), which argued for the continued political relevance of utopianism; and is a member of the Out of the Woods writing collective, who explore utopian struggle within, against and beyond ecological crisis.

Refreshments will be provided.

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