Utopias – Why We Need Them Now More Than Ever
Are we satisfied with the world as it stands? Is it the best we humans, can achieve? Science and
technology have leaped ahead since the 1940s and 50s, but our political and economic theories date
from those decades, or from much earlier. Isnt it time for a radical rethink?
Utopias have a bad name. The failure of the socialist experiments in the 19th and 20th centuries have
discredited the concept of sweeping social change. This course will contrast our reluctance to imagine
new social structures, with the boldness of great utopian texts, from Thomas More, to the visionaries
who imagined, and sometimes established settlements based on their ideals. What can we
learn from the failures of these endeavours? We will examine new projects that are being floated today:
libertarian seasteading, cosmopolitanism, anarchist communes, deep ecology movements, and new
socialism, and then, wiser with that knowledge, we will discuss our personal ideas for a gentler world.
The word utopia is a pun, dwelling equally on a good place that is also a no place well, maybe
not a place now, but why not in the future?
Who is this course for
The course is open to all. No prior knowledge of the subject is required - only an open, querying and imaginative mind
What does this course cover
This course in political philosophy covers the important texts in Western literature conceiving a radically different society, either as a fictional model, or a blueprint for actual revolutionary policies, including some of the most recent projects.
What will it be like
The course will comment on short excepts of the most important texts in the programme (never more than 2 or 3 pages), visuals, tutor's presentations, and lively class discussions. The texts are sent in advance with the slides used in class, plus comments, will be emailed each week to students.
What else do you need to buy or do
Please bring a pen and some paper/notepad. Reading is sent by email to students in advance, so you will need to have an email address.
What this course could lead to
The course should lead to taking seriously the ideas bubbling under the surface, ignored by the main medias, to start or join discussion groups rethinking our society, and generally be a more active, questioning and creative member of society.
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why come to Mary Ward Centre?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’