Collective Dreams: Political Imagination and Community

Author: Keally McBride

Publication Info: Penn State Press, 2005.

“How do we go about imagining different and better worlds for ourselves? Collective Dreams looks at ideals of community, frequently embraced as the basis for reform across the political spectrum, as the predominant form of political imagination in America today. Examining how these ideals circulate without having much real impact on social change provides an opportunity to explore the difficulties of practicing critical theory in a capitalist society.”
PSUP Website

Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity

Author: José Esteban Muñoz

Publication Info: New York: NYU Press, 2009.

“The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist.

Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, José Esteban Muñoz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O’Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future.

In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Muñoz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a ‘not yet here’ that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.”


The Ecological Thought

Author: Timothy Morton

Publication Info: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.

“In this passionate, lucid, and surprising book, Timothy Morton argues that all forms of life are connected in a vast, entangling mesh. This interconnectedness penetrates all dimensions of life. No being, construct, or object can exist independently from the ecological entanglement, Morton contends, nor does “Nature” exist as an entity separate from the uglier or more synthetic elements of life. Realizing this interconnectedness is what Morton calls the ecological thought.

In three concise chapters, Morton investigates the profound philosophical, political, and aesthetic implications of the fact that all life forms are interconnected. As a work of environmental philosophy and theory, The Ecological Thought explores an emerging awareness of ecological reality in an age of global warming. Using Darwin and contemporary discoveries in life sciences as root texts, Morton describes a mesh of deeply interconnected life forms—intimate, strange, and lacking fixed identity.

A “prequel” to his Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (Harvard, 2007), The Ecological Thought is an engaged and accessible work that will challenge the thinking of readers in disciplines ranging from critical theory to Romanticism to cultural geography.”



Author: Michael Hardt

Publication Info: Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2009.

“When Empire appeared in 2000, it defined the political and economic challenges of the era of globalization and, thrillingly, found in them possibilities for new and more democratic forms of social organization. Now, with Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri conclude the trilogy begun with Empire and continued in Multitude, proposing an ethics of freedom for living in our common world and articulating a possible constitution for our common wealth.

Drawing on scenarios from around the globe and elucidating the themes that unite them, Hardt and Negri focus on the logic of institutions and the models of governance adequate to our understanding of a global commonwealth. They argue for the idea of the “common” to replace the opposition of private and public and the politics predicated on that opposition. Ultimately, they articulate the theoretical bases for what they call “governing the revolution.”

Though this book functions as an extension and a completion of a sustained line of Hardt and Negri’s thought, it also stands alone and is entirely accessible to readers who are not familiar with the previous works. It is certain to appeal to, challenge, and enrich the thinking of anyone interested in questions of politics and globalization.”


Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition

Author: Robert Pogue Harrison

Publication Info: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008

“Humans have long turned to gardens—both real and imaginary—for sanctuary from the frenzy and tumult that surrounds them. Those gardens may be as far away from everyday reality as Gilgamesh’s garden of the gods or as near as our own backyard, but in their very conception and the marks they bear of human care and cultivation, gardens stand as restorative, nourishing, necessary havens.

With Gardens, Robert Pogue Harrison graces readers with a thoughtful, wide-ranging examination of the many ways gardens evoke the human condition. Moving from from the gardens of ancient philosophers to the gardens of homeless people in contemporary New York, he shows how, again and again, the garden has served as a check against the destruction and losses of history. The ancients, explains Harrison, viewed gardens as both a model and a location for the laborious self-cultivation and self-improvement that are essential to serenity and enlightenment, an association that has continued throughout the ages. The Bible and Qur’an; Plato’s Academy and Epicurus’s Garden School; Zen rock and Islamic carpet gardens; Boccaccio, Rihaku, Capek, Cao Xueqin, Italo Calvino, Ariosto, Michel Tournier, and Hannah Arendt—all come into play as this work explores the ways in which the concept and reality of the garden has informed human thinking about mortality, order, and power.”


From Terror to Utopia

Reviewer: Paul Hayman (Durham University)

Published on H-Human-Rights (November, 2009) Commissioned by Rebecca K. Root

“Have we, in the last two decades, seen the rise and fall of the “Age of Rights”? The future of human rights in a post-9/11 world is uncertain. This seismic event has altered the international landscape and has forced the rethinking of state agendas in both foreign and domestic policy. A focus on terror is, it seems, diluting the gains made in the previous decade. The global arena in which human rights compete for political standing is framed by a host of complex concerns. In Achieving Human Rights, Richard A. Falk attempts to make sense of the complex world that seems to spin around us. The Iraq War, genocide, the rule of law, and information technology, for example, are features of what the international system has become. What about human rights? How can we extract and reclaim them from this morass? Falk’s new book seeks to cut through the accumulation of misconception and misdirection surrounding human rights, and he does this with a vibrancy and clarity befitting his position in the field.”  [This is the first paragraph.  Remainder can be found here.]

Book reviewed:  Achieving Human Rights.

Publication Info: New York Routledge, 2009.

From Publisher’s Website:

“Richard Falk once again captures our attention with a nuanced analysis of what we need to do – at the personal level as well as state actions – to refocus our pursuit of human rights in a post-9/11 world. From democratic global governance, to the costs of the Iraq War, the preeminent role of the United States in the world order to the role of individual citizens of a globalized world, Falk stresses the moral urgency of achieving human rights. In elegant simplicity, this book places the priority of such an ethos in the personal decisions we make in our human interactions, not just the activities of government institutions and non-governmental organizations. Falk masterly weaves together such topics as the Iraq War, U.S. human rights practices and abuses, humanitarian intervention, the rule of law, responses to terrorism, genocide in Bosnia, the Pinochet trial, the Holocaust, and information technology to create a moral tapestry of world order with human rights at the center.”

Utopia and the Everyday. Between Art and Education.

Exhibition : 27.11.2009 – 14.02.2010

Tuesday – Sunday 11am-6pm

The Centre d’Art Contemporain

This project aims at presenting art practices that straddle both art and education, which have always been strongly tied. UTOPIA AND THE EVERYDAY proposes to invite artists and collectives whose practices include strategies borrowed from teaching methods, using the cultural institution as a space for critical thought and discussion about education, and provide a prospective environment to tackle social and political issues.

The exhibition UTOPIA AND THE EVERYDAY invites us to consider the field of contemporary art as a free space to experiment with new learning methods, to see the relationship between the teacher and the taught in a different light, or to tackle issues that learning institutions do not usually address.

UTOPIA AND THE EVERYDAY revolves around three collaborations between international artists and local players: the students at Deutsche Schule Genf (the German School of Geneva), the Haute Ecole Pédagogique de Lausanne in relationship with CIRA (Centre International de Recherches sur l’Anarchisme), and a collaboration involving people and associations from Le Lignon (Geneva). Together they will produce new works, designed for the Centre’s display spaces. The exhibition is based on democratic and creative processes that involve each participant according to a horizontality principle.

The invited artists and collectives, NILS NORMAN (UK), in collaboration with TILO STEIREIF (CH), OSCAR TUAZON and DAMON RICH (founder of CENTER FOR URBAN PEDAGOGY, USA), and trafo.K in collaboration with architect GABU HEINDL (Austria) all carry out artistic practices that are based on exchanging experience and expertise.

A documentary section also presents other pioneering projects in this field from the 1950s until today, allowing to expand the social, cultural, political, and environmental issues related to the project. UTOPIA AND THE EVERYDAY will be the subject of a catalogue, a gazette, and a series of public events. A new version of this project will also be presented at the Kunstmuseum Thun in 2010.

Centre d’Art de Genève

10, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers


Phone: + 41 22 329 18 42

Contact: Marie-Avril Berthet

Anarchism and Utopianism

Author: Laurence Davis

Editors: Laurence Davis and Ruth Kinna

Publication Info: Manchester University Press of Anarchism and Utopianism

Anarchism and Utopianism

“This collection of original essays examines the relationship between
anarchism and utopianism, exploring the intersections and overlaps between
these two fields of study and providing novel perspectives for the analysis
of both. The book opens with an historical and philosophical survey of the
subject matter and goes on to examine antecedents of the anarchist literary
utopia; anti capitalism and the anarchist utopian literary imagination; free
love as an expression of anarchist politics and utopian desire; and
revolutionary practice. Contributors explore the creative interchange of
anarchism and utopianism in both theory and modern political practice;
debunk some widely-held myths about the inherent utopianism of anarchy;
uncover the anarchistic influences active in the history of utopian thought;
and provide fresh perspectives on contemporary academic and activist debates
about ecology, alternatives to capitalism, revolutionary theory and
practice, and the politics of art, gender and sexuality. Scholars in both
anarchist and utopian studies have for many years acknowledged a
relationship between these two areas, but this is the first time that the
historical and philosophical dimensions of the relationship have been
investigated as a primary focus for research, and its political significance
given full and detailed consideration.

Anarchism and Utopianism
Preface – Peter Marshall
Introduction – Laurence Davis
Part I Historical and philosophical overview
1. Anarchism and the dialectic of utopia – John P. Clark
Part II Antecedents of the anarchist literary utopia
2. Daoism as utopian or accommodationist: radical Daoism reexamined in light
of the Guodian Manuscripts – John A. Rapp
3. Diderot’s Supplément au voyage de Bougainville: steps towards an
anarchist utopia – Peter
G. Stillman
Part III Anti-capitalism and the anarchist utopian literary imagination
4. Everyone an artist: art, labour, anarchy, and utopia – Laurence Davis
5. Anarchist powers: B. Traven, Pierre Clastres, and the question of utopia
– Nicholas Spencer
6. Utopia, anarchism and the political implications of emotions – Gisela
7. Anarchy in the archives: notes from the ruins of Sydney and Melbourne –
Brian Greenspan
Part IV Free love: anarchist politics and utopian desire
8. Speaking desire: anarchism and free love as utopian performance in fin de
siècle Britain – Judy Greenway
9. Visions of the future: reproduction, revolution and regeneration in
American anarchist utopian fiction – Brigitte Koenig
10. Intimate fellows: utopia and chaos in the early post-Stonewall gay
liberation manifestos – Dominic Ording
Part V Rethinking revolutionary practice
11. Anarchism, utopianism and the politics of emancipation – Saul Newman
12. Anarchism and the politics of utopia – Ruth Kinna
13. ‘The space now possible’: anarchist education as utopian hope – Judith
14. Utopia in contemporary anarchism – Uri Gordon