Have Your Utopia—And Eat it Too

Has anyone seen the Attunefoods brand of cereal called “Erewhon”? It’s in pretty much every grocery store in Northeast Ohio. According to their website:

“Since 1966, Erewhon has led the organic revolution and we remain passionately committed to providing the purest organic foods. We continue promoting the philosophy that ‘if what you eat is good, and pure, and true to its source, all else will follow.’ It’s the cereal you can feel good about eating whether you’re enjoying our Organic Whole Wheat Raisin Bran, Organic Rice cereals, Organic Corn cereals or Organic Buckwheat cereal. Our Erewhon organic cereals are made of non-GMO ingredients and feature nine certified gluten-free flavors.”

This blurb, of course, makes no mention of its namesake, Erewhon: or, Over the Range, by Samuel Butler, nor of its relation to utopia, but I do wonder if we can assume that the company’s commitment to “providing the purest organic foods” is a manifestation of the utopian imagination.

What do you think?

Check out the cereal here: http://www.attunefoods.com/products/Erewhon-Gluten-Free

Been a While

I, your humble editor, have been embroiled in the travesty that is the new way of administrating higher education, so I am working as an adjunct and trying to make ends meet; thus I have allowed Utopus Discovered to fall by the proverbial wayside. My apologies. The future of UD, whether in my hands or another, should improve presently. Expect to see repostings of important society information such as calls for papers, news about members, and my personal favorite, Miscellaneotopia. With any luck I will see you all in person in Pittsburgh, but, alas, not in Montréal.

Cheers for now.

Utopia Catalog

Ken Roemer writes:

The antique book collecting company Erasmushaus (hdb@erasmushaus)—Bäumleingasse 18, Postgach, CH-4001, Basel—has published a beautiful little catalogue (#927) entitled Utopia. The annotations are in English and the catalogue is loaded with illustrations.

Thanks Ken!

Dreams of Biology

I was sent a copy of Dario Altobelli’s I Sogni Della Biologia: Utopia e Ideologia delle Scienze della Vita del Novecento, which I cannot read because I do not read Italian, but the title translates (roughly) to Dreams of Biology: Utopia and the Ideology of Life Science in the 20th Century. Those of you who do read Italian may want to check it out.

Political Uses of Utopia Workshop, April 18-19, 2013

Founder’s College at York University in Toronto presents the Political Uses of Utopia Workshop, April 18-19, 2013.

The workshop features scholars representing different traditions and perspectives within political theory. The goal is to explore in a focused manner what the idea of utopia and different forms of utopianism can contribute to political thought across different traditions, including liberalism, radical democracy, anarchism, Marxism, Critical Theory, environmentalism, and feminism. Six leading international scholars have been invited, together with six emerging scholars, to lead a discussion with students and faculty from local universities as well as a more general public on the different possibilities for thinking utopia politically.

On each of the workshop’s two days, three sessions will be held during the day at Founder’s College at York University in Toronto. The first two will be introduced by papers by leading scholars in different subfields of political theory, to be followed by questions from the audience. The third, afternoon session will be launched by a panel in which the presenters will be joined by three emerging scholars; together, they will seek to engage the audience in a more general discussion of the themes that have arisen so far.

In order to facilitate involvement, texts will be circulated texts in advance—those the speakers will present and/or others chosen by them to serve as a basis for discussion—both by email among the participants and more broadly by means of a website constructed for this purpose. Each day will then culminate in a public lecture by a senior political theorist whose work on utopia has not yet attained the attention it deserves within English-language political theory.

For more information please email Nika Jabbarova (event coordinator) at nikaj@yorku.ca

 

Utopia Could Be the Answer

 

From Ken Roemer: “Via snail mail Mickey Abrash, one of the two founders (along with Art Lewis) of SUS, sent me this photo he found in his file. The photo was taken in the “Speaker’s Corner” in London. MIckey said it was sent to him in 1984. He doesn’t know who the sign holder was. Maybe someone in cyberland can identify him.”

It would be interesting indeed to see if anyone out there knows who this is. Either way, it is an interesting photo. Enjoy.

—ed.

New Harmony Then and Now

About a week ago, I received a book in the mail from Indiana University Press called New Harmony Then and Now, that the press describes as follows: “New Harmony Then and Now is a photographic and historic celebration of two of America’s great Utopian communities located in New Harmony, Indiana. The Harmonists, started by George Rapp, labored to provide physical, intellectual, and spiritual wealth for its members. Ten years later, the Owenites, founded by Robert Owen and his partner William Maclure, settled there, intent on improving humanity through innovations in social theory, educational systems, and discoveries in natural science. Though Owen’s communal experiment would not endure, a new social frontier prospered. Today, New Harmony remains a haven of promise, a village that honors its progressive heart. Intellectuals as well as artisans are drawn to this place of science and spirit.”

This is a beautiful book with beautiful pictures, and I recommend you check it out. —AH

The Open Utopia

“. . . though no one owns anything, everyone is rich.” —Thomas More

You may have seen the fliers for The Open Utopia on the tables at the Welcome Reception at this year’s SUS annual meeting, but if you haven’t yet visited the site, here’s what it’s all about: Stephen Duncombe has created an open version of Thomas More’s Utopia, “open to read, open to copying, open to modification.” The latter refers specifically to “an annotatable and ‘social’ text available for visitors to comment upon what More – or [Duncombe] – have written, and then share their comments with others.” There are even audio versions of Utopia, “user-generated galleries of Utopia-themed art and videos,” and “[f]or people interested in creating their own plan of an alternative society, . . . a wiki with which to collaborate with others in drafting a new Utopia.” Additionally, “all the letters and commendations, as well as the marginal notes, that were included in the first four printings of [Utopia in] 1516-1518 in which More himself had a hand” are included.

Duncombe has clearly put a lot of work into this project, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Do so at http://theopenutopia.org/home/.