Module Description and Learning Outcomes
From the ancient world to the present day, philosophers, novelists, and social thinkers have attempted to envision ideal states. Utopian texts often present us with provocative thought experiments, addressing fundamental questions about justice, leadership, and human flourishing. In this module, we will critically examine representations of ideal states ranging from Plato's Republic to contemporary visions about smart cities. We will focus in particular on the roles of governance, labor, and technology in the construction of utopian projects and discuss whether the utopian imagination is still relevant in the present day.
Intended learning outcomes:
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
Analyze a utopian text's underlying conceptions and motives with attention to its literary form as well as it historical and philosophical background
Compare and evaluate arguments about what constitutes an ideal state across texts from different genres and time periods.
Draw connections between historical and contemporary versions of utopianism and assess the relevance of utopian thought to our present-day world