Utopia in Dystopian Times

I taught Utopia last week in a mask, sitting opposite this year’s adventurous cohort of graduate students. It is truly strange to attempt any unpacking of a text like More’s opus in the middle of a raging global pandemic, and doubly strange for me, since I had just re-visited sections of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism. We head to the English Revolution this week, to give it Christopher Hill’s framing, and examine The Law of Freedom in a Platform and the Digger movement, and we do so online, which provides its own challenges for freewheeling graduate discussions.

Another update on the course website: I can’t afford the luxury of the forum code (which wasn’t really used anyways), and so have moved to the much less expensive personal plan from WordPress. I think the core purpose of the ‘companion course’ is still fulfillable without it, but any potential interaction between this year’s class and folks reading along with us might need to happen on some other platform. I’m certainly approachable over on Twitter if readers wish.

This pandemic moment, and the larger (and largely atrocious) political context in which it began, has made it very difficult to write, not just about utopian thought, but generally. Even small blog entries feel like blood from a stone, and I wish everyone struggling through that process well right now. It’s really tough when life proves more dystopian than fiction.