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02: Utopias and alternative (visions of) worlds

Seminar / Seminar
english language

How does vicariously experiencing radically better (or worse) imaginary worlds change our perceptions of the past, present, and future? The seminar will address this question with a highly selective introduction to utopian expression. We begin with the grandfather of the genre, Thomas More s Utopia, and its Classical, Arcadian, and religious roots. Next we examine 18th-century unambiguous and satirical spatial and time travel utopias (Defoe, Mercier, Schnabel, Swift) and the paradigmatic 19th-century utopia, Edward Bellamy s Looking Backward, in the contexts of William Morris s response, the utopian satire of Samuel Butler’s satiric Erehwon, and Black Elk / Neihardt s reconstruction of a Lakota vision. The variety of 20th- and 21st-century utopian and dystopian expression will be suggested in examinations of classic and recent dystopias (Zamiatin, Huxley, Orwell, and Cormac McCarthy), psychological eupsychias (B.F. Skinner and Abraham Maslow), ecotopias (Callenbach and the White Hawk, Texas community vs. Disney World), and feminist utopias (Gilman, Piercy, and Le Guin).


Professor, Department of English, University of Texas at Arlington Chair
Professor für Literaturwissenschaft und Neuere deutsche Literatur, Institut für Deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Universität zu Köln Chair

Ph.D. Kenneth M. ROEMER

Professor, Department of English, University of Texas at Arlington

1969-1970 Assistant Editor, American Quarterly & Teaching Assistant, American, Civ., University of Pennsylvania
1971-1974 Assistant Professor
1974-1982 Associate Professor
1975-1977 Assistant Dean, Graduate School, University of Texas at Arlington
1982-1983 Visiting Professor, Shimane University, Japan
since 1988 Visiting Professor, International Christian University, Japan & Senior Scientiest Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
since 1982 Professor of English, University of Texas at Arlington
since 1998 Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas at Arlington

Dr. Wilhelm VOSSKAMP

Professor für Literaturwissenschaft und Neuere deutsche Literatur, Institut für Deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Universität zu Köln

 Studium der Germanistik, Philosophie, Geschichte
1965 Promotion in Kiel
1972 Habilitation in Köln
1972-1987 o. Prof. für Literaturwissenschaft, Bielefeld
1978-1982 Direktor am Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung
seit 1987 o. Prof. für Neuere deutsche Literatur, Köln
 Gastprofessuren in den USA, Israel, Frankreich, Brasilien, Australien, Schweiz
1999-2004 Direktor am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Forschungskolleg, Köln

Seminar Week

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17:00 - 17:30Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2008Plenary
17:30 - 19:00Opening speechesPlenary
19:00 - 20:30Presentation of the seminarsPlenary
20:30 - 23:00Opening receptionSocial


Seminar 01: Climate change and what we need to do about itSeminar
Seminar 02: Utopias and alternative (visions of) worldsSeminar
Seminar 03: Wirtschaftsforschung und WirtschaftspolitikSeminar
Seminar 04: Geschichtliche Situationsdeutungen und historische EntscheidungenSeminar
Seminar 05: A European people? Perception and formation of European citizensSeminar
Seminar 06: Ethics and biomedicine: Analysis of decisions and value judgementsSeminar
Seminar 07: Security policy becoming a European issueSeminar


Seminar 08: Who is in control? How the brain controls our thoughts and actionsSeminar
Seminar 09: PredictabilitySeminar
Seminar 10: Public opinion, opinion research and political decision-makingSeminar
Seminar 11: Transatlantic relationsSeminar
Seminar 12: Understanding fundamentalism: An interdisciplinary analysis of "Strong Religion"Seminar
Seminar 13: "Global Constitutional Network" - Limits and Possibilities of (Inter-)national JurisdictionsSeminar
Seminar 14: Art and perceptionSeminar


20:30 - 21:30Special Lecture: Europe - Strategic decisions for the continentPlenary


17:30 - 19:00Plenary session: Climate change and PredictabilityPlenary


19:00 - 20:30Plenary session: 40 years after the Prague SpringPlenary


17:30 - 19:00Plenary session: What has remained of 1968?Plenary