City Tech, Fall 2016

research update

My main research topic is how people define what is a utopia and a dystopia. As with all things people created the idea of utopia and dystopia, with one being the opposite of the other. However from all the sources I have looked at there is no one set definition that everyone is happy with. That is due to the fact that as some put it “A utopia is “as you like it” not necessarily a “perfect” world just a world that is perfect in an individual’s eyes.”, therefore each person has a different take on what it is. “ Utopias and dystopia are asymmetrical concepts, akin to health and disease, whereby one persons hopeful dream is anothers dyspeptic nightmare.”, So why do so many write about a world that one or a few would ever see as a good place to be?
The answer as to why people write utopian and dystopian works also varies based on the person, however for the most part it is to critic and offer ideas. As seen in one of the sources found, “Utopias are of interest because they project ways of life that their authors take to be both radically distinct from and ethnically superior to those prevalent in their own time and place.”. People dream of better worlds, lives, times, and conditions all their lives, the pursuit of happiness. I had also found something that was unexpected, a link to mechanical technology though a paper based on the problems posed by solar technology and how it can be used to create both a utopia and a dystopia. At the time I did consider that something like solar panels could be sued to create a utopian and dystopian world, I was aware of the changes it would bring if put into general use but the idea of it completely altering the current world stage was not one of them.

Research used found via google scholar
Browning, Gary K. Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present. Ed. Abigail Halcli and Frank Webster. London: SAGE, 2000. Print.

Millwee., Kyle. Kylemillwee. N.p.: n.p., Sept.-Oct. 2014. PDF.
SHELTON, ROBERT. Utopia-and-dystopia. N.p.: Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, 2013. PDF.
Baccolini, Raffaella, and Tom Moylan, eds. Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.
Grassmann, Hans, Ting Fa Margherita Chang, Mario Taverna, and Luca Iseppi. THE SOLAR AGE: UTOPIA AND DYSTOPIA. HOW TO TRANSFORM GREEN WASTE EXTERNALITIES IN ENERGY AND BIOCHAR. University of Udine, Italy: Proceeding of the International Scientifical Conference. Volume III., 2014. PDF.
Claeys, Gregory. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.

1 Comment

  1. Jill Belli

    Alex, thanks for this project update. It definitely is easier to follow your train of thought with this more condensed version. I am eager to see your Project Progress #2 blog (due tonight), which will give me a clearer sense of your argument/claims and how/why your sources are useful for this project.

    Additional sources that I had suggested to you during our conference last week are Ruth Levitas’s ‘The Concept of Utopia’ (1990) and Lyman Tower Sargent’s “The Three Faces of Utopianism” & “The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited”: have you checked them out at all?

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