The word ‘utopia’ was famously coined by Thomas More in 1516. However, ideas of utopia have been common throughout literature and philosophy ever since ancient times.
Throughout history, there has been a continuing tension about the ideal utopian society: the domination of nature on one hand, and the desire for reconciliation on the other. By the middle decades of the twentieth century both versions of utopia had fallen into disrepute, displaced by ‘science’ on the political left or by ‘dystopia’ on the political right. From the 1960s, utopian politics in new social movements re-emerged. It found expression in literature and the arts, including architecture, but also in popular culture as science fiction.
The University of Tasmania hosted the first Australian conference on Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction in 2001, organised around the theme of Antipodean Utopias. Since then, the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (CLCS) has convened a series of conferences as part of its’ research strength in the areas of utopian and science fiction studies.
30 August–1 September 2010
Monash Conference Centre
Level 7, 30 Collins Street
The opening address will be given by Kate Rigby, Founding President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Australia-New Zealand, and author of Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism (2004).
Kim Stanley Robinson
Distinguished science fiction writer, winner of two Hugo Awards and author of the Orange Country Trilogy, the Mars Trilogy, Antarctica, The Years of Rice and Salt, the Science in the Capital Trilogy and Galileo’s Dream.
Science fiction writer, Director of the Department of Story Future in the Centre for the Future at Slavonice and co-author of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993) and The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997).
Emeritus Professor and Founding Director of the Ralahine Center for Utopian Studies, University of Limerick, author of Demand the Impossible (1986) and Scraps of the Untainted Sky (2000) and co-editor of Dark Horizons (2003).
Deborah Bird Rose
Professor of Social Inclusion, Macquarie University, author of Dingo Makes Us Human (2000), Reports from a Wild Country (2004) and Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction (in press).
Associate Professor in Art History at RMIT University, curator of The Idea of the Animal exhibition (2004) and theHEAT: Art and Climate Change exhibition (2008).
- Professor Roland Boer (Professor of Theology, University of Newcastle)
- Professor Ian Buchanan (Professor of Critical Theory, Cardiff University)
- Professor Verity Burgmann (Professor of Politics, University of Melbourne)
- Jacqueline Dutton (Head of French, University of Melbourne)
- Professor Andrew Milner (Professor of Cultural Studies, CLCS)