The word utopia was coined by Thomas More — as the name of the island described in his Libellus vere aureus nec minus salutaris quam festivus de optimo reip[ublicae] statu, deq[ue] noua Insula Vtopia While More wrote in Latin, he based his new word on Greek. More combined topos place or where with u or ou no or not to create nowhere, but in "Six Lines on the Island of Utopia," part of the larger work, he suggests that the word eutopia, or good place, is a better descriptor. The word utopia entered Western languages quickly—the book was translated into German inItalian inFrench inEnglish inand Dutch inand the word itself often entered these languages before the book was translated.
The Quest for Postcolonial Utopia: Until recently, utopian literature has been considered and commented upon in a largely Western European-North American context. As well, Nan Bowman Albinski has written on Australian utopias and dystopias; Lucy Sargisson has recently completed an extensive period of research on New Zealand intentional communities; and some of us are beginning to look at Irish culture through a utopian lens.
And, with his usual thoroughness, Lyman Tower Sargent has in the past few years added bibliographies of Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand utopias to his already important bibliography of British and American utopian literature; he is now turning his attention to Ireland.
While Pordzik makes claims about the fate of Utopia in the larger scope of postcolonial literature, he especially considers "utopian fiction written in English-speaking countries all over the world" 1 and brings our attention to the degree to which writers in countries such as Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, and South Africa have taken up this decidedly Western form and worked with, and more so against and beyond, it in the various contexts of their own historical time and space.
A Life in 4 Books from Scotland. Interestingly, he does not address works from the anglophone Caribbean. Pordzik, however, has begun the task; and it is important to look closely at his analysis and argument.
The Cross-Cultural Imaginationhe employs the method of what he calls "cross-cultural comparison" and identifies a common "cross-cultural" strategy in the texts he examines.
Within this framework, he chooses to work at the intersection not only of utopian and postcolonial literatures but also of postmodernism. This critical triangulation consequently leads him to privilege one tendency in utopian writing in these "new" contexts, and it also produces certain silences and gaps.
To begin his analysis, Pordzik makes the familiar assertion that the Anglo-American literary utopia has reached a point of "exhaustion," wherein its "attempts to create a radically different society based on humanist or Marxist ideals" have resulted in nothing more than "totalitarian rule—put into effect in the name of justice and equality" 4.
Thus, rather than seeing the new work as yet another turn in the long road of utopian textuality, he posits a qualitative break wherein an "international culture" of postcolonial writers has written against the utopian tradition and produced a heterotopian variant that embraces a new level of literary hybridity.
Pordzik argues that the formal conventions of postmodernity and the utopian imagination have both been transgressed and expanded by this postmodern, postcolonial, utopian kind of writing. The result is a body of work that he names as "utopographic metafiction," as it offers a "fictional strategy to disrupt the hierarchized relation between reality and fiction which dominates traditional utopian writing with its ideological bias towards social realism and the systemic closure it ministers to" In these works, he finds that the utopian imagination "is much more indebted to the inexhaustible creative and spiritual powers than to any static political ideal or principle premised on a rationally conceived universe and its faith in the resourcefulness of reason, technology, and social progress" On this "new imaginative terrain," he argues, the system of colonialism as well as those later systems based in concepts and practices of socialism or nationalism are exposed as coercive and rejected in favor of a "cross-cultural dialogue" that privileges a radical "otherness in a new and varied evolution of community" quoting Harris Carrying his understanding of the interior and aesthetic valence of these texts further, Pordzik argues that this "revisionist momentum" tends toward a form of "subjective utopia" or "intopia" which, as he develops his survey of texts, appears to oscillate between the extremes of an anti-utopianism that rejects systemic, collective social dreaming and a utopianism of alterity that favors continual openness and flux rather than "embarrassingly transformative scenarios", While that fiction-making continues to foreground the development of democratic, egalitarian communities based in cultural and racial pluralism, it more fundamentally delivers an aesthetic articulation that challenges even these provisional "eutopian" achievements those within its pages and those in the material world.
Thus, a "postmodern contract" produces a "common concern" in a pan-national set of texts that celebrates "the self-authenticating powers of the literary text" as it ranks imagination over reason and initiates a "broader transculturation process within which the different writers can position their own particular views of race, gender, and identity with regard to futurity" The tendency Pordzik identifies and favors, therefore, is one marked by a shift from the "progressively utopian to the dialectically heterotopian"and this leads him in the last words of his book to conclude that the "only factor which can in the long run change the world is the word" Arising from political and cultural movements that opposed the authority not only of former colonies but also of new nations with their privileged players, this aesthetic logic of disruption and difference informs new writing that dares to imagine social spaces and horizons unfettered by hierarchical controls and power.
Indeed, he takes care to assert that the aim of his comparative reading is not to erase all specificity; and yet he argues forcefully for recognition of a "global culture" based in racial and gender diversity that has produced a body of "transnational Further, in an interesting juxtaposition with Harris, he invokes Lyotard and argues that this creative rupture produces "counter-intuitive propositions" which are "experientially impossible as well as empirically unverifiable, and which create as they work towards a different geometry of cognition new identifying spaces in the realm of utopian discourse" In rejecting the imposed utopian locus of the colonial powers, the postcolonial writers often create dystopias that begin with the negativity of rejecting the colonial system along with the "ignominious role of western humanism" and then move on to challenge the post-colonial nation that has replaced it In the same self-reflexive spirit that runs through all these works, the dystopian variants not only interrogate the given society but also transform the literary form itself, in this case "disabusing themselves of the tragic proportions Harris of western dystopian thought" His is also a position that needs to be questioned, however, both for what it says and for what it silences.
When he argues that these works avoid "a fixed counter-position or counter-ideology" and transcend national and ideological boundaries in order to produce a radical new cultural othernesshe risks eviscerating and de-valuing the very cultural and political plenitude and power of this literary tendency by stepping away from and thus effacing the historical conditions and political-cultural struggles that helped to produce such works in the first place.
Part of the problem is that Pordzik falls into his own set of idealized binaries. Against the Western utopia—with its "embarrassingly transformative scenarios"—he identifies in the postcolonial utopia an emphasis on "cross-cultural mediation" and open societies that "defies easy reduction and simple comforting solutions"78, In several passages, he makes the by now questionable assertion that Western utopias advance a narrative of static perfection, and he also repeats the now common condemnatory conflation of the distinct practices of totalitarian rule and totalizing analysis.May 21, · Only one, perhaps, has been driven to wine, exclusively and for life, and that is the inimitable California vintner, punster, screw-top evangelist, and all-around Don Quixote of .
Plato’s model society, Atlantis has epitomized the idea of utopia for millennia, and has been mentioned as examined in literature throughout the Ages.
J. R. R. Tolkien, however, takes the Atlantis story and modifies it to illustrate a perfect society’s fall to dystopia. The utopian promise of the internet, much talked about even a few years ago, has given way to brutal realities: coltan mines in the Congo, electronics factories in China, devastated neighborhoods in Detroit.
Cyber-Proletariat shows us the dark-side of the information revolution through an unsparing analysis of class power and computerization. other. Justice has truly become in the eye of the beholder, as its rules and regulations have become as cold as stone.
I see the main theme in Night, Race Matters, and The Trial as being "the impossible quest for a Utopian society." The struggle over power has created a wall between different groups.
A utopia is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a place of ideal perfection, especially in laws, governments, and social conditions” and “an imaginary and indefinitely remote place.” So, a utopia is a perfect world where everything is how it should be: absolute perfection. It is very important that such works may accept the utopian quest, utopian ideals 1 Frank E.
Manuel, "Toward a Psychological History of Utopias" in: Studies in Social Movements. A Social Psychological Perspective, Ed. by Barry McLaughlin, the Free Press, New York, , p.