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IP206 Utopia: Text, Theory, Practice

Module leader: Dr Kirsten Harris
  • Optional module
  • 15 CATS
  • Term 2, 10 weeks
  • Availability/priority: Liberal Arts and GSD, Monash Exchange, Erasmus Liberal Arts exchange, Warwick honours-level students

Moodle Platform


Important information

This module will not be running in the academic year 2022-23.

Principal Aims

  • Utopia: Text, Theory, Practice examines the utopian tradition as it is situated in changing social and historical contexts. It will consider the concept of utopianism as it is enacted in creative texts, in social and political thought, in theorisations of the utopian tradition and in lived experiences and social practices.
  • At its simplest, the concept of “utopia” (a pun on eutopia, meaning good place, and outopia, meaning no place) can be understood as a response to one the most fundamental “problems” that humans throughout the ages have wrestled with: What should a better (perfect?) society look like, and how can it be constructed and maintained?
  • Through the interrogation of diverse source material and case studies, we will explore key sub-problems in the utopian tradition such as those relating to politics, gender, racial inequality, urban planning and architecture, education, and borders and resources. The module will explore how utopian projects, imagined and activated, comment on existing social structures in their attempt to construct a better life, and how ideas circulate through a range of discourses and practices. Using a transdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning approach, this module will encourage you to generate problems rising from utopian social theory and praxis, and to critique the scope, value and limitations of the utopian tradition.

Hear from Dr Kirsten Harris about her research interests in the field of Utopian Studies.


  Please note: Module availability and staffing may change year on year depending on availability and other operational factors. The School for Cross-faculty Studies makes no guarantee that any modules will be offered in a particular year, or that they will necessarily be taught by the staff listed on these pages.