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Interchange – Utopia: Ideas into Action

Interchange – Utopia: Ideas into Action

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In this episode of Interchange, host Doug Storm goes in search of No Place, or what Thomas More, the 16th century lawyer and statesman, and originator of the term (if not the literary genre), called Utopia. Providing map and compass (moral and otherwise) are Constance Furey, associate professor in the department of Religious Studies and a scholar of the Renaissance and Reformation Christianity, and Shelby Everett, a junior at Indiana University working towards a degree in Religious Studies who is currently interning with Fair Trade Bloomington.

Interview highlight: Constance Furey on utopian thinking as “educating desire”

“Though it’s often talked about as a kind of blueprint, and that’s one of the reasons that Plato’s Republic is invoked as a precedent also for a seemingly totalitarian vision of society, I think it’s actually helpful to imagine utopia more as a way of thinking about how to educate desire….Those desires are not in fact consistent or uniform across cultures, across time, between people, and so there’s a sense that what we do is going to be shaped by what it is we think we want and that’s where the ideal comes in and I think utopia is one of these ways of saying, and confronting us, ‘What do you want? What looks good to you?’…and therefore the implicit question potentially becomes explicit, ‘Why does that look good to you?’ And that’s a way of shaping or influencing desire…”

Works and authors discussed in this podcast:

Thomas More (1478 – 6 July 1535), Utopia

Plato, The Republic

Christine de Pizan (1364 – c. 1430), The Book of the City of Ladies

Emilia Laneir (1569-1645), Salve Deus Rex Iudæorum(containing “Eve’s Apology”)

Nathan Schneider, Thank You, Anarchy

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860 – 1935): “Yellow Wallpaper”; Herland

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