2009-2010: Utopias, Dystopias, and Social Transformation

The 2009-2010 theme, “Utopias/Dystopias and Social Transformation,” is designed to attract scholars whose work addresses the nature, value, and meaning of utopias/dystopias (or utopian/dystopian thought) for social transformation by utilizing the perspectives and methodologies, and preferably crossing the boundaries, of such humanities disciplines as history, literary studies, art history, film and media studies, philosophy, and/or religious studies. Appropriate projects might consider the following kinds of questions: What ARE utopian approaches to social transformation? Are agendas for social change enhanced or impaired by such approaches? What is the relationship of utopianism to social diversity and/or democracy? What can utopian visions of the past teach us about social transformation in the present and future? Does meaningful social transformation depend on utopian visions? Or do utopian projects necessarily dissolve into dystopian nightmares? What is the relevance of utopian texts to contemporary social challenges? Projects should focus on research rather than pedagogy and interest scholars in many fields.


The Visiting Fellows program is for scholars from other institutions of higher education in the US and abroad to spend spring semester in residence at the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR), participating in the intellectual life of the IHR and the university community. The Visiting Fellowship provides the opportunity to conduct research, collaborate with ASU faculty, and write. The Visiting Fellowship also promotes an exchange of ideas among visitors and ASU Fellows also working on the annual theme, which in 2010 will be Utopias, Dystopias and Social Transformation. Visitors will participate in weekly fellows meetings and give public lectures and seminars on their research topics while in residence at the IHR.