Instructor: Kristof K.P. Vanhoutte

A two-week intensive course!

Utopia is an idea that seems to have lost its appeal. These days, if the word is used at all, it is mainly in a pejorative sense, denoting an unrealistic or quixotic goal. Utopian fiction, for its own part, has been largely superseded by its opposite, the dystopian novel. But is this deprecatory take on utopia really justified and reasonable? Or is something lost in the contemporary way we have come to use and reference the word?

In this course, we will dive into the history of utopia up to its quasi-obsolescence as well as exploring its relation to the sister-concepts of dystopia and heterotopia. We will start with Plato and ancient satirical literature (Aristophanes and Lucian), continue with a close study of Thomas More’s Utopia, arguably the official birthplace of the idea, and finally witness the radical change undergone by the idea in Victorian literature. We will conclude by exploring any possible remaining value of utopia for the 21st century.

Maximum enrollment: 10


Tuesday – Thursday & Monday – Wednesday, 19:00-22:00
2-4 May & 5-7 June 2023
18 hours (2 weeks)


75016, Paris

All PICT courses are held in person.

All PICT courses are exclusive for PICT Members. Become a member from 3 euros/month.

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