Start Date : September 22, 6:00 pm
End Date : September 23, 6:15 pm


Deutsches Haus, 420 W 116th Street

Event Organizer

The ICLS Graduate Committee

Event Sponsor

Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Graduate School of Architecture and Public Planning
Department of Sociology
Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, Columbia Law School

ICLS Graduate Student Conference


Institute for Comparative Literature and Society Graduate Conference

Columbia University, New York

September 22nd & 23rd, 2016

What are the stakes of utopia today? How can we understand utopia in history, whether in theory or practice? Are utopias possible, or even desirable? This year’s Columbia ICLS Graduate Conference will confront some of the challenges posed by various utopian visions and projects: we want to emphasize the value of comparative perspectives in thinking about utopias, whether across historical periods, societies and imaginaries, or from different academic angles.

Thursday September 22nd

Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall

6:00pm Keynote Lecture

“The Abolition of Private Property as Utopian Demand”

Michael Hardt (Duke University Professor and Director of the Marxism & Society Certificate Program and Bass Fellow)

Introduction: Brent Edwards (Professor, Columbia University)

Friday September 23rd

Deutsches Haus, 420 West 116th Street (between Amsterdam Ave and Morningside Dr)


Panel 1 – Image, Vision, Projection, Space

“The Space of No-Place: Thomas More’s Utopia and the History City Planning”

Peter Janos Galambos (New School for Social Research)

“Imaginary Optics & Dissatisfied Signals: The Materiality of the Unattainable”

Scott W. Schwartz (City University of New York)

Natalia Goncharova’s “‘Everythingism’: a Utopia of National and Aesthetic Inclusiveness”

Francesca Ferrari (University of Pennsylvania)

Discussant: Reinhold Martin (Professor, Columbia University)


Panel 2 – Transgressing Borders

“Zoos, Animal Outlaws and Ideal Cities”

Juliana Kei (Royal College of Art, London)

“And All That Believed Were Together: Property Disputes at the Boundaries of American Communitarian Orders”

Rachel Julia Engler (Columbia University)

“Undecidable Utopias: Violence and the Possibility of the Border”

Carrie Reese (University of Toronto)

Discussant: Rosalind Morris (Professor, Columbia University)


Panel 3 – Planning for a Better Future

“Utopia’s Library: Dreams of the Omnium Gatherum and the Problem of “Too Much Information” from the Enlightenment to the Information Age”

Cory Knudson (University of Pennsylvania)

“Socialist Infotopia: The First Turcology Congress and Latinization Across Eurasia, 1926-1938”

Ulug Kuzuoglu (Columbia University)

“The Concrete and the Utopian: Designing Ivry-sur-Seine’s City Center (1962-1986)”

Vanessa Grossman (Princeton University)

“A Scottish Utopia for Colonial India: Sir Daniel Mackinnon Hamilton’s Gosaba Experiment (1903-57)”

Shalmaly Mukherjee (University of Delhi)

Discussant: Lydia Liu (Professor, Columbia University)


Roundtable: Utopia: Whither The Future?

Michael Hardt (Professor, Duke University),

Etienne Balibar (Visiting Professor, Columbia University; Professor Emeritus, Université de Paris X-Nanterre; Distinguished Professor, UC Irvine),

[Ioanna Laliotou (Associate Professor, University of Thessaly)]

Organizing committee: Oskar Orn Arnorsson, Harlan David Chambers, Nile Davies, Nina Horisaki-Christens, Gustav Kalm, Jonah Rowen, Milan Tobias Terlunen, Stefan Tarnowski

The Organizing Committee would like to thank: Michael Hardt, Etienne Balibar, Ioanna Laliotou, Reinhold Martin, Rosalind Morris, Lydia Liu, Brent Edwards, Sarah Monks

Sponsored by: The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society; Center for Contemporary Critical Thought; Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture; Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Harriman Institute; Department of Anthropology; Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures; Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies; Department of Germanic Languages; Department of Sociology; The Heyman Center for Humanities

 The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Room B-101
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY, 10027
  (212) 854-4541
  (212) 854-3099