9 July. Utopia & Visualizing Your Futures


  • 1. Great work yesterday! Shannon, Odetta, and Justine were really impressed with your questions. Couple take aways from yesterday: Our guests invited us to recognize the fullness of the spaces we occupy, and the dangers of imagining any place as empty, and to begin to examine how our assumptions are always implicated in power relations with each new context we occupy.
  • 2. Looking ahead to the upcoming assignments New Futures Project & Petcha Kutcha Presentation Project. Also, going to meet at Lindsey St. Park to talk more with Shannon and members of the community.

Part I. Back to the Future

Take a 5-10 minutes and respond to the following:
What is the Renaissance (approx. 1400-1700)? What sorts of events characterize the world in which Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512) or Martin Luther disputed the practices of indulgences (1517) or the conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519-21) or which Thomas More first published his Utopia in 1516?

To answer these questions, draw on what you already know from world history or literature courses, and/or feel free to search around the internet for a few. Just be prepared to share your answers.

Part II. What is Utopia?

We can just answer this one all together:
According to Thomas More and/or your own knowledge, what is a utopia? Also, are utopias good?

Part III. Utopia, Book I: Problem/Solutions

Let’s get into 5 groups of 4 and respond to the following:
  • 1. According to Book I of Utopia, what are the major problems facing England?
  • 2. Of all the problems discussed throughout Book I, which does your group think is the worst? Why?
  • 3. What solutions do the characters propose to solve the problem you think is the worst? Do you think the solution(s) will work? Why/why not?

Visualizing Your Future, Part I.

  • From its very first publication in 1516, More’s Utopia, was typically published with a “garland of humanist testimonials” (Robert Adams 112), and visual images. What sorts effects do the fictional paratextual materials have on readers?¬†
  • In the spirit of More’s text, we are also going to create some accompanying “testimonials” for our future worlds.
  • Take a minute and think about some advertising campaigns for vacation designations, events, or even new houses/condos below. What sorts of visual rhetoric do those types of ads share? How does that genre of adverting persuade audiences?¬†

Future Place to Live

Quarry Park Development Materials 

Future Place to Travel

Visualizing Your Future, Part II.

Take a few minutes and respond to the following:
  • 1. Draft a name for your future world.
  • 2. Sketch or briefly describe what your world looks like: what are its main geological features, what are some of its aesthetic traits, what do the people look like, what sorts of infrastructural or architectural features would standout to a visitor?
  • 3. Briefly describe your world to someone who hasn’t been there before; try to persuade them to go/warn them about it.

Visualizing Your Future, Part II.


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