Anarchy and Utopia

Term: 
Fall
Credits: 
4.0
Academic Year: 
Status: 
Elective
Course Description: 

The course will cover two, often related topics: utopia and anarchy. It will be jointly taught by Professors Bozóki and Czigányik.  The course focuses on the overlaps and relationships between utopianism and anarchism. Utopianism is usually understood in everyday discourse as irrational and irresponsible dreaming about the future. However, utopias often serve the function to contrast reality to the possibility of an ideal life. By acquainting students with important texts of utopian thought that are related to anarchy, the utopian impulse will be presented as a source of imagination and dynamism in the social sciences and also as an intersection of literary fiction and anarchist thought. The involvement of literature in the understanding of politics provides a platform for understanding social tensions from the individual’s point of view. The second topic of the course discusses the nature of anarchy which is usually understood in everyday discourse as a synonymous concept to chaos and disorder. However, anarchists, themselves, have a fundamentally different opinion on this. They believe that anarchy is a form of order based on voluntary cooperation between humans. The course offers readings from some classic anarchists as well as some contemporary approaches.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will be able to understand the major traditions of literary utopianism, its relationship with an important political ideology: anarchism. Both of them mirrors reality in an opposite way which help students to understand present day society and politics better, in an indirect way. With the methods of literary hermeneutics a complex analysis of such texts will be obtainable. Students will also be able to identify and analyze the characteristics of ideological thinking.

Assessment: 

Students must participate in all classes and inform the professor in advance if they cannot attend a class. They should read the mandatory readings before the meetings. Students are expected to participate actively in the discussions, and will also be asked to present one or more readings during the semester. They have to also write a 3000-word (one-and-half spaced) final paper. Titles must be pre-approved. Final essays should be both handed in print-out form and e-mailed by the last meeting of the semester.

Grading:         
in-class activities, presentations (30%)
written assignments (30 %)
final paper (40%)