Rebecca R. Johnston

From early ideas of a perfect human condition to a more modern conception of technological or social nirvana, visions of utopia have permeated our human histories. Their genesis is often in response to social or political struggle, or is a reaction to imperfect reality. They are commentaries on the aspirations of our predecessors and present dreamers for the potential that lives within us all. This interdisciplinary conference sought to examine how human experience and culture has impacted our idea of utopia in the present, in times past, and in the future.

Presented here are selected manuscripts from the 2014 UNGAL (University of North Georgia Arts and Letters) conference, the theme of which was “Utopia in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences”. It is intended as a continuation of the promulgation of academic scholarship resulting from the biennial conference series and contains selected presentations that have undergone review by the conference committee, in addition to manuscript review by the editors.

The 2014 conference drew scholars from across the United States, in addition to five international academics from the University of Western Australia, Kunstuniversitat Graz, Austria, Universite de Versailles, France, University of Salzburg, Austria, and Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Proffered manuscripts are from a wide array of academic disciplines including political science, philosophy, language studies, history, visual art, music, sociology, international relations, religious studies, psychology, anthropology, journalism and media studies, and literature. The included authors represent prestigious institutions of higher education, and their level of scholarship is of an impressively high caliber.

The conference theme of utopia is of particular relevance to the arts, humanities, and social sciences. These disciplines investigate human constructs and concerns and illuminate human culture and experience; they mirror and interpret what human beings have believed, created, experienced, and celebrated in the present and in eras past. We hope that you enjoy this collection of interdisciplinary scholarship.


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Wednesday, January 1st
12:00 AM

Music Education in America: How Far Afield Are We from Vision 2020?

Rebecca R. Johnston, University of North Georgia

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Saturday, March 1st
9:00 AM

Realism as a Constraint on Fantasy

Jon Garthoff, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

The Auditors, the Tooth Fairy, and Death: Utopian Delusions in Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather

Kathryn Hinds, University of North Georgia

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Utopia and Progress: The Case of Thomas Paine's Apocalypse

Daniel Betti, Crowder College

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

10:45 AM

Confounding Dystopian/Utopian Vision: Otto Dix, Walter Benjamin, and the Allegorical Mode

Althea Ruoppo, Houston Community College

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Spanglish: A Controversial Dystopic or Utopic Language?

Kristi A. Hislope, University of North Georgia

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

The world within and the world without Forms and functions of utopia in photography

Anne-Claire Bondon, University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

3:00 PM

Civilization: Rereading Austen’s Constructed Utopia

Donna Gessell, University of North Georgia

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Traveling in Utopias: Francis Bacon's New Atlantis and H.G. Wells' A Modern Utopia

Chris Adamo, Centenary College - Hackettstown

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Sunday, March 2nd
9:00 AM

The Sacred Union of the East: Great Depression, New Deal, and Roerich-Wallace Spiritual Utopia

Andrei A. Znamenski, University of Memphis

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

10:45 AM

Technocracy and Organization: Utopia and the Question of Value-Pluralism

Wade Roberts, Juniata College

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

The Role of Dystopia: Isaiah Berlin and the Novels of Huxley and Zamyatin

James Roney, Juniata College

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Why Bacon’s Utopia is not a Dystopia: Technological and Ethical Progress in The New Atlantis

Daniel Schwartz, University of California, San Diego

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM