The Dispossessed: what resonates on re-reading

The Dispossessed cover art

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin is book of the month. We will be discussing this book at our next Utopian Book Collective meeting on Monday 6th May.

I re-read The Dispossessed this month in anticipation of our upcoming book group meeting. I can’t wait to discuss it. In this post I simply want to highlight a few quotations that stood out for me on re-reading. I’m sure other people will have their own moments in the novel that carry meaning for them. It’s such a rich text. Please let me know in the comments or at book group if you happen to be able to make it.

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Finding other ways of being at Gors Fawr stone circle

Gors Fawr stone circle in West Wales with the Preseli hills behind

I originally wrote this piece with Stone Club in mind. But, as it hasn’t appeared over there, I thought I would post it here.

Now, on the face of it, my visit to a stone circle doesn’t have anything to do with utopia. But actually, it did give me a new perspective on ways of being and engaging with the environment. And the possibility of a different relationship to the environment, whether that’s real or imagined, in the past, present or future, is a utopian possibility.

At Gors Fawr I caught a glimpse of a more embodied, spatially aware and landscape-savvy way of being a human in this world, as you will discover in my field notes.

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Just Utopias New Year news!

As we start 2024 I have Just Utopias New Year news for you. News of a new publication, a new start behind the scenes for this website, and a new book of the month.

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Jack Halberstam’s Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse

Jack Halberstam's Unworlding example one: Conical Intersect by Gordon Matta-Clark
Gordon Matta-Clark, Conical Intersect, 1975. Orginal artwork held by SFMOMA. Source of image: https://aestheticamagazine.com/gordon-matta-clark-anarchitecture/

Jack Halberstam’s keynote ‘Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse’ really was the absolute highlight of the Utopian Studies Society of Europe conference. But wait! You didn’t have to be there! A version of the lecture is available on YouTube so I wanted to share the details. It contains some real IDEAS about UTOPIA and I highly recommend checking it out.   

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Review of Twoty-Twoty-Two (2022): Utopian Studies Conference

Photograph of utopian studies conference venue at University of Brighton
Conference venue: University of Brighton

The thing that took me farthest out of my comfort zone in 2022 was attending the Utopian Studies Society conference. I thought it would be nice to have a few days away to discuss all things utopian but I was wrong. I stretched my elastic too far just to get there. It was my first time travelling on my own and travelling much at all since the pandemic and having a child (both things that have tied me to home over the past few years). Having to then leave my room and attend events was so hard. This is despite my room (in student halls) being unbearably hot and depressing.

Yes, this was another USS conference in a heatwave, like the previous one in Prato, Italy in 2019 where we discussed utopia, dystopia and climate change in 40 degree heat (Celcius, folks). Just the thing to make discussions feel urgent and hopeless at the same time.

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An ecofeminist and utopian perspective on The Word For World Is Forest

Detail from The Word for World Is Forest cover art showing a night sky through trees

My presentation from the The Word for World is Forest symposium is now available online! Find it on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, anchor.fm, PlayerFM and more. Wherever you get your podcasts, as they say.

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