Utopian Dreaming Conference (videos now online)

Utopian Dreaming: 50 years of Imagined Futures in California and at UCSC.Conference, Nov. 6-7, 2015

In 2015, UCSC celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia its 40th. Both are products of a fertile period of ferment across California, during the 1960s and 1970s. Why has California been such a fertile and fruitful site for “Utopian Dreaming,” in film, fiction, media, design, architecture, mobility, electronics, intentional communities,ecology and environment, counter-culture and social movements? What kinds of futures has California come to represent? What has been the role of UCSC in these imaginaries of the future. Does California remain a Promised Land, or is it a Land of Squandered Promise?

On November 6th and 7th, 2015, scholars, students, observers and utopian dreamers met to celebrate those anniversaries and explore visions of the future that have emerged from California and UCSC about California and UCSC.  Presentations ran the gamut from Ecotopia to Technodystopia, from the real to the fantasized, from the past to the future, assessing the impacts of utopian imaginaries on culture, politics, environment, cities,  beliefs and ideologies at UCSC, across California, and beyond.

You can watch videos from the conference at https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/utopian-dreaming-50-years/id1066048322?mt=10 (requires iTunes download from http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/?id=1066048322) or on our You Tube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3UOBW97mRO6F9n_1VQIKAA

Conference Schedule

Friday, November 6, UCSC Music Hall, 7:30-10 PM

 Return to Ecotopia: a celebration of the life and work of Ernest Callenbach.

Keynote speaker: Kim Stanley Robinson, “Ecotopia and the 1970s Utopian Moment”

Conversation & reminiscences about Ecotopia & Ernest Callenbach, with Malcolm Margolin (publisher, Heyday Books, Berkeley), Joanna Callenbach (daughter) & Richard Kahlenberg (Callenbach’s literary agent)

Saturday, November 7, UCSC Music Hall, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM

8:30-9: Registration, continental breakfast, welcome

9-9:30: Keynote: Fred McPherson, “Utopia at UCSC: The Early Years”      Here is a transcript of his talk.

 9:30-11: Panel I—California as Eco(u)topia

Benjamin Wurgaft (MIT), “Organisms and Artifacts in Ernest Callenbach's Californian Ecotopia.

Kristin Miller (Sociology, UCSC), “Postcards from the Future: Envisioning Utopia and Dystopia in California”

 11-11:15: Coffee break

 11:15-12:45: Panel II—Ecotopia & Apocalypse

Andrew Mathews (Anthropology, UCSC), "Climate Change as Utopia & Apocalypse"

Ursula Heise (English, UCLA), “Environmental Futures and Multispecies Justice"

 12:45-1:30: Lunch

1:30-3: Panel III—Imagining Other Utopian Worlds

Rosaura Sanchez & Beatrice Pita (Literature. UC San Diego), "The color of Sci Fi: the presence/absence of people of color in future imaginaries."

Miram Greenberg (Sociology, UCSC), “Whose Ecotopia?: Tracing Multiple Visions of a Sustainable Future in Northern California and Beyond" 

 3-3:15: Coffee break

3:15-4:45: Panel IV—California Techno-pasts & utopian futures

Fred Turner (Communications, Stanford), “From Counterculture To Cyberculture: How The Whole Earth Catalog Brought Us Virtual Community”

Richard Barbrook (Politics & IR, U. of Westminster, London), “The California Ideology 2.0”

For questions and information, please contact Ronnie Lipschutz, rlipsch@ucsc.edu (email preferred) or 831-459-3275/459-2543. 

A KQED report will be archived at: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/programs/the-california-report

Meanwhile, you can read "Utopia or Catastrophe," by Ronnie Lipschutz

This conference was co-sponsored by College Eight, with funds from the Distinguished Visiting Professor fund, and the Social Sciences Division, Anthropology, Sociology, Politics, Latin American & Latino Studies, Environmental Studies, Art, History, Literature, Crown College, Merrill College, Cowell College, Stevenson College, Porter College, Oakes College, Kresge College, the Center for Cultural Studies, Institute of the Arts & Sciences, Institute for Humanities Research, the Everett Program, the Chicano-Latino Research Center, the Science & Justice Research Center, an anonymous donor, the UCSC Natural Reserves Program, the Student Environmental Center and University Relations.