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Utopia from Thomas More to Walter Benjamin

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Utopia from Thomas More to Walter Benjamin
by Miguel Abensour
translated by Raymond N. MacKenzie
January 13th, 2017 
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An insightful philosophical investigation and reading of the concept of utopia.

“Utopia poses a question. Not simply in the sense of a problem to be resolved and at the same time eliminated ... but in the sense that, within the economy of the human condition, utopia, the aim of social alterity — of all social otherness — is ceaselessly being reborn, coming back to life despite all the blows rained down upon it, as if human resistance had taken up residence within it.”

For the French philosopher Miguel Abensour, the fictional genre of utopia has provided thinkers and artists a fertile ground to explore for the past 500 years, both as a way to imagine new emancipatory practices of shared existence, and as a tyrannical imposition of power. Here, Abensour’s project is to examine the idea of utopia in two different but powerful moments in its trajectory: first, utopia’s beginning, when Thomas More sought a path for justice through a world in transformation; and second, when utopia faced its greatest danger, the moment that Walter Benjamin called “catastrophe.”

Miguel Abensour is a French philosopher best known for his influence in shepherding the reception of the Frankfurt School in France. He has written a number of works on utopia including L’homme est un animal utopique (Les Editions de La Nuit, 2011) and most recently L’histoire de l’utopie et le destin de sa critique (Sens & Tonka, 2016).

Raymond N. MacKenzie is professor of English at the University of St. Thomas.

Excerpt
Walter Benjamin, the Sentry of Dreams

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Details
Details Paperback | 114 pages | 5 x 8" | Letterpress Cover | Cover Design by Jason Wagner

Tags: Spring 2017, Miguel Abensour

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