Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe
The word ‘utopia’ was famously coined by Thomas More in 1516. However, ideas of utopia have been common throughout literature and philosophy ever since ancient times.
Throughout history, there has been a continuing tension about the ideal utopian society: the domination of nature on one hand, and the desire for reconciliation on the other. By the middle decades of the twentieth century both versions of utopia had fallen into disrepute, displaced by ‘science’ on the political left or by ‘dystopia’ on the political right. From the 1960s, utopian politics in new social movements re-emerged. It found expression in literature and the arts, including architecture, but also in popular culture as science fiction.
The University of Tasmania hosted the first Australian conference on Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction in 2001, organised around the theme of Antipodean Utopias. Since then, the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (CLCS) has convened a series of conferences as part of its’ research strength in the areas of utopian and science fiction studies.
30 August–1 September 2010
Monash Conference Centre
Level 7, 30 Collins Street
The opening address will be given by Kate Rigby, Founding President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Australia-New Zealand, and author of Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism (2004).
Kim Stanley Robinson
Distinguished science fiction writer, winner of two Hugo Awards and author of the Orange Country Trilogy, the Mars Trilogy, Antarctica, The Years of Rice and Salt, the Science in the Capital Trilogy and Galileo's Dream.
Science fiction writer, Director of the Department of Story Future in the Centre for the Future at Slavonice and co-author of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993) and The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997).
Emeritus Professor and Founding Director of the Ralahine Center for Utopian Studies, University of Limerick, author of Demand the Impossible (1986) and Scraps of the Untainted Sky (2000) and co-editor of Dark Horizons (2003).
Deborah Bird Rose
Professor of Social Inclusion, Macquarie University, author of Dingo Makes Us Human (2000), Reports from a Wild Country (2004) and Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction (in press).
Associate Professor in Art History at RMIT University, curator of The Idea of the Animal exhibition (2004) and the HEAT: Art and Climate Change exhibition (2008).
- Professor Roland Boer (Professor of Theology, University of Newcastle)
- Professor Ian Buchanan (Professor of Critical Theory, Cardiff University)
- Professor Verity Burgmann (Professor of Politics, University of Melbourne)
- Jacqueline Dutton (Head of French, University of Melbourne)
- Professor Andrew Milner (Professor of Cultural Studies, CLCS)
Titles of papers link directly to mp3 files. If you require a transcription please contact the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies.
||Title of paper
||mp3 file size
| Kate Rigby
||Opening address: ‘Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe
||Shelters from the Storm: Utopian Spaces in Dystopian Worlds
||The Nature of the Medium: McLuhan’s Notes on William Burroughs
||“The Precedent”: criminalising growth economics
||Doomed by Hope: Environmental Disaster and the “Structured Ignorance” of Risk in Atwood’s Speculative Fiction
||Broadcasting the (zombie) apocalypse
||(W)riting the Eco-Divine into Everyday Practice: Bearing or Plucking the Fruit?
||Figures of Extraterrestrials in Film: A Threat to Utopia
||2012: Fantasy Futures in Australia and New Zealand
||The ecologically perfect utopian model-building of Australian climate change intellectuals
||Destabilising the Ordinary: The Depiction of Reality as Fiction in the Parallel Universes of the Films of Werner Herzog
||“Our World is ending, but Life Must Go On.”..: Post-Apocalyptic Dystopias in Contemporary Children’s Films
||Deleuze and Utopia
||Virtual Catastrophe: Games, Play and Environmental Disaster in Online Games and Cyberpunk Fiction
| Anne Melano
||Utopias of Balance
||‘N-H-N’: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Dialectics of Ecology
||Bringing Utopia Down to Earth: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital Trilogy
|Rebecca Garcia Lucas
||Australian Meeting Places: Aboriginal and Western Ecological Philosophies
||"Remember the voices of the trees”: The turn from technology in Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
||Geographies of Hope: The Desire for Place in Californian Science Fiction
||The Dark: Cultural Imagery of Environmental Catastrophe in Australian Fantasy Fiction
||Road, fire, trees: Cormac McCarthy’s Post-America
|Kim Stanley Robinson
||‘Utopia In the Age of Climate Change
||Sociability, Superblacks and Stone Axes: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital Trilogy
||Eucatastrophe and Co-inherence in the Utopian Vision of Charles Williams
||Are We There Yet?: The catastrophe of polar deceleration in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road'
|Hans A. Baer
||Toward Democratic Eco-Socialism in Australia as Part of a Global Climate Change Mitigation Strategy: A Utopian Vision
||Learning from Venus: The Dystopian Humanism of James Hansen’s Climate Science
||Unlikely Utopians: Ecotopian Dreaming in H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood’
||The Victorian Crisis of Faith in Australian Utopian Literature, 1870–1900
||The Book of Genesis 2.0: Kurzweil’s utopian vision of the Singularity
||I Flourish While the World around Me Burns
||From the Beach to the Sea: Two Paradigmatic Australian Dystopias
||Politics, Ecology on the Korean Left: Anti-Americanism and Environmental Dystopia in The Host
||Dystopian Representations of Urban Space: A Dialectical Reading of Assassin’s Creed and Mirror’s Edge
||Atmosphere as medium
|Kim Stanley Robinson
||Utopia In the Age of Climate Change
||Climate Change: Utopian Opportunity and Design Problems
||Futurism Now: Structure and Process in Contemporary Art
||Shadows of the Holocene: transformed creatures and the dystopian animals of the future
||We'll always have Paris: post-apocalyptic projections of the City of Light
||Tracking the Mammoth from Extinction to Resurrection
||Catastrophic Intentions: Benjamin and Bloch on the Nature of Revolution
||The Colour of Nothing: contemporary video art, SF and the postmodern sublime
||Barbapapa’s Ark: an environmental dystopia and its influence
||Environmental Exploitation, Plutocratic Empire and the End of Our Planet
||Nature and Absurd Freedom in Werner Herzog’s Science-Fiction Fantasies
||Where Monstrosity Dovetails Delight: using design fictions to transform fear into plastic potential
||Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”: Unearthing the barriers between environmental criticism and utopian studies
||New possibilities for collective life” (Santner): Counter-apocalypse, the Peaceable Kingdom and an ethics of survival
||Paradise is a little too green for me”: Discourses of environmental disaster in Doctor Who, 1963–present
||Utopia in the realm of thought
||Of Bodies and Souls: Ecology and Orthodox Christianity
||Affirmative architectural dystopias: experimental relations between humans and the built environment
||Care, love and our responsibility to the future
|Annette M Schneider
||Flight to the stars vs. coming to grips with Gaia: The Earthbound Utopian Fantasy of a Cultural Feminist
||Truth Is Consequence
Travel and accommodation
Monash Conference Centre
Location, public transport, parking and disability access
Travel from Tullamarine airport
Tullamarine is the main Melbourne airport, 20 km northwest of the central business district. Travel by taxi takes about 20 minutes.
Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe enquires
This conference has been organised by Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies and the journal Colloquy, under the auspices of the Schools of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics (LCL) and English, Communications and Performance Studies (ECPS) at Monash University.
The Centre wishes to thank the Australian Research Council, the CLCS Research Unit and the Monash Literature Research Unit, which generously provided funding for the conference.
Previous Utopias conferences
Aussiecon4 68th World Science Fiction Convention