Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity


""Imaginary Communities is a beautiful treatment of utopian narratives as the quintessential genre for figuring social space in the modern nation-state. Wegner demonstrates a wide-ranging yet lighthanded philosophical learnedness, an urgent political conscience, and a deeply historical sense that narrative utopias are like specters that haunt particular moments of upheaval, crisis, and contradiction within modernity: whether the threshold between the vestiges of feudal agrarian society and early modern English capitalism, conflicts between the new oligarchy of industrializing late 19th c. United States and the increasing militancy of the labor movement, the uneven successes and failures of the Russian Revolution of 1905, or the mid-century Cold War struggles."--Lisa Lowe, author of "Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics

"In this important book, Wegner argues that the historical work done by utopian narratives should be reconsidered, interrogated, challenged--and continued. Insightful and provocative, "Imaginary Communities will prove a valuable contribution to our thinking about the politics of imagination."--Daniel Cottom, author of "Cannibals and Philosophers: Bodies of Enlightenment

"Phillip Wegner's "Imaginary Communities represents a major intervention in our understanding not merely of utopian literature, but the very ways in which we view our world. His concept of utopian narrative as both vision and practice, as participating in "real" worlds, a force for change rooted in the social world "as it is" and as it is becoming and is "imagined," succeeds wonderfully well; his notion of the imperative of "failure" as a resource of hope is deeply humane. He provides abody of work worth thinking through and thinking with. As a historian, I find the historicity of his approach, the literary arch spanning from the origins of the European nation-state to our global present and future, compel


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