Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary

Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary

Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary

Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary

Synopsis

This reference provides more than 600 alphabetically arranged entries about utopian communities and their founders. The entries draw on a wide range of institutions: from abodes of love to conservation groups; from hippie communes and fantastic entertainments to caravans and residential settlements; from garden cities to children's schools; from business schemes to spiritual encampments; from religious communities to unrealizable schemes. Entries were chosen for their illustrative value and origin and represent utopian thought around the world. Also included are several classical and modern literary utopias, which serve as a guide or justification of utopian ventures. Entries provide bibliographic information, and the volume closes with a selected, general bibliography.

Excerpt

This dictionary and sourcebook provides illustrations of Utopian ventures and the people who undertook them. Utopian venture is defined broadly and is not closely related to one academic discipline but to the field of Utopian studies. Illustrations are taken from a range of human activities, policies, programs, and schemes; they include abodes of love, anarchy, anthropology, architecture, art colonies, brotherhoods, business, caravans, colonial schemes, communes, conservation and environmental groups, craft organizations, egalitarians, escapists, expositions, desert communities, fantastic entertainments, farms, health schemes, an island paradise, kingdoms of heaven, kindergartens, an ideal language, labor villages, management, national policies, novels, peace initiatives, personal havens and residences, political campaigns, psychological havens, racist settlements, religions, religious treatises, residential settlements, sects, self-help and self-sufficient economies, schools, spiritualism, suicide cults, sects, theories of Utopian ideals, urban developments, welfare policies, worker's settlements, and wildly unrealizable schemes. The theme centers on a Utopian venture, an activity aiming to make the world a better place.

The book has close to 620 entries; about half are short descriptions of Utopian ventures, and the rest are brief biographical sketches of individuals who were involved. Each entry is followed by a list of sources that the reader can find in a good public library or with the guidance of a reference librarian. Many entries concern Utopias long gone; others are recent; a few are on the Internet.

The entries were chosen for teachers and students in the humanities and social sciences, for scholars who are thinking of Utopias and Utopians as a subject of inquiry, and for readers who are curious about individuals who wanted to improve the world and what they did about it.

The choice of Utopian ventures was based on their illustrative value and origin. The dictionary is not comprehensive or representative. It shows, first, that most human efforts have produced a Utopian venture, and second, that Utopian . . .

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