Professor Manderson keynotes this event being held at the University of Wollongong’s Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC).
In 1516, Thomas More published the first edition of Utopia in Leuven under Erasmus's editorship. Almost two years later, in 1518, he published a revised version in Basel. Since then, both the book and the fictional islandnation whose institutions and laws are its subject matter have come to embody one of the richest paradigms in modern political thought. Utopia is both a literary genre and a deeply contested political concept: a beacon of hope and dissent and, at the same time, a source of unease and fear. Five hundred years after the publication of the definitive edition of Utopia, the Legal Intersections Research Centre celebrates the wonders and perils of utopian thought in relation to the fiftieth anniversary of May 1968 – a historical moment in which the questions that Utopia raises were revisited, challenged and reinvented. As China Miéville suggests, we are all Thomas More’s children. At least once in our lifetime we have all dreamt about justice, recognition, deliverance, empowerment and a world that is otherwise.
The panel will explore the relevance of utopia today and its latent possibilities for advancing positive social change.