Mosse Lecture: The Utopian Prerogative

Sep 01, 2022  | 5:00 - 7:00pm PT

Lecture at The David Brower Center, Berkeley CA | Speaker: Ilija Trojanow

Organized by the UC Berkeley German Department in collaboration with the German Historical Institute Washington | Pacific Office Berkeley, The UC Berkeley Institute of European Studies, and The Mosse Foundation

"Each day we are sold different versions of yesterday, but rarely offered a different tomorrow. The apocalypse streams into every household at a flat rate. In an era of dystopian forebodings, the future can no longer be taken for granted, and optimism is under siege. It seems high time for a reboot of utopian literature, in which a space that is not, may yet come to be in the future. We are near forgetting that history is not a foregone conclusion, and that fatalism is the last refuge of the coward. How we shape the future lies in our own hands, but with the prerequisite that we are ready to think ahead, into the unknown and uncertain, imagining alternatives to given paradigms. If the seeds of human progress are indeed planted by ideas before they can blossom into transformations, utopian narratives are of existential importance." – Ilija Trojanow speaks as a novelist who has spent the past years working on a utopian novel and exploring the history of Utopia. A political activist, he initiated Der utopische Raum, a multimedia platform for debate on visionary, provocative thinking in Vienna, Frankfurt, and soon, Hamburg. At a time when we reckon with our destruction of nature and of imagination, Trojanow's work encourages us to scrub clear our overclouded skies and remind ourselves: what is literature if not unshackled fancy?