Utopian Dreaming: 50 Years of Imagined Futures and at UCSC, November 6-7, 2015, UCSC Music Hall

A two-day conference celebrating UCSC's 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the publication of Ernest Callenbach's visionary novel. Celebrated science fiction writer, Kim Stanley Robinson, delivers the opening keynote on Friday, November 6, 2015, at 7:30pm. Presentations follow Saturday, November 7, 8:30am-5:30pm. All events take place in the Music Hall.

September 10, 2015

By , College Academic Programs Coordinator 

In 2015, UCSC is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, and Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia its fortieth.  Both the campus and novel are products of a period of ferment across California during the 1960s and 1970s.  Why has California been such a fertile and fruitful site for “Utopian Dreaming” in film, fiction, media, design, architecture, mobility, electronics, intentional communities, ecology and environment, counter-culture, and social movements?  What kinds of futures has our state come to represent?  What role has UCSC played in these imaginaries of the future?  Does California remain a Promised Land, or is it a Land of Squandered Promise?

On November 6 and 7, 2015, scholars, students, observers, and utopian dreamers will come together in a conference to celebrate those anniversaries and explore visions of the future that have emerged from California and UCSC about California and UCSC.  Presentation topics will run the gamut--from Ecotopia to technodystopia, from the real to the fantasized, from the past to the future--and will assess the impacts of utopian imaginaries on culture, politics, environment, cities, beliefs, and ideologies at UCSC, across California, and beyond.

Admission is free, but attendees are asked to register for the conference here


Conference Schedule

Friday, November 6, UCSC Music Hall, 7:30-10:00pm

Return to Ecotopia:  A celebration of the life and work of Ernest Callenbach

Keynote speaker:  Kim Stanley Robinson, “Ecotopia and the 1970s Utopian Moment”

Conversation and reminiscences about Ecotopia and Ernest Callenbach, with Malcolm Margolin (publisher, Heyday Books, Berkeley), Joanna Callenbach (Callenbach's daughter), and Richard Kahlenberg (Callenbach’s literary agent)


Saturday, November 7, UCSC Music Hall, 8:30am-5:30pm

8:30-9: Registration, continental breakfast, welcome

9:00-9:30:  Keynote: Fred McPherson, “Utopia at UCSC:  The Early Years”

9:30-11:00:  Panel I—California as Eco(u)topia
Benjamin Wurgaft (MIT), “All Futures Green and Chrome:  From Callenbach's Ecotopia to 21st-century Cornucopianism”
Kristin Miller (Sociology, UCSC), “Postcards from the Future”

11-11:15: Coffee break

11:15-12:45:  Panel II—Ecotopia and Apocalypse
Andrew Mathews (Anthropology, UCSC), “Terraforming California”
Ursula Heise (English, UCLA), “What’s the Matter with Dystopia?

12:45-1:30: Lunch

1:30-3:00:  Panel III—Imagining Other Utopian Worlds
Rosaura Sanchez and Beatrice Pita (Literature, UC San Diego), Title TBA
Miram Greenberg (Sociology, UCSC), “Whose Ecotopia?  Tracing Multiple Visions of a Sustainable Future in Northern California and Beyond"

3:00-3:15:  Coffee break

3:15-4:45:  Panel IV—California Techno-pasts and Utopian Futures
Fred Turner (Communications, Stanford), “From Counterculture To Cyberculture:  How The Whole Earth Catalog Brought Us Virtual Community”
Richard Barbrook (Hypermedia Research Center, U. of Westminster, London), “The California Ideology 2.0”

4:45-5:30:  Ronnie D. Lipschutz (College Eight and Politics, UCSC): “Eco-utopias and Other Such Futurist Dreaming in California”

For questions and information, download the conference flyer or contact Prof. Ronnie Lipschutz at rlipsch@ucsc.edu (email preferred) or 831-459-3275/459-2543. 


The Chicano Latino Research Center is proud to cosponsor this event with College Eight and funds from the Distinguished Visiting Professor Fund.