ANNOUNCE: Alternative Realities Conference Program (Culver City, CA, 16-17 April 2018)

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Alternative Realities: Utopian Thought in Times of Political Rupture

A two-day conference organized by The Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies (USC) and The Wende Museum. Co-sponsored by the German Historical Institute and the Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam (ZZF).  Additional support provided by the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, USC Dornsife Dean’s Office, and USC Dornsife Departments of Art History, History, and Slavic Languages and Literature

April 16-17, 2018


Conference Program 


DAY 1: Wende Museum

8:00 - 9:00 a.m.: Transport from hotel to the museum

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.: Reception with coffee and tea

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.: Museum tour

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.: Welcome and introduction

  • Paul Lerner (USC)
  • Joes Segal (Wende Museum)

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Panel I – Utopian Thinkers

  • Choi Chartterjee (California State University, Los Angeles),  “Emma Goldman, M. N. Roy and Re-imagining the Twentieth Century:  Selfhood and State Power”
  • Beáta Hock (Leibniz Institute, Leipzig), “Laboratories of Feminist Dreams:  The Bauhaus and After”
  • Robert-Jan Adriaansen (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), “Beyond Historicism: Utopian Thought in the Conservative Revolution”
  • Ruth Kinna (Loughborough University, UK), “Culture and Anarchy: History and Utopian Change”

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 - 4:00 p.m.: Panel II – State-Sponsored Utopia

  • Sarah Panzer (Missouri State University), “A Heroic Affinity:  The German-Japanese Alliance as Utopian Project”
  • Richtje Reinsma (Visual Artist, Amsterdam), “To Play Properly”
  • Sara Pugach (California State University, Los Angeles), “Pan-Africanism, African Socialism, and Marxism-Leninism: African Students and Challenges to East German Ideological Authority in the 1960s”
  • Oliver Sukrow (Technical University Vienna), “Networks: On the Utopian Qualities of Technology, Cybernetics, and Participation in the GDR of the Late 1960s”

4:00 - 4:30 p.m.: Coffee

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.: Panel III – Landed Utopias 

  • Katherine Lebow (Oxford University), “Radical Pedagogy: Social Science and Visions of the State in Interwar Poland”
  • Vitali Taichrib (Free University, Berlin), “Sensing Dystopia:  On the Interaction of Grand Visions and the Senses.  A Case Study on Peasant Utopian Ideas in the Soviet Union”
  • Erin Sullivan Maynes (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), “Local Utopias - Notgeld, Rural Identity, and Economic Isolation during the German Inflation”
  • Aviva Halamish (The Open University of Israel), “Kibbutz and Utopia: Social Success and Political Failure”

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Cocktail reception at the Wende Museum

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.: Dinner in Culver City


DAY 2: Doheny Memorial Library, Room 240, USC

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.: Reception with coffee and tea

9:30 – 10:00 a.m.: Feuchtwanger Memorial Library tour

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Panel IV – Art and Politics 

  • Mary-Ann Middelkoop (University of Cambridge), “Art, Weltgeltung and the New Germany: Conceptions of Foreign Art Policy in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1920”
  • Hunter Bivens (University of California at Santa Cruz), “Werner Bräunig’s Rummelplatz and the Utopia of Socialist Bio-Politics”
  • Nadine Siegert (University of Bayreuth), “The ‘Utopian Generation:’ Art and Propaganda in Angola’s Revolutionary Period, (1961-1980)
  • Sofia Kalo (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), “The Body in Albanian Visual Art: A Site for Witnessing Socialist and Post-Socialist Anxieties, Hopes, and Desires”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Panel V – Utopian Continuties and Discontinuities

  • Anna Krylova (Duke University), “The End of Utopia: From Bolshevik to Soviet Modernity”
  • Aniko Imre (University of Southern California), “Nostalgic Utopia: The Temporality of Late Socialist and Postsocialist TV”
  • Jennifer Allen (Yale University), “The Art of Practice and the Fate of the Future in Contemporary Germany”
  • Farrah Karapetian (Visual Artist, Los Angeles), “The Body Politic:  Meyerhold to My Barbarian”
  • Maarten Doorman (Maastricht University), “Revolution or Repetition: Woodstock’s Romanticism”

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.: Coffee

3:30 – 5:30 p.m.: Panel VI – The End of Utopia in the 21st Century?

  • Irina Kotkina (European University Institute, Florence), “Science Fiction Series Etnogenez and Post-Soviet Geopolitical Utopias”
  • Frederike Schneider-Vielsäcker (Free University, Berlin), “Alternative Chinese Futures:  Critical Reflections on the ‘China Dream’ in Contemporary Chinese Science Ficton Short Stories”
  • Ole Bouman (Shenzhen Design Society), “The Shenzhen Design Society as Utopian alternative”
  • Witte Hoogendijk (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), “Disruptive Technological Development as the Bottleneck Towards Utopia”

5:30 – 6:00 p.m.: Finale

  • Katya Tylevich (Visual Artist, Los Angeles), “Note to Shelf”

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Dinner at the Max Kade Institute




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