International Conference "Intentional Communities: Real Utopias in History"

Juan Pro's picture
Call for Papers
May 30, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Cultural History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Social Sciences, Political Science

International Conference

Intentional communities: Real utopias in History


(Madrid, Centro Cultural La Corrala, 25th-26th October 2021)


Organizers: Transatlantic Network for the Study of Utopias; HISTOPIA research group (research project: Emotional Spaces: Utopian Locations in Modern History)


Collaborators: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Centro Cultural La Corrala); Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires.


Today there are more and more efforts being made to depart from the modern world’s hegemonic system: that is, a world system dominated by the capitalist market economy.

But far from being a new response to these realities, the path to ‘intentional communities’ has a long history in the modern period.

Why is this? Why do these sorts of social movement develop? Where can we find their traces? Who are their key actors? What are the sources of the practical thought behind these initiatives? To what extent are they sustainable? What are their main proposals? What kinds of challenge do they tend to address?

This conference – led by the HISTOPIA research group - will bring together the experiences of people who are trying to build a different world today and those who study and research such experiences, whether with as regards the past, the present, or the future.

We are likewise seeking to include groups of educators who throughout recent history and in the present day have been working to prepare people for a utopian existence and to ensure that the lives of utopia’s future inhabitants are consistent with those utopian values from childhood.

Our aim is to exchange information, thoughts and concerns around the realities faced by those who have chosen to live differently so as to build a better world, and to share knowledge of plans for the future as well as projects that are already underway.

We believe this event will address a significant need in the contemporary world. It will provide a space for interaction, for sharing means to realise our goals, and for deepening our awareness that we are not alone in this undertaking.

We are open to a wide range of contributions, in relation to any aspect of the theory or practice of alternative communities, their history, life, and outlook. We provide here a non-exclusive list of fields that we believe are priorities for thought and debate


  • Thought and theory of intentional communities
  • Real experiences of specific communities, recounted by their protagonists or by specialists in any academic discipline
  • History of intentional communities (in all periods and any country)
  • Present situation of and outlook for intentional communities in the 21st century
  • Critical analysis of experiences within utopian communities: problems, lessons learnt, and challenges
  • Education and intentional communities: community pedagogy; alternative schools as intentional communities
  • Gendered dimensions of communities
  • Sustainability, relationship between the environment and ecological concerns from the viewpoint of alternative communities
  • Political and economic implications: intentional communities as part of struggle for social justice
  • Urban and rural utopian projects
  • Intentional communities and the plastic, scenic and literary arts
  • Visual culture and modes of self-representation of intentional communities
  • Dystopic communities


We welcome contributions to our shared thought and practice, with respect both to the above topics and to any others related to intentional communities. We welcome contributions from academics, intellectuals, teachers, politicians, activists, participants or former participants in utopian communities, and from other fields of life. The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and the research group to work together so as to further the understanding of these realities, to generate visions for the future, and to raise the profile of the wide range of projects presently seeking to prepare people for real utopias and to build a different world.


Deadlines and requirements for contributions to the Conference


         The Conference will take place in the Centro Cultural La Corrala of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (C/ Arniches, 3-5, 28005-Madrid), 25th-26th October 2021. Participation can be in-person or online.

We are open to four categories of contribution, which will be distributed across different sessions of the Conference:


  • Papers: 20 minutes delivery, with or without A/V, followed by discussion (alongside papers on a similar topic)
  • Audio-visual contributions: projection of audiovisual materials provided by the participants, followed by dialogue
  • Round tables: Debates organized by a moderator with 3-4 participants in relation to a given topic
  • Presentation of publications: there will be a special section of the Conference programme where authors and editors can present recent books or journal publications, in relation to the topic of the Conference, in a format they view as appropriate


We will take into consideration contributions in other formats proposed by potential participants.

The Conference will take place in English and Spanish. Contributions may use either of these languages.

The deadline for proposals is extended until 30th May 2021. The Academic Committee of the Conference will assess the proposals it receives and will announced the programme by 30th June 2021. Registration will be open from that point until 15th September.

Proposals should be sent by email to — before 30th May 2021 — with a Word document or similar with


  • Full name(s) and contact email
  • Title of proposal
  • Category of proposal (paper, round table, audio-visual presentation, or other)
  • Short proposal (500 words max)
  • Participant informaton (institutional affiliation, field of interest, location, relevant activities)


Academic Committee of the Conference


Diana Q Palardy (Youngstown State University, USA), Horacio Tarcus (CeDInCI -UNSAM, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Martín P. González (Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), Andrew Ginger (Northwestern University, United Kingdom), Georg W. Wink (København Universitet, Denmark), François Godicheau (Université Toulouse II Jean Jaurès, France), Julia Ramírez Blanco (Universitat de Barcelona), Elisabetta Di Minico (Independent Scholar, Italy), Juan Pro (UAM-CSIC), Jesús de Felipe, Hugo García, María Aguado, Carlos Ferrera  (UAM)


Organizing Committee – HISTOPIA Research Group


Jesús de Felipe, Juan Pro, Pedro J. Mariblanca, Luis Toledo, Elisabetta Di Minico, Ana C. Rey, María Aguado, Julia Ramírez Blanco, Martín P. González