Institute of Para-Enactment Research
Softcore Historicism and Embodied Heritage



The term “utopia” derives from the combination of ancient greek words οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and was coined in 1516 by Thomas More in his book Utopia, where the main character Raphael finds the island of Utopia travelling to through America, where he spends five years observing the customs of the natives. The current meaning given to the term derives from the idealisation of the island described on the book, and can be described using Henry Giroux definition as  an imaginary community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its members

Wether utopia stands for a idealised space, there is another term related with the research of a idealised time, Uchronia.  writer Charles Renouvier coined the term Uchronia in an eponymous book published in 1988.

Referring to the pursuit of a social alternative no longer corresponding to the present related with gay and queer ientities, queer theorist Jose Esteban Muñoz published his book Cruising Utopia in 2009. On it, he claimed the Utopianism of queer thinking as a resource for the political imagination as related with futurity and potentiality, building on the work of  Ernst Bloch:

“For me, Bloch's utility has much to do with the way he theorizes utopia. He makes a critical distinction between abstract utopias and concrete utopias, valuing abstract utopias only insofar as they pose a critique function that fuels a critical and potentially trans-formative political imagination.' Abstract utopias falter for Bloch because they are untethered from any historical consciousness. Concrete utopias are relational to historically situated struggles, a collectivity that is actual-ized or potential In our everyday life abstract utopias are akin to banal optimism. (Recent calls for gay or queer optimism seem too close to elite homosexual evasion of politics.) Concrete utopias can also be daydream-like, but they are the hopes of a collective, an emergent group, or even the solitary oddball who is the one who dreams for many. Concrete utopias are the realm of educated hope. (...) Jill Dolan offers her own partially Blochian-derived mode of performance studies critique in Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theater.” 

Esteban Muñoz continues: "(utopia) is a tool to think about our lives and times differently, to look beyond a new version of the here and now on which so many around us who are bent on the normative count. (...) These pages have described aesthetic and political practices that need to be seen as necessary modes of step-ping out of this place and time to something Fuller, vaster, more sensual, and brighter. From shared critical dissatisfaction we arrive at collective potentiality. "

︎︎︎ Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. Sexual Cultures. New York: New York University Press, 2009.  

︎︎︎Giroux, Henry. “Utopian Thinking Under the Sign of Neoliberalism: Towards a Critical Pedagogy of Educated Hope.” Democracy & Nature 9, no. 1 (March 2003): 91–105. https://doi.org/10.1080/1085566032000074968.

︎︎︎More, Thomas. Utopia. Translated by Dominic Baker-Smith. London: Penguin Books, 2012.  

︎︎︎ Berlin, 2022

Distributed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
(More information here)