The Midwest Conference on Utopian Studies at Valparaiso University is a regional conference dedicated to exploring the rich tradition of utopianism in all its forms, from the conceptual to the actual, from antiquity to the present day.
In the context of a wider culture that commonly employs the term “utopian” as a pejorative to dismiss the views of an opponent as hopelessly naïve and unrealistic, the conference seeks to reclaim the utopian impulse as a vital expression of hope and the ongoing process of building societies that promote human emancipation.
The conference will be held at the beautiful Harre Union in the heart of Valparaiso University’s campus. In order to create an intimate and collegial experience for all participants, the conference will consist only of plenary sessions so that everyone can benefit from each other’s research.
The keynote speaker for the conference is Dr. Gib Prettyman, Associate Professor of English at Penn State, Fayette. Dr. Prettyman has published articles and reviews on utopian literature in prominent journals such as Utopian Studies, Extrapolation, and American Literary Realism. He has also served in leadership positions for the Society for Utopian Studies since 2008.
The Midwest Conference on Utopian Studies is supported by Valparaiso University’s College of Arts and Sciences, the departments of English and History, as well as by the English department at Simpson University, California.