Utopian Thinking and the Transformation of Environment

This event is part of the RECET History and Social Sciences Festival "Green Transformations"

Venue: Campus of the University of Vienna („Altes AKH“), festival tent in Hof 1

Position of the tent: https://goo.gl/maps/8FjYQNtdnaUiKCcs6

Roundtable discussion with Egidijus Mardosas (University of Vilnius), Iva Dimovska (CEU Democracy Institute), Marianna Szczygielska (Czech Academy of Sciences), moderated by Rasa Navickaitė (RECET)

The effects of modernity on our planet are glaringly obvious - the environment has been altered in ways that seem to be irreversible. Much of this is the direct result of the utopian social and political thinking that has dominated the Western thought, particularly since the 19th century. Our environments, our social lives and even our ways of thinking today are inseparable from the past efforts to engineer both nature and society. The efforts at improving the standard of living for all (or for a selected few) have come, however, at a great cost, asking us to reconsider our relationship with nature and with each other. In this panel we look at past and future utopias, the solutions for regeneration that they promise, the challenges that they envision and ask if the time of the grand utopia is over. Shall we reconsider the very premises of utopian thinking and find new ways to deal with the unruliness of nature? 

Egidijus Mardosas is a post-doctoral Research Fellow at Vilnius University, Department of Philosophy, currently pursuing a research project on the Anthropocene and eco-Marxist social thought. He is the author of Revolutionary Aristotelianism and Ideology: MacIntyre on Practical Reason and Virtue (Bloomsbury, 2024, forthcoming). He was awarded Emerging Scholar 2022 Award by the New Directions in the Humanities Research Network. Egidijus Mardosas was also a visiting scholar at Vienna Anthropocene Network in 2023.

Iva Dimovska is a Post-Doctoral Fellow, working on her project "Utopia and Nationalism in the Formation of Socialist Yugoslavia" (2022-2025) within the "Democracy in East Central European Utopianism" research group at the CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. She has a background in Comparative Literature and Gender Studies. She defended her PhD thesis "Queer(ing) Time in Modernism and How to Read it: James Joyce's Ulysses and Virginia Woolf's The Waves" at the Department of Gender Studies at CEU. She has taught courses in modernist literature, feminism and queer theory. Iva's research interests include: modernist literature, utopia and utopianism, socialism, 19th and 20th century literature, gender studies and feminism, and queer theory.

Marianna Szczygielska is a feminist historian of science. She brings queer and decolonial approaches into reflection on human-animal relations. She graduated from the Central European University in Budapest and authored a doctoral dissertation on zoological gardens. With a background in philosophy and gender studies, her research interests include environmental humanities, queer ecologies, and feminist science and technology studies. She is an associate editor of the Humanimalia journal. She currently works at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Rasa Navickaitė is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions postdoctoral fellow, working on the project entitled "Modernization of Sexuality and the Construction of Deviance in Soviet Lithuania (MoSeLit)". She is a gender historian with research interests in marginalized sexualities and gender identities, history of Eastern Europe in a transnational perspective, feminist and queer theory, and postcolonial theory