The Uses of Utopia SUN 26 JUN


The Uses of Utopia
Conference + Concert
Clare College and the Round Church
26 June 2016 . 10h conference + 19h30 concert


In Archæologies of the Future, Fredric Jameson wonders: “can we invent a way of reading Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) so as to recover something of the shock and freshness of its elegant new Latin for the first European readers?” This symposium is both interdisciplinary investigation provoked by this question, and a celebratory reading for the 500th anniversary of More’s text.
10:00              Welcome Address: Sasha Amaya & Naomi Woo (Cambridge)

Keynote: Gregory Claeys (History and Political Thought, Royal Holloway)
Utopia at 500: A Final Reckoning?

10:45                 Panel: Receptions of Utopia

Cathy Shrank (Sheffield), Laura Scalabrella Spada (UCL), and John Guy (Cambridge)

11:30                  Tea and Coffee Break

11:45                 Panel: Transformations of Utopia

David M. Bell (Newscastle) and Tessa Smith (Humboldt)

12:30                 Keynote: Andrew Zurcher (English, Cambridge)
Utopian Stuff

1:15                  Lunch

14:00                 Panel: Literatures of Utopia

Sarah Lohmann (Durham) and Edwin van Meerkerk (Radboud)

15:00                 Panel: Appropriations of Utopia

Jonah Coe-Scharff (Cambridge), Cam Scott (artist), and Nicholas Johnson (artist)

16:00                 Afternoon Tea

16:15                 Keynote: Davina Cooper (Law and Political Theory, Kent Law School)
Creating Everyday Utopias Through Play: From Speakers’ Corner to the State

17:00                 Closing Remarks




In seeking to musically express some of the themes of More’s work, we were inspired by the primacy of the book’s structure. The first half of our concert, like the first half of More’s book, is composed of all things English. Works by Tye, Pygott, and Henry VIII express the religious ideals, social fabric, and political reality of the time. The second half of the concert comprises Franco-Flemish works, both speaking to the setting of Peter Giles’s and Raphael Hythloday’s discussion, the location where More wrote the second half of the book, and the idealised foreign land of Utopia.

Cam Scott
Tektology, sound installation, 2016

Christopher Tye (c. 1505 – before 1573)
Gloria from Western Wind Mass (Westron Wynde)

Richard Pygott (1485-1552)
Quid petis, O fili?

King Henry VIII (1491-1547)
Passtyme with Good Company

Louis d’Heudieres
various interpretations of utopian music
world premiere of new work, 2016

Clément Janequin (c. 1485-1558)
Le Chant des Oiseaux

Josquin des Prez ( – d. 1521)
Ave Maria…Virgo Serena


Rosalind Dobson (soprano), Leilani Barret (mezzo-soprano), Benedict Collins Rice (tenor), and Robbie Haylett (baritone)


21:00                 After Party at the Clare College MCR Whiskey Bar