Utopias in History

Hosted by the Department of International History and LSE Literary Festival

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,


Dr Tim Hochstrasser

Dr Padraic Scanlan

Dr Kirsten Schulze


Professor David Stevenson

Utopias come in many shapes and sizes - theological, ideological, or pure fantastical and visionary projections that are intended to inspire or create enthusiasm for the creation of alternative ways of living. They can also be attempts to make those ideas real in practice, with a variety of outcomes, positive and negative. Three members of the International History Department look at case studies of theoretical and practical utopias from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Tim Hochstrasser will discuss "Utopias and Dystopias in 18th century Political Economy: Mandeville, Voltaire and Smith".  Padraic Scanlan will discuss "Freedom and Slavery in West African Colonial Utopias". Kirsten Schulze will discuss "Islamic State and the utopia of the Caliphate".

Tim Hochstrasser is Associate Professor in the Department of International History at LSE. He studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and gained his degrees from Cambridge University. He has also worked in a teaching and research capacity at Downing College, Cambridge and Keble College, Oxford and held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship. 

Padraic Scanlan is Assistant Professor in the Department of International History at LSE. He is an historian of the British empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a particular focus on the histories of slavery and emancipation. His research centres on the practices and material history of the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, and the effects of abolition on the governance of Britain and the British empire. He is also broadly interested in the social and administrative histories of bureaucrats and bureaucracies, and in the history of everyday economic life.

Kirsten Schulze is Associate Professor in International History at LSE. She was the head of the LSE IDEAS Southeast Asia Program between 2012-2014, and has been Deputy Director of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre since 2015. From 2005-2012 she ran the Indonesia Seminar as part of the Chatham House Asia Program. Dr Schulze has conducted research on armed conflicts in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  She has a DPhil from Oxford University (1994) and worked as a Lecturer in Politics at Queen’s University Belfast (1994-1995).

David Stevenson is Stevenson Professor of International History at LSE.

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) is one of the top five university history departments in the UK.

This event formed part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2016 with the theme "Utopias".

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELitFest


A podcast of this event is available to download from Utopias in History

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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