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Transgressive Utopianism

Essays in Honor of Lucy Sargisson


Edited By Raffaella Baccolini and Lyman Tower Sargent

In 2014, when Lucy Sargisson was promoted to professor in the School of Politics and International Relations, at the University of Nottingham, she became the first and, so far, only, professor of utopian studies. This choice symbolized the centrality of utopianism to her life, thought, and educational practice. In three books, each in their own way groundbreaking, a fourth book co-authored by one of us, and in important articles, her work falls into four primary areas: political theory, feminism, environmentalism, and intentional communities, with much of her work intersecting two, three, or even all four. And in all her work, she brings the lens of utopianism to bear on the subject and, in doing so, illuminates both utopianism and the subject at hand. The volume honors Sargisson’s contributions to the field of utopian studies, with contributions by Ibtisam Ahmed, Raffaella Baccolini, David M. Bell, Suryamayi Clarence-Smith, Chris Coates, Elena Colombo, Davina Cooper, Rhiannon Firth, Ruth Levitas, Sarah Lohmann, Almudena Machado-Jiménez, Dunja M. Mohr, Tom Moylan, Robyn Muir, José Reis, Lyman Tower Sargent, Lucy Sargisson, Simon Spiegel, Maria Varsam, and Laura Winter.

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Gratitude for a Utopian Friendship



I heard about this Festschrift after the conversation with Lucy Sargisson’s other PhD students had already taken place, but I did not want to miss the chance of contributing to this volume. I am very thankful to Lyman Tower Sargent for inviting me to submit this stand-alone contribution after having read the beautiful conversation piece on “Utopia, Pedagogy and Care” by Ibtisam Ahmed, David M. Bell, Elena Colombo, and Robyn Muir. Similarly to their contribution, I hope to reflect on some of the ways in which Lucy’s work (again, in every sense of the term) has affected me. I found this piece rather difficult to write because I consider my relationship with Lucy not simply as that of an erstwhile student to their supervisor, but as a lifelong friendship, and friendships are personal, and hard to write about. Nonetheless I view this as a wonderful opportunity to reflect and to express gratitude for the ways in which Lucy’s mentorship, support, and guidance have moved my life. Lucy’s political project has been about breaking down the boundaries between the public and the private, and I have often felt inspired by the deep integrity between Lucy’s academic project and her lived life.

My path to meeting Lucy began in 2003, after I had completed a degree in Combined Studies at the University of Leicester. It was a broad-based degree in which I selected to focus on Politics, English, and Economic and Social History. Despite obtaining a First, and having a...

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