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Alternative Worlds

Blue-Sky Thinking since 1900


Ricarda Vidal and Ingo Cornils

In an attempt to counteract the doom and gloom of the economic crisis and the politicians’ overused dictum that ‘there is no alternative’, this interdisciplinary collection presents a number of alternative worlds that were conceived over the course of the last century. While change at the macro level was the focus of most of the ideological struggles of the twentieth century, the real impetus for change came from the blue-sky thinking of scientists, engineers, architects, sociologists, planners and writers, all of whom imagined alternatives to the status quo.
Following a roughly chronological order from the turn of the nineteenth century to the present, this book explores the dreams, plans and hopes as well as the nightmares and fears that are an integral part of alternative thinking in the Western hemisphere. The alternative worlds at the centre of the individual essays can each be seen as crucial to the history of the past one hundred years. While these alternative worlds reflect their particular cultural context, they also inform historical developments in a wider sense and continue to resonate in the present.
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Notes on Contributors


MAURO J. CARACCIOLI is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). His research focuses on the intersection of empire and nature, bringing the history of political thought into conversation with environmental political theory. Additionally, Mauro is interested in narratives of human cognition, political ecology in Latin America, and international theory. Currently, Mauro is working on the legacies of natural history on early modern and contemporary political ideals. .

BOUKJE CNOSSEN is an academic researcher and art critic currently residing in Amsterdam. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Amsterdam and an MRes in Humanities & Cultural Studies from the London Consortium (Birkbeck College). She is currently a funded PhD candidate at Tilburg University, where she is writing a doctoral thesis on creative spaces and communities. She has also covered numerous art exhibitions and theatre and dance performances for various Dutch national newspapers and international magazines, including NRC Handelsblad, Metropolis M and Time Out Amsterdam.

INGO CORNILS is Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on German science fiction, the German Student Movement, and Hermann Hesse. Recent volumes include: with Sarah Waters: Memories of 1968: International Perspectives (2010); A Companion to the Works of Hermann Hesse (2009); with Gerrit-Jan Berendse: Baader-Meinhof Returns: History and Cultural Memory of German Left-Wing Terrorism (2008). He is currently writing a monograph on the construction of ‘1968’ in...

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