Recently the English Department hosted a Utopia/Dystopia Symposium that included a variety of disciplines. The event was incredibly compelling. I particularly found the intersectionality of English with Science, History, Law, Business and many other disciplines the most interesting.
The concept of utopias and dystopias was not limited to written stories but rather showcased how such ideas occupy every realm of reality. As such, the event included various methods of interpretation in regards to the theme of utopias and dystopias.
The Symposium opened with a welcome speech and a showing of “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The film was action packed and undoubtedly showcased a dystopian world full of conflict. “Fury Road” may be analyzed through various lenses such as the feminist lens whereby the film appears to showcase the female lead, Furiosa, as opposed to the male lead, Max. And of course, further portrayed through the various women throughout the film and the freedom they seek with the help of Furiosa, Max and Nux.
However, the presentations held the following day were by far the highlight of the Symposium. There were two “professor panels,” a student panel and a wonderful keynote speaker who showcased his film titled “After Yang.”
I found the intersectionality of the speeches across various disciplines the most captivating throughout the day’s events. I believed all speeches were relevant to the theme of utopia and dystopia and proved just how interconnected all these fields of research really are. It goes to show that science, law, history and literature all speak on the behalf of similar situations that seem to plague our conceptions of utopias and dystopias. The student panel included conversations about films, shows and literary texts. An interesting discussion of stories followed with the keynote speaker and, later, his film was displayed at Coyote Twin Theatre.
The event was a huge success. The range of topics from AI, to Sustainability, to History, to Law, to Literature, the Symposium undoubtedly shaped my perspectives on utopias and dystopias in the modern world. The experience has encouraged me to attend more events and conferences hosted by the University, particularly the English Department.