500 Years of Utopia

November 9, 2016 - February 28, 2017
Location: DML - Treasure Room

    For 500 years, utopia—a word coined by Sir Thomas More to describe the ideal city—has been used as popular shorthand for a perfect world and lies at the heart of the Western political imagination. But what does it really mean today in the context of 21st-century urbanism, especially in a megacity like Los Angeles that has been the setting for utopian and dystopian thinking almost since its founding? A new exhibition of materials from the USC Libraries' collections explores these questions, the history of utopian thinking, and the fine line between utopia and dystopia.

    Opening Reception
    Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 5:30 p.m.
    Doheny Memorial Library

    In conjunction with the exhibiton, three discussions, marking the December 2016 half-millennium anniversary of the book’s publication, consider L.A.’s relation to Utopia from diverse perspectives, amid questions about the area’s natural and built environments, political representation, regional hydrology, and large-scale, intractable problems such as homelessness and income inequality:

    Governing Paradise
    Saturday, October 15, 2016, 1 p.m.
    Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, Doheny Memorial Library 240
    For more info, click here.

    Designing Utopia
    Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 7 p.m.
    Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, Doheny Memorial Library 240
    For more info, click here.

    Utopian Representations
    Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 5 p.m.
    Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, Doheny Memorial Library 240
    For more info, click here.


    Frontispiece from a circa 1518 copy of Utopia, part of the USC Libraries' Special Collections