Radical Utopian Communities

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Radical Utopian Communities:
Global Histories from the Margins, 1900-1950

Radical Utopian Communities analyzes communal life in the first half of the twentieth century all around the world. The research project investigates communes in various places with diverse cultural contexts, political positions, and religious orientations. Yet all of them developed surprisingly similar strategies to cope with the challenges of the modern world. They were both retreat and hub for activists, reformers, and revolutionaries, facilitating the meeting of people and sharing of ideas and experiences worldwide.

Radical Utopian Communities is a global history project unearthing marginalized histories of communal projects with new archival evidence and innovative historical narration. The communities are showcases for the high degree of mobility and connection in the early twentieth century. Simultaneously, the project critically engages with the image of borderless mobility and ideals of communal harmony. It sheds new light on people and communities who too often fall through the cracks of mainstream historiography but nevertheless provide invaluable angles to look at the modern world and its make-up from the margins. Their practices and experiences - as well as analyzing them - open up horizons of possibilities as they allow insights into actual accomplished alternative forms of community and subjectivity.

Funding and Location

Radical Utopian Communities is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung and their Freigeist-Fellowship program. The initial funding period is from January 2020 to December 2024. The project and the research team members are based at LMU Munich's School of History (Historisches Seminar), and closely affiliated with the Munich Centre for Global History.

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