Constance Furey Indiana University, Department of Religious Studies, Sycamore Hall, Rm. 227

Search for other papers by Constance Furey in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



This paper analyzes how the "new" genre of Utopia (nominally invented by Thomas More in the sixteenth century) historicizes in a way that is not, strictly speaking, tied to history. More builds his imaginary world using details culled from life in sixteenth-century England, and Utopia—a fictional island society—is itself a commentary on the values and politics of More's society. This dual focus on the real and the ideal explains why this prosaic genre has intrigued so many commentators, notably Fredric Jameson, who (I argue) has written repeatedly about Utopia as a way to think through the unresolved implications of his own injunction to historicize. Working out of a commitment to historical materialism, Jameson has found it difficult to articulate hope for an alternative future that is itself appropriately historicized and not naively utopian. Analyzing More and Jameson in tandem thereby illuminates the theoretical dilemmas involved in critiquing history.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 183 22 0
Full Text Views 109 3 0
PDF Views & Downloads 67 11 1