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SAMLA 88 – Utopia/Dystopia: Whose Paradise Is It?

SAMLA 88 Program Cover

SAMLA 88’s Conference Theme, Utopia/Dystopia: Whose Paradise is It?, asks participants to consider the dichotomies inherent in much of our literature, our literary traditions, and our history, as well as their effect on the world. If, as Wilde believed, that “progress is the realization of Utopias,” then our program cover, a juxtaposition of a 19th century map of the Trail of Tears and a 16th century map of Magellan’s Strait, prompts a vital investigation of Humanity’s search for “happiness” and the conflicting and numerous points of view surrounding such moments of “progress” along with how we define “Humanity” and “happiness” historically and contemporaneously. This hemispheric representation of our theme also invites consideration of the complex perspectives of human engagements since the dawn of the European Age of Exploration.