This reference contains more than 600 cross-referenced dictionary entries on utopian thought and experimentation that span the centuries from ancient times to the present. The text not only covers utopian communities worldwide, but also its ideas from the well known such as those expounded in Thomas More's Utopia and the ideas of philosophers and reformers from ancient times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and from notable 20th-century figures. Included are the descriptions of utopian experiments attempted in the United Sates, like those of the Shakers, Oneida, Robert Owen, and the Fourierists, and elsewhere throughout the world from Europe to Australia, Latin America, and the Far East. Major utopian literary works and their literary counterparts and dystopian novels are also profiled because these have fueled the fires of time-honored arguments about the feasibility of creating a perfect society.
From the early theoreticians and thinkers who proposed republican, democratic, and authoritarian innovations; to those who sought equality of classes, races, and genders; to those who insisted on hierarchy under a supreme leader, or god; and to those who had more practical economic, social, and ethical plans, this reference enables the reader to explore the Western mind's desire to improve the world and the lives of the people within it as utopianism has persisted over the centuries.
James M. Morris is professor emeritus at Christopher Newport University where he taught American history, American military history, and Russian history. Andrea L. Kross is a freelance writer and former implementation consultant at Innovative Interfaces, Inc., a company that provides data profiling and indexing services to libraries across the nation.