U.S.: Utopias, an intermediate history course taught by Kim Frederick, has approached the end of its biggest project, the Utopia Expo. Students in this course explored a variety of utopian societies in the U.S in the nineteenth century throughout the semester. For the expo, each group of students focused on one utopia and tried to recruit attendees to their society. Students dressed up according to their respective utopia, giving out brochures, maps, food, and freebies while showcasing a comprehensive understanding of their societies.
The unique project intrigued many students taking the course. Isabelle Aish ’22, whose group worked on the Oneida Society, said, “It was a very interesting project, unlike anything I had ever done before.” At the same time, it was challenging and demanded a great amount of effort. Wendi Wang ’22 said, “[it] required mindful reflections on the historical documents we have read at the beginning of the school year and extensive research on historical contents, clothing, food, and exhibition.”
The expo featured societies such as the Shakers, New Harmony, Oneida, and Modern Times, each inspired by a different motive. Whether it was religious, philosophical, or political, the founders of these communities employed various approaches to ultimately create their own heavens on Earth. Wendi, who’s group focused on the Modern Times society, offered a peek into their utopia. “The most attractive aspect of our community is using labor notes as the means of exchange instead of money. For example, if a cleaner cleans a teacher’s house for one hour, the teacher could pay the cleaner back by teaching the cleaners child for one hour.”
All was unveiled at the expo, which took place in the Ransom Room from 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm on Thursday, December 5th.