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Practical Utopias

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number PRACT-UG1480
Section 001
Instructor Mark Read
Days Mon Wed
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Formerly titled "Insistence and Possibility: New and Alternate Economy Projects in 21st-Century New York ."


There are approximately 67 worker-owned cooperatives currently operating in New York City, as well as numerous collective housing projects, intentional communities, community gardens, urban farms, and participatory budgeting initiatives. These represent a fast growing trend in New York, and nationally. What ethical principles or ideological positions do such projects hold in common, if any? What desires, needs and aspirations do they attempt to address? Do they form a challenge to capitalism, do they see themselves as operating outside of it, or both? Upon what kinds of possibility do such projects and initiatives ultimately insist? In this class, students will examine the social, political and historical trajectories of which these projects and initiatives are a part, through weekly reading and writing assignments, group presentations, and vigorous conversation. As community- engaged learners and participant-researchers, students will be asked to engage directly and deeply with a specific ongoing new/alternative economy project in the city, selected from a long and growing list. Students will prepare reports to present to the class as their participation-research unfolds. The culminating project of the course will be a research-based paper, presentation or art project of the students’ design. Collaboration will be encouraged.


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Course Type

Practicum (PRACT-UG)