Date of Degree

2-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor(s)

Carrie Hintz

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Intellectual History | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Women's History | Women's Studies

Keywords

utopia, utopian, Lesbian Land, Herland, Millenium Hall, queer community

Abstract

In my study of early feminist fiction and contemporary queer intentional communities, highly ambitious and nearly impossible aspirations emerged as a singular uniting theme. From early feminist novelists to the intrepid founders of lesbian lands, utopian women share a passionate commitment to transform the world. This thesis engages with feminist concepts of virtue and how they influence utopian projects in both fiction and in life, whether the word “virtue” itself is used to describe the project or not. Virtue has made a lasting impact on contemporary feminist utopian projects that sometimes creates conflict and often undermines its liberatory aspirations. When we look at the areas that most challenge contemporary queer utopian projects, we find clear connections to early modern feminist utopian fiction. In some ways, this ambitious moral legacy has lead to revolutionary ways of being a family. In other ways, the legacy of early feminism resides at the roots of racist and classist power dynamics that persist within contemporary queer families and communities.

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