Nistler CoBPA Faculty Research

Celebrate the impact of our research.

Dr. Mark Jendrysik presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies

Dr. Mark Jendrysik

Dr. Mark Jendrysik, Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, presented two papers at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian in Austin, Texas, November 9 – 11.

The following papers are below:

Political Society Exists for the Sake of Noble Actions” Friendship and the Good Life in Utopia
Aristotle said in book three of The Politics that any real political society exists for goals beyond mere existence. He claims that the state exists for the “good life, and not for the sake of life only.” A political society cannot be a mere collection of individuals living in proximity to each other. A true society is based on friendship grounded in “family connections, brotherhoods, common sacrifices…” To achieve this good life, justice, that is equal treatment of those who are equal, must be attained.

In this paper, Jendrysik considers how these conditions are met and not met in several classic utopias. He considers if the classic utopias transcend “mere life” for these higher goods of friendship and the good life and how politics is deployed (or not) to do so. He asks if utopia teaches us to be friends and to desire the friendship of others. He also considers how utopian theory in general deals with the intersection of politics and the political in the quest for the “good life” of justice and friendship.

Look Upon My Works, ye Mighty and Despair: Crypto Communities, Blockchain Colonies and Desert Gigacities
Utopian desire expresses itself through design, in particular the design of new cities, cities that might produce truer and more human ways of living. The rise of crypto-currencies, the blockchain, so-called “smart” technologies, and artificial intelligence have encouraged a number new city designs and projects. Are these dreams truly utopian expressions? Alternatively, are they the products of the megalomaniacal dreams of dictators, or of a libertarian escape from governments and the problems the greater society? The lines between bold visions of a new future, the egomaniacal goals of tyrants and billionaires, and simple grifting can be hard to draw.