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Prof. PhDr. Martin Procházka, CSc. : "Early American Utopias - Equality and the Individual Self" on December 13, 2010.

Professor Procházka delivered an inspiring lecture in the English Department about the early colonial to mid-nineteenth century American experience of utopian religious communities, particularly Protestant religious sects which questioned traditions such as marriage, class distinctions and even erotic love. Citing the various utopian communities from Rhode Island, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Prof. Procházka presented the dystopian novels of Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810), America's first professional man of letters, whose gothic novels Alcuin (1798), Wieland (1798) and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist (1803/5) concern themselves with - among other things - the status of women and the management of sexuality, the mystical hallucinations resulting in a father murdering his entire family, and the imitation of the cry of Native Americans (specifically Mohawks) to derive power - one example of "pastoral power" (self-sacrifice for the community while watching over all individuals) employed to manipulate people). Prof. Procházka showed how these "communist" utopian communities in early America influenced the dystopian writings of the reform-minded Charles Brockden Brown in which the tyrannical and manipulative ways of managing commune members and the revelation of members' inner-most secrets veered off from utopian freedom from money and a life of simplicity. The audience in the English Department was further informed through outstanding historical photographs and drawings in Prof. Procházka's PowerPoint presentation accompanying his lecture.

- Christopher Koy




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