Afterword - Decolonising utopia

To date, modernist thinking has dominated the interdisciplinary field of intellectual inquiry engaged with utopia and utopianism. In this article, I argue that in order to fully engage with the possibility of different utopias emerging in the early decades of the 21st century, we have to be prepared to decolonise the premise on which utopian imaginings are conventionally based. Drawing on the Northern Territory Intervention as the latest iteration of ongoing utopian aspirations by white Australians on behalf of indigenous peoples, I call for the pluralising and indigenising of utopian imaginaries. This entails, I go on to suggest, the recognition that non-Western constructions of what can be imagined as a better future are valid and legitimate. Moreover, in some instances these alternatives may even provide us with some instructive visions of our collective futures.


Eve Darian-Smith, Professor and Department Chair in Global Studies, University of California. Email:

Publish Date: 
November, 2016
Publication title: 
AJHR 22-2: Special issue on Utopias and human rights