University of Alaska Southeast

Evening at Egan Lecture

Juneau, AK
Date of Press Release: September 23, 2008

“Renaissance Utopian Thinking and Genocide: Why is it still Relevant?” 
Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Egan Lecture Hall, University of Alaska Southeast.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, utopian thinking in Western Europe had a ready outlet in the newly encountered Americas. Many utopian projects, such as those of the French Jesuits in the Great Lakes region and the English Puritans in New England, were intimately connected to the indigenous peoples of those areas. Paradoxically, idealistic literary productions such as Jesuit ethnographies and Puritan sermons had the effect of contributing to the genocide of Native Americans.

Ways in which this tragic result came about is the focus of the next Evening at Egan Lecture: “Renaissance Utopian Thinking and Genocide: Why is it still Relevant?” by Nina Chordas, Assistant Prof. of English, UAS. Nina Chordas earned her Ph.D. in English with a specialty in Renaissance Literature from the University of Oregon. Her book, Forms in Early Modern Utopia: The Ethnography of Perfection is forthcoming from Ashgate Press.

The Evening at Egan lecture series is held every Friday at 7 p.m. through November 21, 2008. The October 3 lecture is “European Anthropocentrism vs. American Ecocentrism: Clashing Values Regarding Wolves” with Dr. Alex Simon, Assistant Prof. of Sociology, UAS.  Dr. Simon will discuss his research about propaganda used to justify predator control programs in Alaska.

Visit the Evening at Egan Website for all scheduled lectures.


Nina Chordas

Assistant Professor of English

(907) 796-6407

Katie Bausler

University of Alaska Southeast

(907) 796-6530