The Politics of Hope and Indignation – Two Case Studies 

Professor Darko Suvin, McGill University

Wednesday February 8th, 2.00-4.00pm (Online)


CMNH is delighted to welcome Visiting Research Fellow, Professor Darko Suvin, who will be giving a public lecture and follow-up two-day workshop in April (details to follow).

This lecture deals with two famous plays: Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, written and performed when Athenian democracy was being corrupted into empire, and Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, written during the Nazis’ preparation of a new world war and performed after it whenever new wars were being prepared or waged.  Mass murder of people by powerful rulers is the background to both. Aeschylus’s play is in a mythological framework, it functions by head-on conflict and precept, by identification with the larger-than-life protagonist. Brecht’s play is about the survival of little people in a life-long war, it functions by putting the conflict between the lines and events of each scene, by contraries involving a measured sympathetic distance.

Some key examples from both plays will be used to suggest that countering life-denying oppression has to begin with understanding the human position/s involved. It will be suggested that the states of mind proper to understanding are indignation at the dominant forces in our living together, and hope, however long.

This lecture will draw on Professor Suvin’s long engagement with the traditions of utopian literature and of utopianism. It will extend that engagement to the moments of conflict in these two dramatic texts to open up the position of indignation as a valuable one for both hermeneutics and politics in our own antiutopian age.

The lecture will be followed in early April by a workshop with Professor Suvin: Science Fiction, Utopianism and Antiutopia. This will take place across two days and will be accessible to online or to in-person participants.

Please note: there is a set of accompanying texts for people to read ahead of the lecture. Click here to access them. 

Short speaker bio: Darko R. Suvin, scholar, critic and poet, born 1930 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, is Professor Emeritus of McGill University and Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada. Was co-editor of Science-Fiction Studies, visiting professor at 10 universities, has won various awards for scholarship and prizes for poetry. Has published 35 book titles, edited 14 volumes, and written hundreds of articles on literature and dramaturgy, culture, utopian and science fiction, political epistemology and communism; also 3 volumes of poetry. Vita and essays at; papers

To book a place online, register via Ticketsource here.