Steps Into Other Worlds
". . . a highly readable and structured discussion about utopian thinking at the beginning of
the 21st century . . . It is indeed fortunate that political scientists, historians, philosophers,
art critics, and literary theorists have come together to share their thinking on utopia and
utopian thought at this disastrous moment of human history, when many are asking if there
is a future to which to look forward." - European Legacy
After the breakdown of socialist and communist systems in the East, it became fashionable to
declare the so-called "end of utopia" ("end of history," "end of narratives"). The authors of
this volume do not share this view but think that it is time to rehabilitate utopian thought.
The political concept of Utopia that has given its name to these transcendental projections
onto the world has been too narrow to describe and analyze the moving forces of the mind
perceiving human existence beyond reality. By broadening the perspectives of utopian
studies, these essays enable the reader to reconstruct scholarly paradigms and strategies of
utopian, complex and holistic thinking in modern cosmology, philosophy, sociology, in literary,
historical and political sciences, and to compare traditions and ways of Western utopian
thought to the practice in the East.
Jörn Rüsen was Professor of Modern History at Universities Bochum and Bielefeld for many
years. From 1994 to 1997 he was Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at
Bielefeld. Since 1997 he has been President of the Institute for Advanced Study in the
Humanities Essen (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut).
Michael Fehr has been Director of the Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum of the City of Hagen,
Germany, since 1987. Prior to that he was Assistant Professor at the Bergische Universität
Wuppertal, and Deputy Director at the Art Museum of the City of Bochum. He has published
extensively on contemporary art as well as on theory of museums, and teaches museology at
University of Bonn.
Thomas W. Rieger worked at the Museum of Contemporary History Bonn (Stiftung Haus der
Geschichte) from 1993 to 1998, and since 1999 at Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum Hagen. He has
been teaching Theory of Architecture at RWTH Aachen and has been Curator at Kunsthalle
Düsseldorf since 2004.
Jörn Rüsen was Professor of Modern History at Universities Bochum and Bielefeld for many years. From 1994 to 1997 he was Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld. Since 1997 he has been President of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut). He specialises in theory and methodology of historical sciences, the history of historiography, intercultural aspects of historical thinking, theory of historical learning, and the history of human rights.