Lecture

Dark Dystopias: 1984 and Brave New World

Dr. Edwin van Meerkerk
Blauwe Zaal Auditorium
Price: Free (Student) Free (Others)

In this series we’re delving into dark dystopias: futures full of doom and gloom. The first lecture will focus on the literary works 1984 and Brave New World.

Dystopian societies appear in many novels and films. They have shaped the way we think about the future and the present. The two most influential dystopian stories are George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The way we think about surveillance (‘Big Brother is watching you’), social pressure (’GroupThink’), and fake news (‘Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted’) has been shaped by these two novels. The first lecture in the series focuses on these two canonical works from the perspective of technology and surveillance.

In this series we’ll delve deeper into six works of fiction (in literature, film and TV series) that are set in dystopian societies. What are the characteristics of dystopias and why do they fascinate us so much? We’ll also discuss what we can learn from those stories and what is applicable to our societies today.    

Dr. Edwin van Meerkerk publishes and teaches on the subject of arts education and cultural policy as well as utopian and dystopian fiction. He is a senior fellow of the Comenius Programme for educational innovation.