Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rebecca Weaver-Hightower


This dissertation argues that the utopian literary genre is an imperial construct that is contingent upon its imperial discourse. I argue that imperialism and utopian literature are intertwined with each other not only because of the different themes related to imperialism present in utopian literature, but also because utopian literature can only speak through imperial tropes and language. This dissertation traces the relationship between utopian literature and imperialism through the 16th, 19th, and late 20th century. The texts it discusses are More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Harrington’s Commonwealth of Oceana, Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race, Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Morris’ News From Nowhere, Rodenberry’s Star Trek and Le Guin’s The Dispossessed.