The Society For Utopian Studies


24th Annual Meeting
San Antonio, TX
November 11-14, 1999

  1. The business meeting opened at 12:15 p.m. with a welcome from Society president, Naomi Jacobs (U of Maine), who thanked local coordinator Peter Fitting (U of Toronto) and also program director Alex MacDonald (Campion College/U of Regina) for their parts in the success of this year's conference. Also acknowledged was C. Lynne Fulmer (Southwest Texas State U), who helped out with local arrangements.

  2. Future meeting locations and dates were announced:

2000: The next meeting will be held in Vancouver, BC from October 19-22, at the Century Plaza Hotel and Spa. Program Chair: Nancy Goldberg (Middle Tennessee State U); Local Arrangements: Andrea Anderson.

2001: The following meeting will take place in Buffalo, NY from October 4-7, at the Hyatt Hotel. Program Chair: Phillip Wegner (U of Florida); Local Arrangements: Lynda Schneekloth (SUNY/Buffalo).

  1. The report of the Awards Committee came from Peter Stillman (Vassar C), who announced this year's award-winners: The Arthur O. Lewis Award went to Ashlie Lancaster (U of South Carolina) for her essay, "Instantiating Critical Utopia"; this award is given for the best paper by a nontenured scholar at the previous year's SUS annual meeting (1998, in this case); The Eugenio Battisti Award was shared this year between Lynda Schneekloth (SUNY/ Buffalo), and Phillip E. Wegner (U of Florida); Schneekloth's winning essay, "Unredeemably Utopian: Architecture and Making/Unmaking the World," appeared in Utopian Studies 9.1 (1998): 1-25; Wegner's essay, "Horizons, Figures, and Machines: The Dialectic of Utopia in the World of Fredric Jameson," appeared in Utopian Studies 9.2 (1998): 58-73. The Battisti Award goes to the best article in Utopian Studies the previous year.

  2. The criteria for the Distinguished Service Award were proposed and approved; section 3D will now read, "The Distinguished Service Award is for substantial achievement in support of utopian studies, broadly defined. Service may include achievements in teaching, and support of this society or other organizations that study utopia. Service also may include the dimension of reaching out to the non-academic community, such as developing museums, setting up archives, working the visual arts, design, architecture, or planning, or engaging with support organizations for communal societies. Service may be for diversified activities, or it may involve dedication to a single activity. In either case, the service must be sustained over an extensive period of time. Any member of the society may submit nominations to the committee for this award, together with appropriate supporting materials. Nominees need not be members of the Society for Utopian Studies, nor is service for the Society a requisite for nomination."

  3. The report of the Nominating Committee followed, with the election of the following persons: At-large members, Steering Committee: John Barbaret (Case Western Reserve); Rebecca Totaro (Florida Gulf Coast U) Awards Committee members: Robert Shelton (Michigan State); Susan Matarese (U of Louisville)

  4. Modification of the Society by-laws concerning the Nominating Committee was introduced, and approved. The new language will read as follows: "The Nominating Committee shall be charged with nominating members for the position of Chair of the Steering Committee and of Secretary/Treasurer, as well as the members of the Awards Committee and the at-large members of the Steering Committee. The slate of nominations will be presented and voted upon at the annual business meeting. Nominations for appointments on committees may also be made from the floor at the business meeting."

  5. A report on old business from 1998 was next on the agenda. At the 1998 business meeting, Robert Philmus offered a motion (seconded by Darko Suvin) that the Society consider whether it could or should endorse particular issues and become an advocacy organization. The assembly voted to have the Steering Committee consider the idea and place the issue on the agenda of the Œ99 business meeting. After discussion, the Steering Committee consensus was that such a change would be inappropriate for several reasons: it would significantly change the character of the organization, which is intended for scholarly exchange rather than for advocacy; it would eliminate our tax-exempt status, which would make our meetings in the US more costly (making us eligible to pay sales taxes) and would mean that members could no longer take charitable deductions for donations to the Society. However, individual members of the Society are always free to introduce issues from the floor at business meetings, to propose papers or panels dealing with specific social or political issues, and to distribute at the conferences written materials on issues of importance to them.

  6. The Treasurer's Report was offered by Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor, who reported that in our three accounts, the Society held the following balances as of November 13, 1999: Memphis: $5194.00 Toronto: about $650CN Wachovia: $15, 941.23 (beginning balance: $11,040.14; deposits and interest, +16,409.46; debits -11,508.37) Total: $21, 035.23 US; about $650 CN Dependent on income overage from this meeting, at least two more volumes of Utopian Studies can be funded.

    [REMINDER: Membership includes announcements regarding the annual meeting, Utopian Studies, and Utopus Discovered (newsletters). Dues are $45 for regular membership, $20 for students, retired and unemployed. Members can become a Sponsor for $100.00, a Benefactor for $200.00, or Patron for $300.00. Make checks payable to: The Society for Utopian Studies (checks should be drawn on a US bank in US dollars, or in the UK in the equivalent amount in British pounds, made out to Lyman Tower Sargent; or send an international money order. Mail to: Lyman Tower Sargent, Society for Utopian Studies, Department of Political Science, U of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121-4499. Note to members: Dues for the year 2000 are payable in January.]

  7. The report from the editor of Utopian Studies, Lyman Tower Sargent (U of Missouri/St. Louis), included the annual plea to reviewers to please meet deadlines, both for reviewing of books, and, especially, for reviewing of manuscripts. While there is enough money to continue publishing the journal, the problem of a more stable financial basis for the journal is something that needs to be discussed.

  8. The journal is completing its tenth year; volume 10, no. 1 is out; 10.2 is due out in January 2000. It continues to enjoy a steady stream of submissions, and with the continuing high review standards, most that are published go through at least some substantial revision. Sargent encouraged all present to consider submitting to the journal; he also stressed that more book reviewers are needed, particularly those fluent in languages other than English.

  9. Peter Sands (U of Wisconsin/Milwaukee) reported on the status of the "H-Net" proposal that came up as long as two years ago, when some members on the Utopia List began discussing moving to the "Humanities Net [H-Net]". The advantage of H-Net is that it allows for more "journal-like" scholarly apparatus; and, it allows for more "quality control." We have been granted permission to complete our application. Now needed are more volunteers for the advisory and editorial boards; a two-year commitment is desirable. To learn more about our presence on H-Net, or to volunteer for one of the committees, get in touch with Peter Sands by e-mail (

  10. Announcements came next:

    1. Longtime SUS member Ken Roemer (U of Texas/Arlington) has received the 1998 Writer of the Year Award in the Reference Work category from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers; the award was given for his Native American Writers of the United States (published 1997).

    2. The Utopian Studies Society (UK), which has languished recently, is being resurrected by Lucy Sargisson (Nottingham University) , and will hold a conference next June 19-20 (2000) at Nottingham. A call for papers will be e-mailed to all SUS members shortly.

    3. The Science Fiction Research Association has announced its 2000 meeting, which takes place June 28-July 2 in Cleveland Ohio. For more information on the association, the conference (call for papers, etc.), and other activities see the website at

    4. Lyman Tower Sargent announced that a historic (and historical) exhibit on the history of utopianism will open 4 April 2000 at the Bibliotheque Nationale, in Paris. It will run three months there, and then move on to the New York Public Library. Since the exhibit will be different in Paris and New York, members are invited to attend it in both locations! The exhibit includes medieval manuscripts, a draft of the Declaration of Independence, and materials on recent science fiction work.

    5. Peter Stillman, chair of the Awards Committee, urges members to consider submitting their work for the Battisti and Lewis Awards; the committee is also very interested though in receiving nominations for these awards, as the by-laws suggest; he also encouraged members to think about suggestions for the Distinguished Service and Distinguished Scholar awards.

    6. SUS president Naomi Jacobs reminded members that they could renew their membership for next year, saving the society the trouble and cost of sending so many reminders.


The meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m.

SUS Treasurer/Secretary:
Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor,
Department of English, University of Memphis



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