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Grant number: FT-249415-16

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Irene Cheng
California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA 94107-2247)

The Shape of Utopia: Architecture and Radical Reform in 19th-Century America

A book-length study of geometric ideal plans for cities and buildings that reflect utopian movements in 18th- and 19th-century America.

The Shape of Utopia explores six American “geometric utopias,” plans for ideal cities and buildings published between 1776 and 1880 by reformers affiliated with movements such as anarchism, phrenology, Spiritualism, vegetarianism and land reform. The book asks what led some nineteenth-century Americans to see a link between gridded territories, hexagonal cities, and octagonal houses, on one hand, and a more perfect liberal democracy, on the other. It investigates the political ideologies and visual cultural contexts of the nineteenth-century American utopian imagination.

Project fields:
American Studies; Architecture; U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016