Nissan Seminar: Radical Utopian Communities: Japan, South Africa, and Jamaica in the Early Twentieth Century

Convener(s): Dr Natalia Doan and Professor Sho Konishi

Speaker(s): Dr. Robert Kramm, Freigeist-Fellow & Principal Investigator, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich Centre for Global History & Modern and Contemporary History

These seminars will occur live and will not be recorded. Unauthorized recording is strictly prohibited.

Please click on the seminar title to register in advance and receive the meeting details.

Zoom registration: Radical Utopian Communities: Japan, South Africa, and Jamaica in the Early Twentieth Century

**This hybrid talk will take place from 17:00 to 18:30 in the Nissan Lecture Theatre and on Zoom.**.  Please contact the Nissan Institute Administrator for further details.


Robert Kramm holds a doctoral degree in history from ETH Zurich and is currently Freigeist-Fellow in the School of History at LMU Munich. At LMU, he is the principal investigator of the research group “Radical Utopian Communities,” and a member of the Munich Centre for Global History and the Center for Advanced Studies. His first book, Sanitized Sex, was published in 2017 by University of California Press, he co-edited Global Anti-Vice Activism (CUP, 2016), and he has published in Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Women’s History, and Journal of World History.


In the early twentieth century, radical utopian communities were built all around the world. This talk investigates communal life in various places of the non-Western world, including imperial Japan, South Africa, and Jamaica. Despite the communes’ distinct cultural and historical contexts, bringing them into conversation demonstrates their global integration, modernity, and similarity across different imperial formations. Analyzing people and communities who too often fall through the cracks of mainstream historiography provides unexpected angles to look at the modern world and its make-up from the margins. They open up horizons of possibilities—and they allow us critical engagement with alternative forms of community and subjectivity beyond nation and capital.