Heo/Geo Lecture Series 2023-05: Marie Karner and Elisabeth Sommerlad on sustainable utopias

In response to the current multiple moments of crisis, many countries are implementing large projects that promise sustainable, cohesive, inclusive, and viable lifestyles. Well-connected elites engaged in these projects imagine, plan, and realise visions of sustainable and vibrant living together, shaped by the belief in technologies and enabled by enormous amounts of capital.

For the fifth Heo/Geo Lecture Series, sponsored jointly by the UP Department of Geography and the Philippine Geographical Society, two scholars look at projects in Mauritius that can be interpreted as sustainable utopias (“sutopias”). These projects are already realized or in the process of being implemented. They are analyzed by applying a ‘critical sustainabilities’ approach (cf. Sze et al. 2018, Greenberg 2018, 2022) –  a concept that integrates multi-layered extended dimensions of sustainability (“multiple sustainabilities”). 

Dr. Marie Karner (Johannes Guttenberg University Mainz) and Dr. Elisabeth Sommerlad (University of Trier) will co-present “Sutopian Projects in Mauritius between Cohesive Communities and Fragmenting Sustainability” on Tuesday, 25 April 2023 at 5:00 PM PHT GMT +8:00 (11:00 AM CET GMT+2:00). 

The empirically based analysis from the presentation shows that the negotiated, presented and staged sustainability dimensions have varying meanings. The projects address and fulfill the needs of most financially strong target groups in delimited spaces and thereby have an uneven fragmenting effect on society as a whole. Building on the scholars’ observations, fragmenting sustainability as a further, impact-related dimension of the critical sustainability debate is proposed. 

Dr. Marie Karner studied geography, economics, and media science before joining the Institute of Geography at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2013. Her research interests include urban transformations and processes of touristification with a regional focus on the Gulf states, Australia, Brazil, the Caribbean, and Lebanon. 

Dr. Elisabeth Sommerlad studied geography, media, and sociology before joining the Institute of Geography at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2013. Alongside research on media and film geography, she is concerned with urban transformations, geographies of encounter, touristification, and matters of critical cartography with a regional focus on the island state of Mauritius. Dr. Sommerlad currently acts as a substitute professor for Tourism Geography at the University of Trier.

To participate in the lecture, click the Zoom link to register: https://tinyurl.com/44ubb3yu 

This lecture is part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the UP Department of Geography.


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