Bronislaw Baczko


Premio Balzan 2011 per gli studi sull'Illuminismo

Progetto di ricerca

A Critical Dictionary of Utopia in the Century of the Enlightenment

Bronislaw Baczko† was Honorary Professor at the Université de Genève. The purpose of his research project was to fill the gap in current existing reference works on utopia with the publication of a collective reference work containing contributions from the most respected international scholars in the field.

Several fundamental features distinguish this endeavour. First, the tradition of utopia is not treated in its full temporal and historical scope. The Enlightenment is understood in a broad chronological sense, from the second half of the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century, and this Dictionnaire critique regards utopia as a model of thought and speech which underlay the profoundly reformist tendencies of the eighteenth century. From this perspective, the articles in the Dictionnaire critique do not deal with works or authors singularly. Rather, separate entries deal with the abstract concepts that define the horizon of utopia, and concern objects that exerted significant influence on the reformist thinking of the Enlightenment, building on the literary tradition, and on philosophical and political aspects of utopia. Approximately fifty entries have been put together, which should permit the fullest possible expression of this milieu.

The project directors’ intent was not to give a fixed definition of utopia which might serve as a common matrix for the articles. Rather than a model or a determined object, the concept of utopia around which the authors were invited to think can be regarded as a set of discursive and narrative embodiments that provide a multifaceted body to this prospective and reformist thought process. Thus, the authors were free to define the approach they deemed most appropriate.

The development of the project involved graduate students from the École doctorale interdisciplinaire dix-huitiémiste of the Université de Genève, Université de Lausanne, Université de Neuchâtel, Université de Fribourg, Universität Bern. Workshops were organized with the authors of the relevant articles.

The work of managing the project, drafting the articles, the overall elaboration of the index and bibliography, as well as the illustrations, was entrusted to a coordinator appointed for a period of two years. The contents consist of the following entries: Amérique; Amour; Anciens et modernes; Animal; Anti-utopie; Architecture; Arts; Bible; Corps humain; Communication; Crime et châtiments; Démographie; Droits de l’homme; Economie; Esclavage; État; Famille et education; Femme; Géographie; Guerre et Paix; Homme de lettres; Illustrations; Jardins; Langue; Législation; Livres et bibliothèques; Loi; Luxe; Mal; Mathématiques et géométrie; Missions jésuites; Mœurs; Mort; Nature; Paradis; Paraguay; Pauvreté; Paysage; Pirates, Piraterie; Polices; Propriété; Religions; Réseaux; Révolution; Révolution française; Santé; Sauvage; Savant; Sciences et Techniques; Sexualité; Sujet – Citoyen; Temps; Ville; Voyage.

The following authors contributed to the dictionary: Jean-Christophe Abramovici (Université de Paris-Sorbonne); Bronislaw Baczko † (Université de Genève); Pierre- Yves Beaurepaire (Université de Nice); Ugo Bellagamba (Université de Nice); Marc-André Bernier (Université du Québec à Trois Rivières); Marie-Françoise Bosquet (Université de La Réunion); Fabrice Brandli (Université de Genève); Joël Castonguay-Bélanger (University of British Columbia); Marco Cicchini (Université de Genève); Yves Citton (Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3); Deborah Cohen (Université d’Aix-Marseille); Jean Ehrard (Université de Clermont-Ferrand); Jérôme Ferrand (Université de Grenoble); Vincenzo Ferrone (Università di Torino); Laurence Fontaine (CRH-CNRS/EHESS); Vita Fortunati (Università di Bologna); Jean-Marie Goulemot (Université de Tours); Audrey Higelin-Fusté (Université de Grenoble); Girolamo Imbruglia (Università di Napoli); Claire Jaquier (Université de Neuchâtel); Catherine Larrère (Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne); Antoine Lilti (École nationale supérieure, Paris); Stéphanie Lojkine (Université d’Aix-Marseille); Robin Majeur (Université de Genève); Jean-Clément Martin (Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne); Didier Masseau (Université de Tours); Helder Mendes Baiao (Université de Lausanne); Anne-Marie Mercier-Faivrè (Université de Lyon I); Christian Michel (Université de Lausanne); Vincent Milliot (Université de Caen); Giovanni Paoletti (Università di Pisa); Adrien Paschoud (Université de Lausanne); Paul Pelckmans (Universiteit Antwerpen); Krzysztof Pomian (CNRS, Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika w Toruniu, Poland); Michel Porret (Université de Genève); Jean- Michel Racault (Université de la Réunion); Claude Reichler (Université de Lausanne); Jean-Marc Rohrbasser (INRD - Institut national de recherches démographiques); François Rosset (Université de Lausanne); Stéphanie Roza (Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne); Pierre Serna (Université de Paris I); Gabriella Silvestrini (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale «Amedeo Avogadro»); Stéphane Van Damme (European University Institut, Florence); Nathalie Vuillernin (Université de Neuchâtel); Przemyslaw B. Witkowski (Université de Montpellier III).

The dictionary was published by Georg of Geneva in 2016.

Dictionnaire critique de l’utopie au temps des Lumières. Edited by Bronislaw Baczko, Michel Porret and François Rosset. Geneva: Georg, 2016.

Excerpt from the: The Balzan Prizewinners’ Research Projects: An Overview 2018