Disappointed Utopia:
An abandoned book project

About the project

What is a disappointed utopia?

A place where utopia is part of the culture and everyone is incredulous about it.

A place where people are committed to things they are also incredulous about.

A place where people share the heavy load of idealism among each other, where they let it ricochet back and forth, with a cacophonous division of labor.

A disappointed utopia is a place that grapples with the history of racial violence, colonization, patriarchy, queer struggle, women's inclusion, precarious labor, class hierarchy, and generalized alienation.

This is an unfinished book about one of those places.

About the author
photo of the author

Eli Nova Rose (formerly Thorkelson) is a nonbinary ex-academic. She got an anthropology Ph.D. in 2014 from the always problematic University of Chicago. The first draft of this book was her doctoral dissertation, Hostile Futures: Radical Philosophy and the French University Movement of 2009. She left academia in 2019; this would have been her first academic book if she had stayed.

she/they/elle pronouns, please.


I’m very grateful to all my family, friends, former friends, teachers, former teachers, and former colleagues who contributed to the book revisions between 2014 (when I finished the dissertation) and 2019 (when I gave up on publishing the book).

I still feel a big debt to everyone in France who collaborated with me, participated in the research, talked to me, welcomed me, and saw something valuable in the project. And a special, immense gratitude to Charles Soulié.

The relationships really began with the Ronde Infinie des Obstinés, on some dark autumn evening in 2009. Let’s not underestimate the relationships that begin at utopian protests.


It is very possible that errors of fact or interpretation appear in the manuscript. I would be happy to correct them if you let me know about them.