Contact Zones

Topics: Utopia, Sociology, The Culture Pages: 4 (1389 words) Published: September 20, 2013
Seminar in Composition
Crystal Hoffman
September 7, 2013
“The Bubble” Meets Reality
When I picture a utopia, I think of the original definition that Sir Thomas More wrote about in 1516: an ideal society in which everyone is considered equal, the golden age never ends, and the same religion is practiced among all citizens. “Utopia” is the general term to describe the perfect world; although, some writers and scholars use different diction to describe utopias.

Benedict Anderson, a retired Cornell professor, coined the term “imagined communities.” These communities consist of “...imagined entities in which people ‘will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them or even hear of them, yet in the mind of each lives the image of their communion’” (Pratt 493). Anderson likes to think that communities are only distinguished by what the citizens imagine them to be. Mary Louise Pratt, writer of Arts of the Contact Zone, agrees with Anderson in some ways; on the contrary, she argues that communities are utopian in that they prefer to practice equality, promote freedom, and obey the passive morality that exists within the cracks of the community. Pratt states that the societies are hypocrites in the sense that they promote these utopian ideals, but they never practice them. According to Pratt, language is used as a “device, precisely, for imagining community” (Pratt 494). She goes on to argue that we, as readers, should learn to recognize that not everyone is equal; that we need to understand and value differences in communities. I completely agree with Pratt, because I have lived in a community that she would characterize as a typical utopian society, unable to recognize that heterogeneous communities exist.

I was born and raised in an average sized town, Peters Township, and as long as I’ve lived, we called our town “the bubble.” When there are 22,000 people and 500 of that being non-white, we didn’t know what reality was. “The bubble” prevented us from...
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