A talk entitled ‘The Oxygen of the Future. A Mediterraneanist Utopia’ is being held today as part of the Utopia Anniversary Events Series.

Delivered by Adrian Grima, the talk is being held on the 80th anniversary, to the day, of Albert Camus’s lecture to inaugurate the new Maison de la Culture in Algiers in 1937.

The roots of Camus’s vision, steeped in “benign” French colonialism, lay in the ideas of the early 19th-century utopian socialist Claude-Henri Saint-Simon and the writings of Gabriel Audisio, founder of the École d’Alger.

Grima will look at utopian narratives of Mediterranean unity as well as focus on the ideals of ‘Mediterranean synthesis’ and ‘Mediterranean humanism’ that Laurent Ropa, the pied-noir of Gozitan origin inspired by figures like Audisio and Robert Randau, wrote about passionately in Melita, the paper of the Maltese-North African diaspora.

Grima questions whether this Mediterraneanist utopia which inspired Camus’s inaugural speech and which Audisio saw as “the oxygen of the future”, has anything to say to us today, in an increasingly cynical and xenophobic world?

Grima teaches literature and representations of the Mediterranean within the Department of Maltese at the University of Malta and is a visiting lecturer at Inalco in Paris. He has written and edited a number of academic works in Maltese, English and Italian and has published prize-winning collections of poetry and short stories in Maltese for adults and adolescents.

Grima has spoken about Mediterranean imagary in Malta and abroad.

The Utopia Anniversary Events Series 2016/17, ‘Utopian Pasts – Utopian Futures? 500 years after Thomas Moore’s Utopia (1516)’ was launched by the Departments of English, German and Philosophy within the Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta in spring 2016 to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the publication of Thomas Moore’s Utopia. The series has been extended into 2017.


■ The talk is taking place today at 6pm at the Faculty of Arts Library (Old Humanities Building) at the University of Malta in Tal-Qroqq, Msida. It is open to the public and entrance is free of charge. The talk is being organised in collaboration with the Department of Maltese. For more information, look up the Utopia series on Facebook.

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