Living Utopias November 2021 Batch

An online course and introduction to countercurrents of hope and action against ecological and social crises.

The word development’ is associated with the spread of industrialism, an ideology ever increasing material wealth and consumption (‘growth’). Through the relentless exploration of nature, using large scale science and technology, guided by powerful nation states and corporations, development is meant to augment world scale trade and individualism. 

In the last thirty years, information technology has made everyone climb the endless ladder of consumption. This has brought the world to the brink of ecological collapse. We are in the depths of socio-economic inequality, despair, increasingly dysfunctional political institutions, and hugely stressed socio-cultural systems. Industrialism spreads unchecked, and the crisis continues to worsen. Those who think of alternatives are in a minority. 

If the crisis grows faster than what solutions we find, human civilisations may collapse as they have done many times all over the word in the last 3000 years, only at a global scale. As the crisis knocks at our doorstep, and we are crossing crucial planetary boundaries, there is an urgent need for alternatives. 

What this course does 

This course aims to provide actual living examples of counter currents of hope and action through well-outlined examples and case studies of new and emerging efforts in India and the world. By doing so, the course encourages an imagination towards an alternative vision of a good society, where we all not only survive but flourish! 


  • To understand the urgency in combating the crisis of industrialism in the world today. 
  • To learn in detail and reflect upon some key anti-industrialism alternatives existing today. 

Format and pedagogy

  • 24 hours of contact hours
  • Every Saturday and Sunday
  • 3 to 6 PM IST
  • Four weeks: 13 November — 5 December, 2021
  • Online mode with instructions to login will be given post registration.

The pedagogy will be a mix of classroom lecture, video clips, and engaging texts with a focus on interactive peer learning. 

Batch size

20 participants.


Assignments are to be submitted by the participants to a group email. Feedback will be provided on each of the submissions by the instructors. Submission of assignments and attendance in all eight classes are mandatory for participants to get a certificate. 

For any queries, please email <living.​utopias@​apu.​edu.​in>

Week 1: 13 – 14 November (3−6 pm) 

Visions and frameworks of alternatives to industrialism. 

Class 1

  • Introduction the to crisis 
  • The vision of Swaraj’ from Gandhi and Tagore. 

Class 2

  • The de-growth’ movement in Europe and its synergies with Radical Ecological Democracy (RED) in India.
  • Summary discussions of alternate visions: Good Society Nine Point Circle’. 
Week 2: 20 – 21 November 20 – 21 (3−6 pm) 

Alternate imaginations of democracy and politics. 

Class 3

  • The example of participatory consensual democracy in the village Mendha Lekha, Maharashtra, India. 
  • The political framework of anarchism and Gandhi’s imagery of oceanic circles. 

Class 4

  • People’s participation in urban democracy through urban participatory budgeting 
  • Summary discussions of alternate imaginations of democracy (anti-statism)
Week 3: 27 – 28 November (3−6 pm) 

Alternate imaginations of economy, society and culture. 

Class 5

  • Zapatistas, Chiapas Mexico and their decolonial, feminist, and ecological struggle and advances. 
  • Indigenous visions and The Rights of Nature Movement’ and its implications. 

Class 6

  • The revival of a radical communal experiment, the kibbutz’, in Israel. 
  • Lessons to confront a climate collapse from the Amish community’s way of living and being in the US
Week 4: 4 – 5 December (3−6 pm) 

Alternate imaginations of technology and conclusion. 

Class 7

Community-led response to climate collapse using examples of: 

  • The Urban Farming movement of Detroit 
  • Pedal Power initiative. 

Class 8

Overall reflections and way forward for possible actions.

Fee Structure

INR 3000+GST
INR 1000+GST (for Azim Premji Foundation’s partner organisations)

Deadline for fee payment: 5 October, 2021