Five hundred years since Sir Thomas More’s narrator lost his way and found himself in ‘Utopia’, our panel will consider the sometimes sinister notion of ideal societies and the movements that have tried to impose them throughout history.

Beginning with More’s own brave new world as a basis, they’ll consider both Hitler’s vision for a Nazi utopia and the current attempts by ISIS to create a Caliphate – their version of an ideal Islamic state. Our travellers into these dark lands include historian, author and expert in Nazi Germany, Roger Moorhouse; and Professor Paul Rogers, author of ‘Irregular Warfare: ISIS Elites and Revolts from the Margins’. They’ll try to draw links between the three visions of a perfect society and see what each can teach us about the real, flawed world we currently live in.


Rebecca Emmett

Rebecca Emmett is a Lecturer in Early Modern British History at the University of York. She specialises in sixteenth-century political history and the history of the book, teaching on Religious Persecution and Toleration, and Thomas More. She has appeared on BBC radio discussing authenticity in historical drama, and the ongoing significance of Shakespeare.

Akram Khan

Akram Khan is a professor of Experimental Particle Physics at Brunel University London, he is also a world leading researcher in the areas of fundamental and applied science.


Roger Moorhouse

Roger Moorhouse is a historian specialising in modern German and Central European history. He is the author of four books, including ‘Berlin at War’ and ‘The Devils’ Alliance’. A fluent German speaker, he studied at the University of London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He does all his own ironing.

Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers is Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. He trained originally as a biologist, lectured at Imperial College and worked in East Africa on tropical crop research before working on environmental conflicts and joining Peace Studies in 1979. His research is on the changing causes of international conflict, especially in relation to political violence, socio-economic divisions and environmental limits to growth.