Who should get to decide what a utopian society looks like? After London was razed to the ground in the Great Fire of 1666, its reconstruction into the “emerald gem of Europe” was heavily influenced by the monarchy and aristocratic elites. In building a utopian epicenter focused on political and economic interests, immense sacrifices had to be made by London’s most marginalized citizens. A team of students led by Nicholas Smolenski (PhD Candidate, Musicology) and Dr. Astrid Giugni (Lecturing Fellow, English) will thus explore how London was rebuilt into a utopia; by employing topic modeling and applying the resulting lexicon to seventeenth-century architectural sketches, students will demonstrate how a language of progress became inextricably linked to its own image while also exposing the paradoxes entrenched in utopic representation. This project will additionally show how its framework can apply to current political discourse, as the tearing down of statues and monuments over the past three years has highlighted inescapable tensions between a governing power, a nation’s history, and its people.