Kazanistan: John Rawls’s Oriental Utopia


In The Law of Peoples (1999), John Rawls develops the concept of realistic utopia within the framework of a philosophy of international relations. In order to illustrate his definition of “decent peoples” he imagines an “idealized Islamic people named Kazanistan.” What are the context and status of the imaginary construct of a society of peoples? How are the people of Kazanistan described? In what sense, and to what extent, is this “idealized Islamic people” imagined by Rawls really a utopia?