Steampunk Association: The Project for a Polish Utopian Settlement in California in the Mid-19th Century


This article provides a case study of a project for a Polish utopian settlement (Osada), which was to be established in California, USA. Author Kazimierz Tomkiewicz’s, a Polish political exile from the early 1830s, developed a blueprint in Paris in 1850 and sent it to Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, seeking his support for its realisation. Osada was to be an agro-industrial settlement, enabling Poles participation in the
growing global technological and economic progress of the time. In the proposed model, the settlement was envisioned as an association, maintaining a democratic decision-making process and an equal distribution of goods among settlers. This paper argues that Tomkiewicz—perhaps inspired by Saint-Simonianist thinking—in fact coined a scheme for a steampunk association, believing that labour and creativity might not only improve the situation of Polish emigres, but also transform the Polish soul.