Nobel Prize lesson “Utopias and Dystopias”

Utopias and dystopias

Teacher’s guide

This is a step-by-step timetable for the Nobel Prize lesson “Utopias and Dystopias”.The purpose of this lesson is to give students an introduction as well as an in-depth study of the literary genres utopia and dystopia and their history. 

This Nobel Prize lesson has been created within the framework for the citizen science project Utopian Stories at the Nobel Prize Museum. If your class is participating in the project, the lesson provides an excellent introduction to the subject and to the questionnaires the students will be working with.

A Swedish version of the lesson is available at

Teacher’s Guide (PDF 50 Kb)

1. Warm-up (5 min)
Ask your students the following questions:

  • Have you come across the terms utopia and dystopia before?
  • Have you ever read or seen a utopia or dystopia? What was it about?

2. Show the slideshow (30–40 min)
Show the slideshow, using the speaker’s manuscript to narrate. The slideshow has two
parts – one about utopias and one about dystopias. Each part includes one or two
discussion questions and takes about 15–20 min.

Slideshow (PDF 2,7 MB)

Speaker’s Manuscript (PDF 1 Mb)

3. Work with the student assignment (20 min)
Let the students work individually with the assignment and then discuss their
answers with their neighbour.

Student learning resource (PDF 800 Kb)

4. Ideas for more in-depth study
Film: Kjell Espmark on Utopia, Dystopia and the Nobel Prize – short presentation by
Swedish Academy member Kjell Espmark, with discussion questions

Kazuo Ishiguro: Technology and Humanity – working with two works by Ishiguro

Read a Utopia or Dystopia – reading list

Analyse a Utopia or Dystopia – ideas for analysis questions

Your Future – assignments for discussion and writing

This Nobel Prize lesson was developed in collaboration with Camilla Brudin Borg,
PhD in literary criticism at the University of Gothenburg.

To cite this section
MLA style: Nobel Prize lesson “Utopias and Dystopias”. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Tue. 3 Oct 2023. <>

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