These resources are about Utopias, dystopias, and planned communities. Read about several historical intentional communities and the dystopian tradition in literature and film. Find out what these communities had in common, how they differed, and why some of them have failed and others continue to exist. Compare existing or historical experimental communities to fictional Utopias. Includes eThemes resources on “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, and forms of government.
This three-page PDF file defines the concepts of utopia and dystopia.
Intentional Communities in the USA
This page provides detailed information about various intentional communities that have existed throughout US history, including the Shakers, Amish, and 1960s communes.
Intentional Communities in the USA 2
Here is an outline of the characteristics of intentional or Utopian communities and the questions they address.
Read about Walt Disney's original design for EPCOT, a planned Utopian community based on technology.
From this page you can read the profiles of four American Utopian communities: The Shakers, New Harmony, Oneida and Celebration. Find out what characteristics they share and what some of the fundamental differences between them were.
Utopian Communities, 1800-1890
Here is a curriculum unit about the New World Utopian idealists of the nineteenth century. Includes sample lesson plans and a bibliography.
Hancock Shaker Village
Take a virtual tour of this Shaker village in Western Massachusetts. Click on the interactive map to see photos of the buildings, and view a short Quick Time movie of the grounds.
George Orwell and The Last Man in Europe
This is a long essay on Utopian literature and George Orwell in particular. NOTE: The reading level is for older students.
Huxley, Orwell and Television
Here is he foreword of Neil Postman's 1985 book "Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business." In it he compares two models of dystopia, Orwell's "1984" and Huxley's "Brave New World."
Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics
This one-page PDF file contains definitions of Utopia, a dystopia, and characteristics of a dystopian society and protagonist.
Decoding The Matrix: Exploring Dystopian Characteristics through Film
Students can learn to distinguish the characteristics of a dystopia by analyzing the movie "The Matrix" and other works of literature and film.
eThemes Resource: Literature: "The Giver" by Lois Lowry
These sites are about the book "The Giver," which explores themes of utopia and diversity. Learn more about author Lois Lowry and her thoughts about this Newberry Award-winning book. Includes discussion questions, quizzes, and handouts. There is a link to an eThemes Resource to another Lois Lowry book, "Number the Stars."
eThemes Resource: Literature: "Animal Farm" By George Orwell
These sites are about the book "Animal Farm" written by George Orwell. Includes historical background information about the book, biographies of the author, and discussion questions. Includes information about symbolism and propaganda. Browse through suggested classroom activities or try the online quizzes.
eThemes Resource: Government: Democratic and Communist
Learn about two different types of government: democratic and communist. Learn the philosophy of communism and the history of its development. Find out what countries have democratic and communist/socialist government. Discover how the economy influences the course of a countries' development. There is a link to an eThemes resource on democracy and community responsibility. Includes photographs, maps, video, lesson plans, and quotes on communism of Carl Marx, Frederick Engels, and Mao Zedong.