This course is discontinued

STV4119B – Political Utopias

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course introduces students to the genre of literary utopias and related forms of utopian thinking. Some of the most important literary utopias published after 1945, especially green utopias, will be read and discussed as manifestations of political ideologies and expressions of fundamental social criticism. The course will show how utopian texts can contribute to theoretical debate and analysis in the discipline of political science. It will relate the utopian texts to perspectives and results from happiness research. It will also explore their relevance for discussions on strategies for handling the global environmental problems.

Learning outcome


Students will:

  • obtain knowledge and understanding of the genre of literary utopias;
  • understand how this genre, as well as utopian thinking in general, can contribute to political theory and debate;
  • acquire first-hand knowledge of some of the most important literary utopias published after 1945 and contemporary contributions to the international utopian scholarship;
  • be acquainted with ideas of alternative ways of organizing social and political institutions;
  • get an introduction to happiness research.


Students will:

  • learn to read and analyse utopian texts as expressions of social criticism and political ideologies;
  • learn to compare and evaluate utopian ideals and proposals;
  • learn to discuss the benefits and dangers of utopias and utopian ideas;
  • learn to formulate interesting research question on the basis of lectures and relevant literature;
  • learn to discuss and comment upon their fellow students’ paper-outlines.


Students will:

  • enhance their capability to question and discuss present social and political realities;
  • enhance their capability to formulate and reflect on their own ideas of “the good life” and “the good society”.


Students admitted to other Master programmes may be qualified to apply for the course. Please see the webpage on Hospitant students.

For incoming students: All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.

Students admitted to other Master programs may also be qualified to apply for the course. Please contact the Department of Political Science.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.

Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.


In addition to the lectures, some seminars will be given . The purpose of the seminars is for the students to discuss their themes, research questions and plans for the course paper. Lectures and seminars will be given in a periode of 5 weeks.

This course will be taught at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used. Fronter will normally be used.

The course is part of the regular course offerings at the Faculty of Social Science. Teaching is mainly held during the daytime. Detailed course-information is found on the Webpage for the current semester.


One essay (15-20 pages in total), and an oral presentation with brief examination of the course literature.

In order to receive a passing grade on the essay, your topic must reflect the course readings and curriculum. The topic of the paper has to be approved by the course instructor before the deadline. An essay topic not reflecting the curriculum, will receive a failing grade (F).

You will receive one overall grade for the course, of which the essay accounts for ¾ and the oral presentation/examination ¼. In order to pass the course, both your essay and your oral examination must be passed.

The Faculty of Social Science is responsible for the exam(s), and exam(s) are/is normally held at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used.

Language of examination

It is generally possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Course grades are awarded on a descending scale using alphabetic grades from A to E for passes and F for fail.

Examination results are available in StudentWeb within three weeks after the examination-date, if no other information is given on the Webpage for the current semester.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


This course is evaluated half way through every semester and every four year the course undergoes a thorough evaluation.

An external auditor regularly evaluates the academic quality of the course and he/she makes a written report every year.

Facts about this course






Spring 2014


Spring 2014

Teaching language