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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2019/2020

Conspiracy Theories in Modern Politics and Culture

Type: Elective course (Media Communications)
Area of studies: Media Communications
Delivered by: School of Media
When: 3 year, 4 module
Mode of studies: Full time
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course examines the phenomenon of conspiracy theories in the broadest sense as an element of human communication and human cognition of the world. This course aims to develop students' critical consciousness and a deep understanding of some of the components of modern media communication (post-fact, fake news, etc.).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The formation of critical thinking and the ability of contextual study of complex media phenomena.
  • The formation of a comparative study of conspiracy theories in the context of Russian domestic politics and international relations.
  • To consider conspiracy theories as an element of human myth-making and to study methods for constructing a narrative of conspiracy theories.
  • Build an understanding of the social, economic, cultural, and political context of conspiracy theories.
  • To form an understanding of the social, political, psychological, cultural studies functions of conspiracy theories.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Names the definition of a conspiracy theory.
  • Distinguishes between the concepts of "conspiracy" and "conspiracy theory."
  • Distinguishes the main approaches to the study of the phenomenon of "conspiracy theory."
  • He names the main periods in the history of the development of the phenomenon of “conspiracy theory”.
  • Explains the social, political and cultural context of the development of the "conspiracy theory" in a given historical period.
  • He understands the evolution of “conspiracy theory” in the American context.
  • Names the main periods in the history of the development of "conspiracy theory" in Europe, the Middle East and Russia.
  • Explains the social, political and cultural context of the development of the "conspiracy theory" in a particular historical period in Europe, the Middle East and Russia.
  • He knows how conspiracy theories are used in political struggle, the formation of national identity.
  • Understands the nature of populist political speech.
  • Analyzes the political language and highlight in it elements of conspiracy theories.
  • It analyzes elements of conspiracy theories in popular culture and literature.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Conspiracy Theories: An Introduction.
    The concept of conspiracy theory. Conspiracy, conspiracy theory, conspiracy. The main approaches to the study of the phenomenon. Sociological and socio-psychological approach. Political science approach. Anthropological approach. Historical approach.
  • World history of conspiracy theories: from the ancient Greeks to 9/11. History of conspiracy theories from the USA.
    The origins of conspiracy theories. First evidence. Conspiracy Theories in Antiquity. Conspiracy Theories in the Middle Ages. Conspiracy theories in modern times. Conspiracy theories in the USA before the Revolutionary War. Conspiracy theories in the 19th century: main actors, fears, theories. The heyday of conspiracy theories in the 20th century. Cold war Conspiracy Theories after 1991: A New World Order.
  • European conspiracy theories: a global transfer of ideas. Conspiracy theories in the Middle East - in search of a "hidden hand". Conspiracy Theories in Russia: “Fortress Russia”.
    Conspiracy theories in Europe in the New Age. French revolution and counter-revolution. Illuminati - The New World Order. Holocaust and anti-Jewish conspiracies in modern times. State of Israel and anti-Zionism / anti-Semitism in the Middle East. Anti-Westernism in Russia and conspiracy theories. Post-Soviet conspiracy culture in Russia.
  • Conspiracy theories in modern politics.
    Conspiracy theories and political action. "Normalization" of the conspiracy language in the political ideologies of authoritarian and totalitarian political regimes. Conspiracy theories and populism. Analysis of conspiracy theories in modern political campaigns.
  • Conspiracy theories in contemporary popular culture and literature.
    Storytelling and conspiracy theories. A culture of postmodernism and conspiracy theory. Online conspiracy theories - The Internet as a conspiracy theories driver. Conspirological fakes of modern times. Conspiracy theories in popular music and films. Detectives and conspiracy theories: the birth of the genre.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Test
  • non-blocking Explanatory note
  • non-blocking Presentation
  • non-blocking Workshops
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.5 * Explanatory note + 0.3 * Presentation + 0.1 * Test + 0.1 * Workshops
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Ramsay, R. (2012). Conspiracy Theories. New York: Pocket Essentials. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=500013

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Fenster, M. (2008). Conspiracy Theories : Secrecy and Power in American Culture (Vol. Rev. and updated ed). Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=267842