Political myth, propaganda and fake news

Course Dates: 31/01/20 - 27/03/20
Time: 15:00 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

What is a political myth? How do we spot propaganda? How can we tell 'real' news from 'fake news'? In this course we will look at a number of conceptual approaches to these subjects, and then pick-apart a number of examples of each.


What is the course about?

Fake news has become something of a buzzword in recent years. Propaganda and myth have been present in politics for a long time, possibly forever. This course will explore some different meanings of political myth, propaganda and fake news, and will ask questions abot how it relates to our politics.

It will ask questions such as:
What is fake news? How can we identify fake news from real news? What impact is it having on our politics? What is a myth? Surely modern politics is beyond myth? What is propaganda? How much is propaganda used today?

In this course we will examine these questions, utilising political theory to ask questions about truth, democracy and society.

What will we cover?

- Differing understandings of the concept of Political Myth
- Stanley's understanding of Propaganda
- Fake news in the news
- Historical and contemporary examples of myth, propaganda and fake news.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Explain some understandings of political myth and propaganda
- Spot myths and propaganda
- Identify fake news
- Analyse political images, texts and videos with a critical approach.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course and so requires no specific skills. The course will, however, involve engaging with complex theories, concepts and the reading of texts in class, so a good understanding of English is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be taught with an emphasis on tutor guided, student-led learning. This will generally involve a large degree of group work and class discussion.

There will be recommended readings given for work outside of class. While this is not compulsory, it is strongly recommended that students engage in the material provided so as to ensure their ability to fully participate in the classes.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no extra costs. A pen and paper will be useful.

The following books may be interesting for further reading, although are not required:
Chiara Bottici, A Philosophy of Political Myth
Jason Stanley, How Propaganda Works
Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence
Henry Tudor, Political Myth.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Have a look at our range of politics course on the college website, or in our prosepctus.

Tutor Biographies
Benjamin Chwistek

Ben is the Coordinator for World History, Politics, Economics, Anthropology and Current Affairs. He studied Modern History at the University of London, obtaining a First Class Honours degree with a specialisation in Victorian Intellectual History. He then studied a Masters Degree in Political Philosophy at the University of York, where he graduated top of his class and obtained an award for his dissertation on the philosophies of history of Michel Foucault and Walter Benjamin. Ben went on to complete his PhD at the University of York, where he researched the subject of myth and violence in the work of Georges Sorel, Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. For his PhD research, Ben received a scholarship from the WWI centenary ‘Legacies of War’ project. Ben has taught Philosophy, Politics and History from 1st year undergraduates to MA students at the universities of York, Leeds and Antwerp. He has also taught A Level History and Politics to sixth form students at a school in West London, and has taught English at a school in Thailand. Alongside this, he has spoken at conferences and events around the UK and Europe, primarily on topics relating to myth, violence, and democracy.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HPC10

Fri, day, 31 Jan - 27 Mar '20

Duration: 9 sessions (over 9 weeks)

Full fee: £139.00
Senior fee: £111.00
Concession: £61.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions? humanities@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.