Jul 14, 2020  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HIS 371-01 - Propaganda! Political Persuasion and Communication in the Modern World

4 credits (Fall)
The history of propaganda requires study across numerous regions and disciplines. While conventional understandings of the term refer to the content of ideologies and worldviews, in this course we will be examining the structures, policies, and research agendas which have shaped propaganda as a tool of modern politics. To study propaganda is to open a unique door onto the connections between government, military affairs, and social institutions. Because “propaganda” is also a label used to discredit the truth claims of rival political and social actors, we will also be examining a variety of case studies including, but not limited to, public relations, advertising, perception management, information operations, psychological warfare, political communication and other systems of human behavioral engineering which have emerged during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As we will see, one of the enduring questions which haunts this field is whether propaganda actually works, under what conditions, and how these effects may be convincingly measured. While this is not a course on communications theory per se, it is one which will require an open mind, an ability to think comparatively across a wide range of historical and disciplinary contexts, and a willingness to consider carefully what the sources tell us about past and present politics in the information age.

Prerequisite: HIS 100  and one 200-level non-U.S./Europe history course.
Instructor: Johnson