Kenneth A Rufo
B CUSP 115
Addresses an important social issue through an interdisciplinary perspective, continues to build creative and critical skills, and focuses on the relationship between the individual and society. Offered: W.
When Stephen Colbert began his inaugural show with a description of "Truthiness," he was tapping into a much larger cultural conversation about the way in which we as a society relate to truth and fact. Our core symbols have lost their stature, our sense of reality has given way, and our adherence (even dependence) on simulacra has never been more pronounced. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the proliferation of recent conspiracy theories, which differ from the conspiracies of previous generations in a number of important ways. This class will explore the rise of simulacra, the character of truthiness, and the incredible ease with which we can conspire, together, about almost anything.
Student learning goals
Students will learn how concepts of truth evolve over time, and how the facts upon which truths are predicated evolve as well.
Students will be able to assess the political, sociological, and cultural consequences of the rise in truthiness and the corresponding banality of conspiracy.
Students will cultivate a research sensibility appropriate to these changing circumstances.
General method of instruction
We will be using lecture, video, research, discussion, debate, performative dance, field work, pokemon battles, interviews, fight clubs and small groups.*
*Though we might not use all of these.
Students will benefit from having an interest in the world around them. It's a surprisingly rare interest, but it will help the course cohere for them.
Class assignments and grading
We will be working up to a larger research paper about conspiracies, and will do so with a few smaller, antecedent projects that prepare us, both methodologically and topically.
Grades are assigned by a cabal of nameless academic illuminati. Students will yearn to uncover their names and their methods, but will be unable to verify their existence.