Course Schedule

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IPLS 492-0 : Special Topics in Liberal Studies: What is the Truth? Documentary Film, YouTube and the Nature of Reality


Description

Fake news” has become one of the most discussed contemporary issues in American culture since the 2016 presidential election. But a firm description of exactly what is “fake news” is lacking. This course will examine this phenomenon. We will begin with an examination of the cultural and political polarization of the United States in the second and third decades of the 21st century. We will then attempt to define “fake news” in its various incarnations and examine how it is both a national and a global phenomenon. We will investigate how “fake news” is not a new construct and we will look at historical examples of it. We will discuss YouTube as it relates to news and cultural production, its political purposes and the rationales for downloading videos on the file sharing service and its relationship to the production of documentary films. The lines between archival material, YouTube and documentary filmmaking has become muddled in the past decade, particularly as it relates to the manipulation of original footage for reasons of political intent. We will also discuss the roles of Instagram, and Clubhouse. Students will complete the course by analyzing a full-length documentary and determine its objectivity, realism, use of archival sources, biases, purposes, and whether if extrapolates “fake news” in its construction. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Literature and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count as an elective in the Master of Arts and Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on three Thursdays throughout the term: 6/23, 7/28, and 8/25.)

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