Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.
Please note that OUDCE reserves the right to alter course content and/or cancel field trips in accordance with government guidance.
We start with some definitions, and explore the way ‘fake news’ has been thought about, in the contemporary world as well as historically, in particular in relation to propaganda and post-truth. We will also look at the historiography of the idea, and some of the appearances ‘fake news’ has made in fiction.
We examine the early origins of ‘fake news, through the discovery of printing and the early establishment of commercialised pseudo-truth in ‘Grub Street journalism, to the creation of ‘serious’ journalism from the end of the eighteenth century, brought about by the perceived need for ‘the truth’ in support of democratic forms of government.
This session will look at the ‘yellow’ press and tabloid journalism, under owners William Randolph Hurst, Joseph Pulitzer and Alfred Harmsworth; and the influence of popular journalism on the emergence of ‘fake news’ in state propaganda during the First and Second World Wars and in the Cold War.
Shock-horror reactions of authorities to ‘fake news’, including the rise of the academic study of propaganda and the ‘nervous liberalism’ of the interwar years in the United States; cries of ‘vandals at the gates’ in the development of new media, notably radio and television, inside regimes of state regulation in Europe; and the rise of ‘media studies’ across the Western World.
Considering the emergence of the internet in the era of post-truth politics, we ask what about the development of the media landscape has been conducive to the re-emergence of ‘fake news’; and whether this latest manifestation is something altogether new, or simply a new expression of fundamental issues and concerns seen previously.