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Secrets, Lies, and Fictions in the Americas
CHUM 321
Fall 2022
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 222, COL 318, LAST 321

In 1964, historian Richard Hofstadter underlined the spread of a "paranoid style" in American politics. Although Hofstadter's description seems more appropriate today than ever, in an increasingly interconnected global order the role of misinformation, uncertainty, manipulation and conspiratorial imaginaries in shaping and limiting democracies and public spheres cannot be exclusively assigned to any particular locale. From a continental standpoint, this course offers analytical tools to explore the political complexity of lies, secrets and fictions in both the United States and Latin America since the mid-twentieth century to this day. By studying a series of cases-including the Guatemalan civil war, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. intervention in the Middle East, the "dirty war" in Latin America, censorship in socialist Cuba, the arrest of Augusto Pinochet in London, Wikileaks, hacker practices in the early days of internet, or Cambridge Analytica-we will address the relations between surveillance, spectacle, and conspiracies (both factual and imagined) in the contemporary techno-political landscape. Moreover, the course emphasizes the speculative and theoretical potentials of art and literature when it comes to understanding socio-political phenomena. Beyond distinctions between truth and falsehood, fictional constructions are key to our collective capacity to imagine alternative worlds. By mapping out the ways in which fictions circulate as such or rather as truthful versions of reality, we will problematize the limits and uses of truth, lies, official and alternative narratives, as well as the power of states, corporations, individuals, and collectives to direct attention and frame information.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (LAST)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-18-2024
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