Online Summer University: Disruptive Narratives: Re-Constructing the Truth in the Age of Multimodal Propaganda

February 9, 2021

Co-funded by the Open Society University Network (OSUN)


Course Director(s): 

György Túry

Center for Media, Data and Society, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary / Institute of Communication and Media Studies, Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary

András Bozóki

Department of Political Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary/Vienna, Austria

Gregory Lobo

Department of Languages and Culture, Los Andes University, Bogotá, Colombia
Course Faculty: 

Patricia Poblete Alday

Instituto de Humanidades, Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Santiago de Chile, Chile

Ian Buruma

Human Rights and Journalism Programs, affiliated with Asian Studies; Human Rights; Written Arts Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, USA

Almira Ousmanova

Department of Social Sciences, European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Sonja Merljak Zdovc

Casoris Information and Education Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
An international group of scholars, representing three continents, and including world-renowned author Ian Buruma, proposes a five-day summer university course for advanced B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. students in fact-based narratives, also known as literary journalism in English language scholarship, reportage in the former Soviet area, or crónica in Latin America. At first glance reading like fiction, the genre seeks however to be informative, to give an account of reality based on epistemologically objective data, mixing the intransigence of facts with the passion of narrative. 
The course is valuable, we believe, because we live in an age of multimodal propaganda and misinformation, which scholars have shown is related to political populism and resurgent authoritarianism. Research also suggests that the best way to disrupt the effects of propaganda is through the construction of disruptive narratives that give readers routes towards new understandings of the world, others in the world, and their relation to them.  
Participants in the course will be introduced to i) the history, ii) the characteristics, iii) the major topics, and iv) the reality-transforming potential of the genre by surveying some of its groundbreaking representatives and achievements. To do this we will engage with historical and contemporary examples of the genre itself, but also with theoretical and philosophical texts that explore the relationship between (accurate) representation and/of (empirical) reality. The research and the curriculum are interdisciplinary, involving literary studies, political science, journalism and media studies, international relations, and history. 
Throughout the course, a variety of engaging and effective teaching and learning methods will be employed. Apart from classroom teaching and learning, several extracurricular activities will be organized that are seen to be integral elements of the whole course.

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