INFO 3675 Memetics: Contemporary Rhetorics of Dissent and Disinformation

(3 credits) 

What can we learn about government policies, about civil societies, about political movements and about social change, and what can we learn especially about ourselves, from Internet trolls, from so-called “Russian bots”, from Wikileaks and other whistle-blower and whistle-blower organizations, and from the many coordinated or more loosely cohering agents or agencies who would influence us online? To address this question students; (a) will learn about media, especially new and social medias, and about the most current developments in computer-mediated communications; (b) will further learn about how people in groups and organizations behave especially in conditions of uncertainty whether online or off; and (c) will study specific instances of media objects, media campaigns, or online discourse designed to inform, misinform, or to persuade to action. Though interdisciplinary in approach, this is an applied rhetoric course. This means that the principles of rhetoric will be applied to the problem of contemporary issues of dissent and disinformation. Course content may sometimes be sensitive. Students may be exposed to arguments and points of view that contradict their own values, Canada’s social policies, and Canada’s commitment to human rights. This course is both reading and writing intensive.  

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