Fighting the Information War: Democracy, Autocracy, and the Battle of Narratives in the 20th and 21st Centuries

AS.196.310 / AS.196.610

Once, many believed the information revolution would undermine autocracies and energize democracies. Instead, we live in an era of unprecedented disinformation, propaganda, and media manipulation. Can we reverse these developments? How do we fight back? This course will look at examples of propaganda and disinformation in the past, especially in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, as well as the present: Russia, Latin America, Europe, and the US. We will analyze how our information environment has been transformed, and think about how to create alternatives that will help deliberative democracy flourish.