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Fake News, Frames and Facts

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €600.00 per programme


The strong growth of social media, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and the widespread accusations against particular states of spreading lies have significantly raised our awareness of fake news. This course teaches you the skills to better manage fake news in your daily, twenty-first century life. What is fake news, and how do we set the boundary between what is ‘fake’ and ‘fact’? Why is fake news a problem in all societies and all periods? How can framing analysis help you to better deal with the abundance of (fake) information flows? You address these questions by completing a group assignment in which you analyze a few (historical) texts and/or images. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for these assignments. These lectures provide you with classic examples of fake information from politicians, PR agencies and the military, among others. They further help you understand how fake news relates to propaganda, bias and (inter)subjectivity. Drawing extensively on sources in the English, French and German languages, the course prepares students for the challenges that the enormous variety in information quality pose.

▪ Becoming aware of the long history of fake news and the sometimes unclear boundary between ‘fake’ and ‘fact’.
▪ Understanding the difference between fake news on the one hand and propaganda, bias and frames on the other hand.
▪ Developing your critical thinking skills further to better identify examples of fake news in your daily information flow.
▪ Using tools to help you assess more consistently the quality of particular news items and more generally your news sources.
▪ Seeing fake news as part of a (inter)national contest among politicians, business, PR agencies, media, the military and intelligence services over what is considered real and normal (framing).

Instruction language

▪ Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course;
▪ Basic knowledge of (geo)political ideas and/or trends is recommended;
▪ Aimed at all Bachelor/ Master/ PhD students. If in doubt, please contact Leonhardt for personal course selection advice.

Suggested literature
Below you find some general reading suggestions. It is not required to do some reading before the course. If you like to read something, select the sources that are closest to your research interests. Alternatively, please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice.
▪ Belsey, C. (2002) Poststructuralism. A very short introduction.
▪ Coles, T.J. (2018) Real fake news: Techniques of propaganda and deception-based mind control, from ancient Babylon to internet algorithms.
▪ Edwards, D. and Cromwell, D. (2009) Newspeak in the 21st century.
▪ Huyghe, F.-B. (2018) Fake news. La grande peur.
▪ Lagarde, J. and Hudgens, D. (2018) Fact vs. fiction: Teaching critical thinking skills in the age of fake news.
▪ McManus, J.H. (2017) Detecting bull: How to identify biased, fake and junk journalism in the digital age.
▪ Oddo, J. (2018) The discourse of propaganda: Case studies from the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terror.
▪ O’Shaughnessy, N.J. (2004) Politics and propaganda. Weapons of mass seduction.
▪ Prenzel, T. (2018) Fake News: Moderne Lügen entlarven und entspannt reagieren.
▪ Singer, P.W. (2018) LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media.

Teaching methods
▪ Lectures ▪ Presentations ▪ Work in subgroups

Assessment methods
▪ Attendance ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation

Fake News ▪ Frames ▪ Facts ▪ Propaganda ▪ Public Relations ▪ Framing ▪ Priming ▪ Bias ▪ Agenda Setting ▪ Reality ▪ Truth ▪ Objectivity ▪ Subjectivity ▪ Intersubjectivity ▪ Critical Thinking ▪ Media Literacy▪ World Views ▪ Constructivism

Apply now! Block 7.1 2018/19
Application deadline
Jun 1, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Aug 12, 2019

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States