Distorted Knowledge: A Cultural Investigation of Disinformation

Alexander Pichugin (German Language and Culture Studies)

A famous French saying declares: “Speech was given to man to conceal
his thoughts.” Indeed, language has been used since antiquity as much
to distort knowledge and misrepresent the reality as it was to create
and disseminate knowledge. This seminar invites students to explore the
role of language in the distortion of knowledge and the creation of false
knowledge as a cultural phenomenon. We will look at concepts such as lies,
disinformation, misinformation, and misrepresentation in different historic
periods and in different contexts, with different implications. As theoretical
foundations for the course, we will explore epistemology as a branch of
philosophy dealing with acquiring knowledge, the concept of truth, as well
as the ethics of lying. Students will gain insights into the ideas, trends, and
discourses that shaped the modern discourse around the distortion of
knowledge.

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 74 index 13523