New Seminar this Fall: Alternative Facts in a Post-Truth Century

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Interested in exploring the world of “post-truth” and “alternative facts”?

This fall, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and its Master of Arts — Integrated Studies (MA-IS) program are inviting you to join in attending an exciting and timely seminar (MAIS 752) led by AU’s resident MA-IS teacher and scholar Dr. Paul Kellogg.

Entitled “Alternative Facts in a Post-Truth Century,” this graduate level seminar will be open to all who are interested [see registration links below].

Alternative Facts and the post-truth era

The long-standing climate change denial movement, and the quite recent (2016) campaign for “Brexit,” both exemplify public displays of the denial of evidence and experience. With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, this phenomenon has been taken to a whole new level. “Alternative facts” have become embedded in everyday discourse, part of the accelerating descent into what some have called a “post-truth” era. Trump and post-truth

This 3-credit course will critically examine the post-truth universe, and suggest that in fact it is not new, but contains a reprise of themes we have seen before in contemporary society. The 20th century was sullied by the tactic of the “Big Lie” in Nazi Germany and the state-sponsored rewriting of history in Stalin’s Russia. Crucially, we have also lived through a long period of “alternative facts” and the denial of truth in Canada – clearly exposed in the 2015 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Epistemologies of ignorance

The course will draw on readings from the experiences of Germany, the ex-Soviet Union and Canada, follow that with an exploration of the “epistemologies of ignorance” which might well lie at the root of the mass acceptance of “alternative facts”, and punctuate these with examinations of some of the classic literature which has attempted to capture the dimensions of these experiences. The goal of the course is to produce a final essay on the general theme: “Out of ignorance – towards a politics of truth.”

This seminar is now open for registrations.

To register for this seminar, contact the MA-IS office.  While it is recommended you have graduate-level course experience prior to registering, note that it is a seminar open to all. It is recommended, however, that you speak with the MA-IS office first to ensure your success in the seminar.


Paul Kellogg is an associate professor in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. His focus is political economy, social movements, and global governance. He is the author of Escape from the Staple Trap (2015, University of Toronto Press), and will be presenting a paper entitled “Psychological wage and the Trump phenomenon” at the 2017 annual conference of the Canadian Political Science Association.

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