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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

RUSS 38.10 Modern Conspiracy: The Russian and American Conspiracist Traditions

Conspiracy narrative has come to dominate our national and international political discourse like no other time in modern history. It is therefore essential that we understand the operation of conspiracy narrative, its psychological allure and political function, and its devastating social consequences. In this course, we will investigate two national conspiracist traditions, the American and the Russian, and the parallel rise and stunning convergence of Russian and American conspiracism in our current political moment. In order to do so, we will inquire into the historical origins, the form, function, and effectiveness of conspiracist narratives in these two traditions in the 20th and 21st centuries. Ultimately we will approach conspiracy theories as ways of knowing, of penetrating and ordering complex and opaque realities. They are also powerful narrative weapons that imperil the shared truths on which cohesive societies are based. Our course texts include The Master and Margarita (Bulgakov), The Crucible (Miller), and Libra (DeLillo), Ivan the Terrible Part II (Eisenstein) The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer) and The Matrix (The Wachkowskis) as well as literary and cultural studies of conspiracist narrative and ideation.

Cross Listed Courses

COLT 63.02

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:INT or TMV; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.