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Workshops & seminars

Teaching Disinformation in the Classroom

Final Reflections

Date & time
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Registration is closed


This event is free




J.W. McConnell Building
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.

Wheel chair accessible


Join us for a panel discussing three topics with Kevin McDonough, Bradley Nelson, and David Waddington.

The school as the site of anti-disinformation education?

Politically speaking, classrooms have never been a more challenging space to navigate. Students come to school armed with new and ever changing conspiracy theories that they want to share with and provoke their classmates and teachers, anti-vax parents demand that their scientifically suspect views be given air time and respect, teachers who try to give instruction on political tense topics like climate change, respect for gender diverse people, find themselves under fire from local communities and politicians, and when teachers are silenced often students find themselves without access to alternative sources of information as school and neighborhood libraries under political attack. Teachers, parents, administrators find themselves unsure where to turn for insight and strategies to address these problems. In this presentation, Kevin McDonough considers the question of whether schools ought to be tasked with addressing these problems.

Teaching Cervantes in the Age of Disinformation

Students are often surprised at the fact the disinformation and misinformation are not new phenomena. At the heart of Don Quixote, for example, is a middle-aged protagonist who sets out on a series of quests with a reimagined identity in search of injustices and affronts to set right through his courage, strength, and moral righteousness. At the heart of this chivalric quest is the trauma arising from the affronts he imagines and projects onto the spectral image of Dulcinea, a canonical courtly love figure, i.e., object of desire, that contains and serves as the foundation for his violent responses to perceived challenges to his delusional authority. Don Quijote I and II are in essence pedagogical explorations and indictments of the strategic use of imagined trauma in the perpetuation of violence against the other: sexual, ethnic, linguistics, etc.

Choosing Not to Double-Down on Truth - Towards a New Approach to Fighting Disinformation

In The Postmodern Condition, Jean-Francois Lyotard suggests that “Science, the hero of liberty,” is one of the great metanarratives of Western thinking. The idea, updated for the 21st century, is simple: if people laboring under misinformation are exposed to scientific truth, this truth—once its power and coherence is fully appreciated--will free them from any illusions they had. Given its longstanding prevalence and appeal, it is not surprising that many post-COVID, post-Trump approaches to fighting disinformation take exactly this approach.

The problem, however, is that we have tried this approach many times before, and mostly without success. What is needed are new strategies for combatting disinformation that, rather than doubling-down on exposure to truth, focus more on cultural strategies to build support for it. Drawing on ideas from John Dewey’s A Common Faith, as well as insights from anthropological work on disinformation, David Waddington will articulate some first steps in this regard.

How can you participate? Join us in person by registering here or online by registering for the Zoom Meeting or watching live on YouTube.

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