HISTORY 115 UCSD Believing Fake News Article Reflections Paper


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This first week, you’ve been reading our articles, watching our film clips, listening to the podcast clip on this important and foundational topic (Week 1 material; our lecture notes provide “big picture” explanatory material and historical context). These articles are all designed to get us to think deeply about History as an important discipline that can help us understand the world, and also a number of different factors that shape and condition what we’ve been taught; how we absorb information; what kind of information we absorb; interpretations of History over time (i.e. whose stories get told? Whose stories do not get told? Whose stories get told “wrongly” and why is that? How does this historical narrative change over the generations as people who had been excluded, women, native peoples, or enslaved peoples, for example now have a voice? Also, how do nations choose to remember their national story, “memorialize” certain dates or individuals over others? This oftentimes becomes part of ‘historical memory’, i.e, what publics choose to remember. It is important to know that memorializing is not the same thing as writing or telling history, as the current conflicts over the Confederate monuments, which were erected in public spaces in the Jim Crow South in 1890s at the same time that African Americans were being stripped of their 14th Amendment citizenship rights shows us. In other words, these monuments have their own particular history- they were built by the white elites of the South who reasserted political power and white supremacy in the South after Federal troops left and Reconstruction ended (late 1870s). They reestablished white supremacy as part of an effort to “memorialize” a particular view of the Confederacy – the “Lost Cause” – the idea that the war was about “states’ rights,” honor and heritage and not one to maintain slavery and white supremacy (see the film “Gone with the Wind” for an example of “The lost Cause”).

We also have other articles about the role of Youtube, Google, Facebook, Twitter and social media algorithms that are designed to have people keep watching or to keep clicking “related” searches. This can lead people, as the Brazil article and the article/video “How your brain tricks you into believing ‘fake news,” and your articles and podcasts on the Storming of the U.S. Capitol to embrace falsehoods and conspiracies, often with deadly consequences (as in the case of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on 1/20/21).

In short, there’s lots of fascinating material there to reflect on and discuss as we move forward with our learning.

Pt I. Reflection of Article. For this first participation activity, choose an article or a major theme from your articles that you find interesting and important (this theme, or big idea can straddle a couple of related articles, or you can dig deep with one big idea from one of the articles, films or podcast), tell us all about that big theme or idea, and tell us why you think that is important for us to keep in mind as we proceed with our learning in this course and beyond. Your reflection can be about one substantial paragraph for this part.

Pt II. Reflection of Quote. You also have a list of short historic quotes on history, the writing of history and remembering (“Until lions have their own historians, the hunter will always be glorified,” for example). Choose onequote that resonates with you (that you like or that you find meaningful) and tell us why you think it is important for our learning going forward. One paragraph for this part as well (two paragraphs total for both)

Post your original reflections on the articles and quotes in the Discussion Board forum with this title by the above due date. You’ll also post your response reflections to at least one of your classmates’ postings to generate some discussion about these very important issues. For these, you can amplify on a point one of your classmates made, raise a related point, discuss the issue in relation to other articles or readings, agree or disagree with supporting evidence (in a constructive way), and/or raise new informed questions that we should all think about.

The articles are in Canvas Week 1 Module (in pdf form). The quotes, from your syllabus, are here:




  • Our past is only a little less uncertain than our future, and like the future, it is always changing, always revealing and concealing.” Daniel Boorstin, Hidden History
  • “Our only duty to history is to rewrite it.” Oscar Wilde
  • “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  William Faulkner Requiem for a Nun (Act I, Scene III) (referring to, for example, the legacy of slavery -something from the past- into modern times)
  • “Getting History wrong is part of being a nation”  Ernest Renan

6)   “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it”   Flannery O’Connor

7)   Benedict Anderson argues that part of being a nation is “organized remembering and deliberate forgetting.”What do you think he means and what do you think?

8)   “The truth shall set you free, but first it’ll piss you off.” Gloria Steinem

9)“If you think you think you already have the answer or the truth, it keeps you from learning.”

David Henry Hwang, playwright

10) “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.”Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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