Hoaxes are common in politics, advertising, cyberwar, and fake news. This course examines a number of historical hoaxes and con artists looking for suckers: the marketable hoaxes of P.T. Barnum; forgeries, such as the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion; ruses of war from the Trojan Horse to the “Man Who Never Was”; conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati, Jews, Freemasons, Catholics, immigrants and “others”; pretenders to the throne of Imperial Russia, Stuart England, and Merovingian France; and science frauds from the Cardiff Giant to Cold Fusion and beyond. Deception and truthiness rule here, so bring your skepticism. The Highlands, Limit: 26 Course is closed
Suggested Book: Kevin Young, Bunk, ISBN 9781555977917.
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Robert C. Williams is a retired Russian historian who received his Ph.D. from Harvard and has taught at Bates, Davidson, and Williams colleges and at Washington U. in St. Louis.