Politics of Post-Truth: Demagoguery

One student/one question

Open a new Google Doc in your WRT folder and title it “one student/one question.” In this document, write down one thing that is lingering for from the Roberts-Miler reading. This can be a question, a response, an objection, a passionate agreement, anything that is sticking with you after the reading. Once you are finished paste it into this document.

Follow up from from last class:

Survey. Thanks to those who have completed this. I am learning a lot about you, your challenges, and your goals. If you have not completed this, please do so by Tuesday.

Syllabus/policies/unit 1. Ask me 3 questions.

Annotating with marginalia. What does it mean to annotate? Why do it? What is a smart approach? Here’s one to consider: Meta-Reading Checklist. Let’s share some annotations from the three sections of Roberts-Millers book for today: the short introduction, Chapter III (“What Demagoguery Is”) and IV (“How Demagoguery Works”).

Roberts-Miller’s Democracy and Demagoguery (2017)

The following questions are geared toward giving us a better handle on that content. Use your annotations in our discussion, but also add more annotations to your reading as we talk. I will collect these at the end of class and they are worth 10 points in this unit.

  • What is the short definition of demagoguery? What does this mean?
  • What is its criteria? What kinds of discourse does Roberts-Miller focus on? Which criteria are emphasized by the author?
  • What are some of the personality traits of those who subscribe to demagoguery?
  • What are some of the words or vocabulary Robert-Miller introduces as she explains how demagoguery works? Point us to some moments.
  • We can we find demagoguery in action? Where do we look and what do we look for?

Holistic annotation

For next class you’ll be listening to a podcast from The Daily that, unfortunately (for accessibility reasons), does not include a transcript. But this also provides us with an opportunity to annotate a different way — not marginally, but holistically. By holistic, I mean your annotations won’t respond to the content directly on the page, but in a separate space (a GoogleDoc, Word file, or sheet of paper), thinking about the text more globally. To do this you will need to listen or read the text and:

Summarize it. In a 100-word paragraph, cite the title and author and the central idea/question/argument, sub-claims, evidence used, as well as how the text was organized (Abbreviated example: In the chapters we read from Demagoguery and Democracy Patricia Roberts-Miller defines demagoguery as a kind of discourse… In her chapters she lists several kinds of criteria and characteristics of those who subscribe… )

Copy (or cut & paste) 4-5 money quotes. As you read should note “money” quotes — parts of the text that are especially rich, dense, defining, confusing, etc. (in a podcast it might help to note the time and go back to copy them later). If there are multiple voices, like there are in the podcast, it will be important to attribute these to a speaker. You might also explain — briefly in your own words — the quote’s context and/or why you found them important.

List all of the sources used in the text. These could be formal, scholarly citations or informal, anecdotal evidence (Polly said…). Copy or cut & paste the URL if the source is available digitally.

Develop a list of keywords or tags. These are words or phrases that categorize the text. For example, for Roberts-Miller I might use the following: politics, truth, authority, identity, argumentation, deliberation, publics, polarization, realism, authenticity, confirmation bias, binaries, projection, fallacy, charisma, victimization, patriarchy.

Activity (if there’s time): Let’s practice this with “Why Do People Fall for Fake News?” (NY Times)


Homework for Tuesday, 1/29

  • Complete this survey (if you haven’t already).
  • Listen to “The Business of Internet Outrage” (from Oct 2018 on the NY Times’ Daily podcast)
  • Complete a holistic annotation for the podcast in Google Docs. Save it with an obvious title in WRT folder,