Section Information for Spring 2012Have you ever been the victim of a hoax? Have you ever been misled by something you read about the past? Do you think the study of history ought to be fun? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably need to take this course. “Lying About the Past” is not a course about what happened in the past. Instead, it is a course about how hoaxers, pranksters, and downright plagiarists fooled people into believing that something happened that never actually did. Historical hoaxes have a long and infamous history and we’ll spend some time studying those hoaxes and how they succeeded (or failed). We’ll also consider the serious business of plagiarism and its consequences for our understanding of the past. And then, somewhere around the mid point of the semester, we will begin creating our own historical hoax—one we will turn loose on the general population at semester’s end to see if we can actually fool anyone.
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