course
HI116 | Autumn | 6 ECTS

Histories of Truth, Facts and Uncertainty

This course explores the role that ideas of truth and fact have played in global history, and the history of these ideas. We examine the emergence and function of different kinds of truth in various cultures and traditions of epistemology, law and, especially, politics across the world, asking how these means of identifying, measuring and defining 'the' truth relate to practices of power. We consider hierarchies of knowledge that delineate, elevate and denigrate different kinds of truth, and how these truths become linked to different kinds of people. We interrogate notions of deception, secrecy and conspiracy, and the central place that rumours, gossip and all forms of uncertain knowledge hold in processes of historical change. Ultimately concentrating on the problem of truth in politics, we approach the question of a so-called 'post-truth' political regime through the global context of political speech, propaganda, and image-making across the twentieth century.