In the aftermath of the recent election, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a syllabus for a grad seminar on propaganda. I spent a lot of time studying propaganda in graduate school (in the Lasswellian tradition) and writing on symbolic politics has been a theme of some of my research over the years.

I will start posting up some “modules” that might be part of a future syllabus. Continued …

These modules won’t be posted in any particular order and they are mainly for me to organize my thinking, and to get feedback. I welcome your comments on good additions to the syllabus (Twitter is best @rogerpielkejr).

This module is focused on “truthiness in policy” and includes reading on the dynamics of how truth claims from academia (and other institutions of supposed expertise) find themselves in policy debates.My focus in this module is on recent literature and cases, future modules will include older material.

Theory & Dynamics

  • Rayner, S. (2012). Uncomfortable knowledge: the social construction of ignorance in science and environmental policy discourses. Economy and Society, 41(1), 107-125.(HTML)
  • Rekdal, O. B. (2014). Academic urban legends. Social Studies of Science, 44(4), 638-654. (PDF)
  • Hirschman, D. (2016). Stylized Facts in the Social Sciences. Sociological Science, 3, 604. (PDF)
  • Berkowitz, D., and D. A. Schwartz. (2016). Miley, CNN and The Onion: When fake news becomes realer than real.” Journalism Practice 10.1: 1-17. (HTML)
  • Sarewitz, D. (2016). Saving Science. The New Atlantis, (49), 4-40. (PDF)


  • Singel, J. (2015). The case of the amazing gay-marriage data: how a graduate student reluctantly uncovered a huge scientific fraud. Science of US. (HTML)
  • Weinkle, J., & Pielke, R. (2016). The Truthiness about Hurricane Catastrophe Models. Science, Technology & Human Values, 0162243916671201. (HTML)
  • Romeis, J., McLean, M. A., & Shelton, A. M. (2013). When bad science makes good headlines: Bt maize and regulatory bans. Nature biotechnology, 31(5), 386-387. (HTML)
  • Elliott, K. C. (2013). Selective Ignorance and Agricultural Research. Science, Technology & Human Values, 38(3), 328-350. (HTML)
  • Rousseau, S. (2015). The celebrity quick-fix: when good food meets bad science. Food, Culture & Society, 18(2), 265-287. (HTML)