(continuously updated so please check back!)
You asked, I answered — below please find topics and assigned readings for each class. I will pin this post on my home page so you can refer back to it if you take a break and want to see/catch up on what you missed. Since this is all self-paced, I haven’t included specific dates for each class; I have included dates, however, for Zoom office hours and guest speakers who have been scheduled. Note that this syllabus is subject to change as current events may shape what I cover and as I incorporate more guest speakers. Past classes are linked to the respective posts, and you can always find previous material at the Democracy in the (Dis)Information Age tab on the home page. Enjoy!
To enroll in “Democracy in the (Dis)Information Age,” consider becoming a paid subscriber.
A Primer on the U.S. Information Landscape
Class 1: Case Study: Operation Infektion
Assignment: New York Times Video, Operation Infektion
Class 2: What is Propaganda, and What is the Problem With It?
Assignment: President Ronald Reagan’s Speech at Brandenberg Gate
December 8: Zoom Office Hours, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. EST
Class 3: What the U.S. Can (and Can’t) Do to Stop Propaganda
Assignment: Mike Flynn Op-Ed, WaPo article on DOD Covert Psyops
Class 4: Why Can’t the U.S. Get Its Act Together When It Comes to Information Warfare?
December 20, 1 p.m. EST: LIVE Zoom event with guest speaker(recording will be posted on Substack Wednesday morning)
Assignment: The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion, Censoring the Voice of America
December 22: Zoom Office Hours, 12-1 p.m EST
Active Measures: What Are They and Why Are They a Threat?
Class 5: The Active Measures Long Game
Assignment: Yuri Bezmenov, Soviet Subversion Doctrine
January 10: Zoom Office Hours, 5-6 p.m. EST
Class 6: What We’re Up Against
January 17, 1 p.m.EST: LIVE Zoom event with guest speaker John Sipher (recording will be posted on Substack Wednesday morning)
Assignment: Convergence is Worse Than Collusion, It’s easier for Russia to recruit Americans today than it was during the Cold War
Class 7: This Isn’t Our First Rodeo
Assignment: Soviet Active Measures: Hearing Before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh Congress, Second Session, July 13, 14, 1982, p. 47-50 (“VI. AN EVALUATION OF ACTIVE MEASURES”)
January 29: Wine & Fries Happy Hour with special guest Emily Brandwin, 8-9 p.m. EST
February 1: Zoom Office Hours, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. EST
Class 8: The CIA and the “Cultural Cold War”
Assignment: Was modern art a weapon of the CIA?, Unpopular Front: American art and the Cold War
Class 9: Case Study: Operation HELPFUL
February 15, 3 p.m. EST, LIVE Zoom event with guest speaker Tim Weiner, author of The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945-2020 (recording will be posted on Substack Thursday morning)
Assignment: Russians don’t hear the truth about Putin’s war. The CIA can help.
Class 10: Disinformation as an Asymmetrical Threat
Assignment: Weapons of the Weak: Russia and AI-driven asymmetric warfare
March 9: Zoom Office Hours, 12 - 1 p.m. EST
Class 11: The Gerasimov Doctrine
March 14, 4 p.m. EDT, LIVE Zoom event with guest speaker Seth Jones, author of Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran and the Rise of Irregular Warfare (recording will be posted on Substack Wednesday morning)
Assignment: The Gerasimov Doctrine, I’m Sorry for Creating the Gerasimov Doctrine
Class 12: Hybrid Warfare — What Is It?
Assignment: The Future of Competition: U.S. Adversaries and the Growth of Irregular Warfare, Hybrid Warfare — New Threats, Complexity, and “Trust” as the Antidote
March 26: Wine & Fries Happy Hour with special guest Peter Strzok, 8-9 p.m. EDT
Class 13: Reflexive Control
Assignment: Russian reflexive control is subverting the American political landscape
April 12: Zoom Office Hours, 10-11 a.m. EDT
Class 14: The Firehose of Falsehood
April 26, 5 p.m. EDT, LIVE Zoom event with guest speaker Julia Davis, Russian Media Monitor (recording will be posted on Substack Thursday morning)
Assignment: The Russian “Firehose of Falsehood” Propaganda Model: Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It
May 17, Zoom Office Hours, 9-10 a.m. EDT
Class 15. Racism as a National Security Threat, Part I
Assignment: New York Times Video, The Seven Commandments of Fake News
Disinformation and Foreign Election Interference
Class 16. Foreign Election Interference: Past, Present, and Future
May 31, 1 p.m. EDT, LIVE Zoom event with guest speaker Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI
Class 17: Election Meddling 101
Assignment: C-Span Washington Journal: David Shimer on Russian Election Meddling Efforts
Class 18: The Hack and Dump in 2016
Class 19: Project Lakhta
Class 20: Inside the Troll Farm
Class 21: Racism as a National Security Threat, Part II
Class 22: Election Interference 201
Upcoming Themes: Assignments TBA
What Makes America So Vulnerable to Active Measures?
The Role of Social Media
The Psychology of Disinformation
Political Polarization and Group Identity
Understanding the Media Ecosystem
The Domestification of Disinformation
How Disinformation Creates Fertile Ground for Authoritarianism
The Freedom Academy with Asha Rangappa is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Really enjoyed your article at MSNBC today, Rasha. You are so good at putting into words what many may sense or recognize but can't articulate.
So! It's not an agreement prior to consensual sex after all!