The History of Misinformation

Grants and Contracts Details


I wish to apply for a Stanton Foundation Applied History Course Development grant for a course I would develop and offer in the spring 2020 semester at the University of Kentucky called gfThe History of Misinformation.h This course would have an initial class size of 40]50 students and could eventually expand, with College support, to a maximum of 250]300 students annually. The idea for this course grew out of research for my upcoming book, America in 1942: The gSurvival Warh and the Crisis of Democracy (Yale University Press). I examined a collection of records at the Archive of Folk Culture in the Library of Congress called the gWar Rumor Project.h This was an extraordinary attempt by the federal government in 1942 to learn what false rumors were floating around the nation about the war and domestic issues. Barbers, taxi drivers, waiters, and many others eavesdropped on what their customers and friends were saying and reported back to the Office of War Information, as well as to a series of grumor clinicsh throughout the country. The OWI carefully collected and collated these rumors in an attempt to counteract the most damaging ones. As a historian I have always been focused on trying to uncover what happened rather than what did not, but this experience convinced me that the wild rumors people spread tell us a great deal about their underlying motives and fears.
Effective start/end date4/30/1912/31/22


  • Stanton Foundation: $45,500.00


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