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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Harvard Offers Conspiracy Class, Recommends Dummies For Text

Harvard University's Extension School (their version of night school) is offering an introductory class on Conspiracies, and has made Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies a required textbook.

From the online description and syllabus:

Extension Home > Courses > Social Sciences >
SSCI E-132 Conspiracy (22156)
Spring term

William Henry Anderson, MD, Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

Class times: Mondays beginning Jan. 25, 7:35-9:35 pm.

Course tuition: noncredit $600, undergraduate credit $900, graduate credit $1,800.

This course examines conspiracies, both real and imagined: their origins, development, and consequences. What psychobiologic factors, personality traits, and social institutions predispose individuals to this perspective? What parts have been played by sects, secret societies, and political parties? How are these beliefs formed, and how may they be supported or refuted? Prerequisite: introductory course in biology, psychology, or anthropology. (4 credits)

Interesting to note the four books on the required reading list:

• Barkun, M. A. Culture of Conspiracy, 2003. Berkeley: University of California Press.
• Burnett, T. Conspiracy Encyclopedia, 2005. Penguin Group (USA).
Hodapp, C. and A. von Kannon. Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies for Dummies, 2008. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
• Vankin, J. and J. Whalen. The 80 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, 2004. New York: Citadel Press.


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