English 44-21 - Summer Sessions II, 2022

Introductory Topics in Fiction

Topic: Propaganda and Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Pizelo, Samuel
CRN: 71425
Time: TR 11:00-1:30
Location: 3213 TLC
GE Areas: Writing Experience


In this course, we will learn about the tools governments and corporations use to control public opinion. From Climate Change to COVID-19, propaganda, persuasion and accusations of brainwashing are a central part of everyday life. This course will look at the role fact and fiction play as frames for these political and social issues. In particular, we will examine fiction written about (and sometimes by) government agencies and corporations that engaged with propaganda and consider what it tells us about the meaning and role of fiction itself. This story will begin at the start of World War I, and touch on some of the greatest controversies of the last century, including the rise of fascism and communism, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, and the global War on Terror. Our investigation will include novels and short stories, poetry, photography, comics and graphic novels, film, and video games.


Grades will be assessed based on attendance, thoughtful participation and written assignments.


Swastika Night, Katharine Burdekin
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Spook Who Sat By the Door, Sam Greenlee
Not For Broadcast, Video Game
(Other materials will be provided)