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Critical Disinformation Studies: A Mini Course

Over the past few years, we’ve been hearing more about the disinformation landscape, most notably the emphasis on “fake news” and media literacy. Many libraries have added resources and programming to help their communities navigate an increasingly confusing and inhospitable information landscape. Unfortunately, these frameworks typically focus on the how to spot or avoid disinformation, while failing to address the larger context: Who shapes and perpetuates disinformation? What purpose does it serve, historically, socioculturally, and politically? Who benefits from it, and how? And what can we as library workers do to address disinformation in a way that promotes equality and justice?


This program is a condensed exploration of the Critical Disinformation Studies syllabus*  developed at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. According to the authors, effective analysis of disinformation requires one:

  1. “To take a holistic approach to disinformation that is grounded in history, society, culture, and politics;
  2. To center analyses of how social stratification and differentiation—including race and ethnicity, gender, class, and sexual identity—shape dynamics of disinformation;
  3. To foreground questions of power, institutions, and economic, social, cultural, and technological structures as they shape disinformation; and
  4. To have clear normative commitments to equality and justice.”


The first part of this course will be a four-week series of asynchronous learning. At the beginning of each week we will share one or two readings, along with some discussion questions to spark participation in the online course discussion board. These asynchronous sessions will take place the weeks of:

  • November 1
  • November 8
  • November 15
  • November 29

Note: Registration for Part 1 is included when you register for the live session in Part 2.


The course will culminate with a live session, where you will have an opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ideas with other library staff from around the state. We will also share ideas for how to continue working with the Critical Disinformation Studies syllabus in our own library communities. You have a choice of two dates and times for this session. To participate in this course, please register for one of the synchronous sessions below. Your registration for the synchronous session automatically registers you for the asynchronous session. Participation in the asynchronous sessions is required to participate in the synchronous sessions. 

Wednesday, 12/8/21, 2-3:30pm

Thursday 12/9/21, 10-11:30am

NOTE: Participants should register by October 26th, as registration will close on this date in preparation for the asynchronous portion. 



*The authors of this syllabus are Alice Marwick, Rachel Kuo, Shanice Jones Cameron, and Moira Weigel. We hope to include an opportunity to hear from them directly at some point during this program.  


Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

1. Describe social, cultural, historical, and political contexts for disinformation in the United States;

2. Apply a critical disinformation approach to a contemporary or historical social issue;

3. Develop a program or resource for your library using the Critical Disinformation Studies syllabus.

Note: MA school librarians are eligible for 10 PDPs upon completion of this course.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Virtual CE Class
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

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Christi Farrar
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Kelly Woodside

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