This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others.
This course takes a fun and interesting journey through history by looking into something that virtually everyone is interested in: conspiracy theories. Whether it be secret societies, the Kennedy assassination, or the theories revolving around extraterrestrial life, this course has something to intrigue even the most skeptical of students.
The belief in something else going on “behind the scenes” of our daily lives can, in some ways, be traced back to early human civilizations all over the world. Whether it be a powerful group of elites turning the gears that control our world, a secret society that seeks to eliminate free will, aliens visiting from another planet, or a lost civilization that was much greater than our own, conspiracy theories have absolutely gripped our attention. The purpose of this course is to explore an array of these topics by taking a detailed look into the evidence and arguments of this particular way of thinking. Students will finish this course knowing the difference between an actual conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. They will look into why people believe in conspiracy theories, and we will discuss when and how these theories can get out of hand. They will, of course, also learn a great deal of history along the way.
Week 1: Topics discussed: The difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory, Theories revolving around aliens
Week 2: Topics discussed: The theories revolving around “lizard people,” Planet X
Week 3: Topics discussed: Illuminati/New World Order
Week 4: Topics discussed: Lost civilizations (EX: Atlantis)
Week 5: Topics discussed: The conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar
Week 6: Topics discussed: The death of Christ
Week 7: Topics discussed: The death of the Templar Knights
Week 8: Topics discussed: The theories that arise out of the death of the Templar Knights (E.g., what happened to their wealth?)
Week 9: Topics discussed: The rise of political ideologies and their subsequent overthrow of political power – How conspiracies are utilized to be politically advantageous
Week 10: Topics discussed: The Death of Hitler
Week 11: Topics discussed: JFK Assassination
Week 12: Topics discussed: Free for all – Throughout the course, I will ask students what conspiracy theories they are interested in. For the final week of the course, I will pick some that I find to be interesting and appropriate to discuss and give my thoughts on.
Course materials: Due to the nature of the course, we will not have a course textbook or any other required texts. (I am more than willing, as the course progresses, to make book recommendations to students). Instead, we will be utilizing a series of primary and secondary sources that will be easily accessible online.
Homework: Homework will consist of 6 discussion forum assignments and a final writing assignment. The discussion forums are meant to get students to engage with their classmates in responsible discussion and debate. The students will be given a prompt that will ask them to summarize what they have learned in class, give their thoughts on it, and then start a discussion with another student in the class. Each assignment should take about an hour to complete. The final writing assignment will require students to write a research paper about a conspiracy, or conspiracy theory that is of particular interest to them.
Class dates: Mondays, January 8 to April 8, 2024. No class Feb. 12 or March 25 (Holy Week).
Starting time: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
Duration per class: 55 minutes