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The Power of Propaganda

Renee Hobbs is pleased to serve as Lead Scholar for The Power of Propaganda, a program at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The program is designed help educators develop a deeper understanding of how to teach students to critically analyze different forms of propaganda. The seminar explores how to teach about propaganda through an interdisciplinary lens and how to cultivate students' media literacy and curriculum skills. The program runs July 17 - 22, 2022. Some theoretical concept and instructional practices that Hobbs modeled are presented below:

Defining Propaganda

Growing Up with Propaganda in Daily Life (30 minutes). Activity #1 Rank Order a List - How do these aspects of contemporary life affect how young people encounter propaganda? Message: Students are growing up in a world where propaganda is baked into many aspects of everyday life.

Definitions of Propaganda (30 minutes). Activity #2. Which definitions of propaganda resonate with your lived experience? Message: Definitions of propaganda change in response to culture, technology, and society.

History of Propaganda (30 minutes).¬†Activity #3: Make a Propaganda Timeline ‚Äď reflect on what‚Äôs missing from Renee‚Äôs list. Discussion: What does history suggest about who creates propaganda and why they create it? Message: Deeply aligned with art, religion, culture, and other forms of institutional power, propaganda is used to maintain or challenge the status quo.

Instructional Practices in Propaganda Education

Using the Media Literacy Smartphone (15 minutes). Activity #1 Use the ML Smartphone to analyze a propaganda meme. 

To Share or Not to Share (15 minutes). Activity #2. Visit the Mind Over Media website and select 2 examples of propaganda: one you would like to share with your social media network and one that you would never share. Reflect on how propaganda may be beneficial or harmful, depending on your point of view. 



Work with a partner to make a 2-minute video that examines an example of historic or contemporary propaganda using Adobe Spark Video on your phone.

See the collection made by participants here.


Discuss: Does it matter that the military has the power to influence how war is depicted in the movies?  Why or why not?

Compare and Contrast: Create a Venn diagram to examine similarities and differences between the 1970 and 2019 versions of Catch 22. 


We re-experienced the 4D film "Beyond All Boundaries" and had a discussion using some critical questions of media literacy. 



Jaeger, S. (2020). The Second World War in the Twenty-First-Century Museum: From Narrative, Memory and Experience to Experientiality. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.