By Estela Hernandez, public relations, University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity
The University of Utah commemorates the victims of the Holocaust during annual U Remembers — a series of events that reflect on the historical actions leading to the Holocaust, and pulls parallels to contemporary social issues. This year’s topic is “The Power of Propaganda.”
In its most basic form, propaganda is the dissemination of a message that serves the purpose of shaping public opinion and behavior. “We know that during the Third Reich, Nazi leaders used propaganda to advance their political campaigns and to wage war abroad, and on a very specific group of people at home,” says Maeera Shreiber, professor in the department of English and chair of the U Remembers committee. “This historical framework sets the stage for us to learn more about how propaganda can be just as damaging to our efforts to sustain democracy today.”
2017 U Remembers events at the University of Utah include:
Film and Discussion: “The Eternal Jew”
Nov. 1, 12-1 p.m., Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, Jewel Box, 215 S. Central Campus Dr.
“The Eternal Jew” was produced in 1940 as part of German Nazi propaganda efforts during World War II. Julie Ault, assistant professor in the Department of History at the U, will lead a discussion on the different techniques and messages within this film and other propaganda of the era that aimed to make anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe seem justified.
Keynote by Professor Jason Stanley: “The Destruction of Reality”
Nov. 2, 12-1 p.m., Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, Child Hall, 1655 E. Campus Center Dr.
Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. His most recent book, “How Propaganda Works,” was the winner of the 2016 PROSE award for philosophy. He is also the child of Holocaust survivors. Stanley’s studies of propaganda as it intersects with freedom of speech and as a tool for authoritarianism, have led him to work issues such as mass incarceration. This presentation will discuss contemporary propaganda, reality and democracy.
A Student Lead Conversation: “Navigating Campus: Propaganda and Campus Climate”
Nov. 3, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Union, Room 311, 200 Central Campus Drive
Although most agree that propaganda was a critical tool during the Holocaust, many don’t easily recognize that propaganda continues to be a tool for promoting political agendas and shaping political climate. College students are constantly connected to mainstream media and are avid consumers of the narratives that shape the public perception of certain ethnic and religious groups. This student-led discussion will examine the role of modern-day propaganda in shaping campus climate. While everyone is encouraged to contribute to the conversation, this event is designed to center the perspective of students affected most by the current climate.
All events are free and open to the public. More information about U Remembers is available online.