Summer Institute for k-12 Teachers

June 22 - 26, 2020

5 online sessions, see schedule below

Each session will include a presentation by a scholar-expert, participant discussion, and a Q & A period.

What are the features, uses, and histories of propaganda? What techniques have governments and political movements used to construct and convey messages?  How is propaganda related to the construction of national (or other) identities? Is propaganda entirely culture-specific, or are there universal features of this mode of communication? Perhaps most important - where is the line between propaganda and other types of communication and expression?

As we head into another presidential election season, the ORIAS Summer Institute for k-12 teachers offers teachers an exploration of propaganda from different places and times. This program will draw on a variety of disciplines and will feature numerous examples of propaganda from around the world.

This institute is open to k-12 teachers across disciplines. There is no cost to attend. 


Monday, June 22

9:30 - 11:30 AM

BRAND THE BELOVED COUNTRY: Nation Building and Nation Branding in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Karen Fiss

This presentation will examine how a particular constellation of aesthetics, spectacle, and nation building developed under fascism in the 1930s has evolved into the current practice of "nation branding" and the production of soft power. Numerous governments, including South Africa as it emerged from Apartheid, have commissioned external consultancies to assist them in attracting foreign investment, trade and tourism in an increasingly competitive globalized marketplace. How do these attempts at branding and "social engineering" impact notions of citizenship, belonging, and historical memory?

Tuesday, June 23

10:00 - 11:30 AM

BEYOND PROPAGANDA: Children's Literature of North Korea

Dafna Zur

This presentation will consider the intersection of propaganda and literature for children, will introduce some of the history of children's literature in Korea, and will end with a discussion of North Korean science fiction.

Wednesday, June 24

10:00 - 11:30 AM

Fiestas as Propaganda in the Spanish Empire

Kristie Flannery

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

"PENGKHIANATAN G 30 S/PKI": the most successful propaganda film you have never heard of (Part 1 of 2)

Michael Vann 

In 1984, the Indonesia military dictatorship released a sprawling and gory 4 ½ hour docudrama about the murder of 6 generals, a little girl, and a few other low-level officers during a failed coup d'état on the night of September 30/October 1, 1965. The coup, known as G30S or September 30 Movement, was an internal army affair, but it served as the pre-text for the upstart General Suharto to seize power from President Sukarno, Indonesia's founder and leader of the international non-aligned movement. Suharto also used the coup as an excuse to eliminate the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), the largest Communist party outside of the USSR and the PRC. Suharto's forces killed somewhere between 500,000 and a million people in 1965 and 1966 and an equal number were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned as slave labor for years. In addition to real and alleged members of the legal and unarmed PKI, the army and civilian militias attacked feminists, union members, artists, and anyone who they deemed an enemy. To solidify his rule and maintain power for 32 years, Suharto established one of the most effective propaganda machines in the 20th century. This film was a crucial component of Suharto's propaganda. In addition to state ceremonies, statues, and renamed streets, "Pengkhianatan G 30 S/PKI" was broadcast on national television every year on the anniversary of the coup and school children were required to watch it. Even after the fall of this corrupt and brutal dictator, generations of Indonesians believe in the false narrative portrayed in this film.

Thursday, June 25

10:00 - 11:30 AM

CANNIBALS: Propaganda and Terror in West Central African History

Jared Staller

In the 16th and 17th centuries Europeans who traveled to the Congo River region of Africa wrote well-known texts alleging a group called Jaga were cannibals, or man-eaters. Written and oral documentation shows local African leaders did the same. In this session, we will talk about the meanings of this cannibal propaganda, who benefited from spreading the message, and long-lasting consequences for local politics and Western biases about the region that persist into present times.

Friday, June 26

10:00 - 11:30 AM

"PENGKHIANATAN G 30 S/PKI": the most successful propaganda film you have never heard of (Part 2 of 2)

Michael Vann

When & Where

Where: The Institute will be held online via Zoom.

When: See the agenda to the left for daily schedule information. 

Registration: Use this form to register

Accessibility: If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Shane Carter at with as much advance notice as possible.