How College Students Learn New Ways About Conspiracy Theories From Donald Trump [Video]By Noi Ramirez, UniversityHerald Reporter
If there were one thing that could account for Donald Trump's win in the last presidential elections, it would be conspiracy theories. For that, colleges that offer courses in conspiracy theories got a windfall this year when their area of study swayed into contemporary politics.
According to Villanova professor Derek Arnold, this year was as if they were given a gift in terms of what to talk about that emanated from the Trump camp, Time reported. The unfolding of events was in plain sight and bombarded non-stop that it was evident how it affected people and how it shaped Trump's campaign, most especially the result.
One would question why Trump would discharge such theories, and additionally, why do they seem to reverberate in corners of American Society? One blogger, during the course of the campaign, even suggested a new category tag Trump's tirades as NSFC. Not safe for children.
Perhaps, of his long list of conspiracies, as The Washington Post compiled, Trump is well known for the "birther" conspiracy theory and pinning the blame on his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith says that there was no evidence linking Clinton or her campaign started the rumors. During his stint as a reporter for Politico in 2011, Smith linked the source of the "Birther" movement to a fringe politician in Illinois.
Without a doubt, history professors who teach courses would not run out of materials to discuss in class since the president-elect has not stopped with his conspiracy theories even after the elections. Just recently, Trump himself calls out CIA's claim that Russian hackers intervened in the last election to put him in power as a conspiracy theory.
University of California history professor Kathryn Olmsted discussed Trump's last campaign ad with her students in her conspiracy theory course, saying that teaching the course was an entirely different experience than when she taught it four years ago. Interestingly, in that ad, Trump discussed replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by the American people.
With these courses, professors aim to help students to be critical thinkers before accepting information as legitimate and factual. A junior student at the University of California Sierra Shidner, 21, took the course because of amusement offered by conspiracy theories citing that it was easy just to laugh and make light of it. Now she says, "I don't find it as funny as I used to."