Persuasion. Strength. Control. These words come to mind when we think of the term, propaganda and its use over centuries.
On Friday, Jan. 22, the Seton Hall University History Department hosted a symposium on propaganda in the Faculty Lounge of the University Center. The symposium’s theme is “Technologies of Truth: Propaganda, Ideology, and the Modern State.”
Professor Larry Greene, who helped organize the event, said that Seton Hall offers courses about how propaganda is a part of different nations throughout the world. Those who study propaganda in these departments applied basic knowledge of propaganda to new methods and technologies, expanding horizons for each of them.
Greene said that propaganda was needed to persuade people to feel, act, or do something in a certain way. Propaganda has played a huge role in society for quite some time now.
“It has been used to mobilize people for war hot or cold against external enemies or attack internal enemies designated by the state, but it also has been used in a more positive state to persuade acceptance of the government’s policies,” he added.
Countries and nations have only been able to expand their use of propaganda because of advancements in technology and communication which can appear in various platforms like print, radio, film, and television.
The Symposium displayed several forms of propaganda in various topics, such as the evolution of propaganda, the transformation in WWII, anti-communism, anti-racism, and nationalism.
Dr. James Kimble, associate professor of communication and a presenter at the symposium, educated visitors on the censorship of images of dead American soldiers in World War II.
“Any time we can raise people’s awareness of propaganda, I think it’s a good idea to do so. Many people are simply oblivious to the propaganda around them,” Kimble said.
In his presentation, he said that Americans were prepared for photos of this caliber due to the fact that certain photos had already been created and displayed on the home front during the war to motivate Americans which he said was an intriguing part of American history.
Kimble added that students with a better understanding of propaganda will come away with a better understanding and recognition of when they are being manipulated.
Michelle Prizzi, a sophomore MAJOR?, said the symposium made her think deeply about what she experiences every day.
“It’s crazy to think that so much of what we are exposed to could be considered propaganda. The symposium really opened my eyes to that,” Prizzi said.
Erika Szumel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.