An Extravaganza of Propaganda - 2000 years of spin

Ref: C2526482

From Ramses the Great to Donald Trump, governments have manipulated information to manage public opinion and action. Propaganda can be misleading or biased but it can also be used to achieve social cohesion. We will be asking what is propaganda, who has used it and whether we think it is justified. Along the way we will encounter Egyptian Pharoahs, monarchs English, French and African, the odd Roman general and a lot of politicians. The use of propaganda during two world wars and the handling of information during the pandemic will bring us up to date.

Course aim

This session will offer an overview of the propaganda produced over 2 millenia both individuals and governments. How has information has been controlled (and sometimes distorted) to manipulate and manage public opinion and action?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit:
  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss some of the different ways historical characters have presented information to achieve a desired effect.
  • Understand how different technologies created new forms of propaganda.
  • Discuss how propaganda has been used to deceive and to educate
  • Discussion the use of propaganda as a tool for social change andalso as a means of maintaining the status quo.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • I will use Canvas to show film footage, mostly from YouTube and BFI as well as powerpoint images and some sound recordings.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • We will be using breakout rooms for discussion and to do short quizzes.

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

An Extravaganza of Propaganda - 2000 years of spin

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is only available as part of this programme.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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