“When I was at school, History wasn’t necessarily an obvious degree choice: I liked all humanities subjects, and the passions I had – for current affairs, music, art, and a good book – could have applied to lots of subjects. But having now studied History for two years, I’ve been able to pursue all of these interests, as well as studying stuff I never even knew existed! I’m also fascinated by the issue of identity and its impact on political life. My subject teaches me to interrogate that impact, giving me a better understanding of how people connect today, as well as how they did in the period I’m studying. It’s a perfect example of history’s enduring relevance to the present.”
- Mia Liyanage, History
If you want to find out more about truth and lies in democratic societies, Mia recommends:
Fake News, Real Consequences – The Daily by The New York Times
I swear by this 20-minute podcast by The New York Times, which you can listen to for free every weekday. In this episode, the Daily team investigates how exaggerated reports of a brutal crime in the small town of Twin Falls, Idaho had dramatic consequences for their community.
All The President’s Men by Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
This best-selling book tells the remarkable story of the Watergate affair – a 1960s political scandal and a battle over what was ‘true’ which resulted in the resignation of the sitting American president, Richard Nixon.
In this Guardian article, Luciano Floridi – who is a professor of philosophy and the ethics of information at Oxford – makes a case for the dangers of fake news and the need for a strong, regulatory and ethics-based response.
Don’t Panic over Fake News by Bill Dutton
Another Oxford professor weighs into the debate here, this time presenting a very different view! This is a much longer article, but Bill Dutton’s provocative argument that we’re taking fake news too seriously makes it well worth a read.
Enjoyed this Big Question? University study offers the opportunity to ask all your big questions, and develop the skills to find the answers. The university subjects covered in this question include…
Computer Science and Philosophy
Experience the potential of computers to reshape our world and grapple with the philosophical questions raised by the rise of technology. Find out more on their course page.
History and Politics
Analyse present day political problems from a historical viewpoint, and study the past with knowledge taken from modern political study. Find out more on their course page.
Develop views not simply about what a law is, but also about why it exists, whether it should be in place, and how it could be changed. Find out more on their course page.
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Study philosophers through the ages, develop an understanding of different political systems, and learn about the interactions of consumers and businesses. Find out more on their course page.