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Common Core Plus



Wilhelmina Ko
The University of Hong Kong The Devil in the "News": Symbols, Contexts and Worldview in US Religious-themed Fake News


11 Oct 2018

4:30 p.m.
MB150, Main Building, HKU



Some critics might call those who fell for the viral "Pizzagate" story (2016) "gullible" or "hysterical", but using mass hysteria to dismiss US religious-themed fake news and conspiracy theories, like the "Pizzagate" and other Satanic allegations, would be to ignore the religious and historical contexts within which these symbols function. In this talk, we will use the "Pizzagate" as a stepping stone to explore the fascinating world of apocalyptic Evangelical USA. We will decipher these symbols, as well as the climate that encourages the propagation of faith-motivated or themed fake news / theories among religious communities and conspiracy theorists, so as to understand why some fake news that would otherwise be deemed "absurd" by people outside the USA could find a ready audience within.


Wilhelmina Ko is the Teaching Demonstrator in the Department of History, HKU. After her MPhil research on Hong Kong church history, Wilhelmina went on to finish a second Master's degree in 'Theology in History' at the New College of the University of Edinburgh. She specializes in the Christianity's dialogue with Nietzschean philosophy, with specific focus on the notion of the 'death of God'. Her research interests include Nietzsche, the Death of God Theological Movement, and Christian existentialism.


Co-sponsored by Common Core Plus, HKU, and the Department of History.


All are welcome. No registration is required.