Challenges of Teaching Research Writing in an Era of Fake News: Using Parody as a Critical Rhetorical Practice

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CONFERENCE: Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy

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Tischio, Victoria M
research writing; higher education; parody; critical pedagogy; information literacy; Curriculum and Instruction; Education; Higher Education; Information Literacy
lecture / presentation description
In the era of “fake” news, becoming information literate means more than being able to locate and utilize reputable sources in writing assignments. It also means developing the critical skills necessary to detect fraudulent reporting. Parody, as a double-voiced discourse practice (in that it both repeats and critiques its target), can help students develop the critical frameworks for evaluating claims and discerning reliable information from “fake news.” It can also help them develop a better sense of the two-step rhetorical moves of research writing, which involve repeating information from sources and deploying them for a new purpose. This presentation theorizes the role of parody in the research writing classroom, and discusses the ways it can help students confront the challenges of information literacy in a context where false or “fake” information is difficult to sort from reliable information. After presenting theory and history of parody and its ideological and pedagogical functions (Hutcheon, Mack, Maxon, McLaren), I then discuss how I use parody in my research writing classes to both provide students with insights on how the “real” can be twisted into the “fake” (by examining at examples of parody by the Yes Men and the Atlas Group and by producing their own parodies) and to improve their own facility with locating, analyzing, and incorporating sources into their own research writing.