The SSRC’s Media & Democracy program has launched a series of workshops that put current controversies and debates into historical and cross-disciplinary perspectives. Here, Mike Miller and James Kirwan provide the key takeaways from a recent event on “A Modern History of the Disinformation Age.” Scholars at the workshop engaged the roots of our “epistemic crisis” regarding what counts as facts and as “reality.” Participants focused on actors who benefit from the questioning of truth claims, and how institutions that once served as gatekeepers for such claims have been weakened and unable to adjust to new media ecosystems.
James Kirwan is a program assistant for the Anxieties of Democracy and the Media & Democracy programs at the Social Science Research Council. Kirwan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in political science and religious studies. At the University of Pittsburgh Kirwan was involved with the White House–initiated It’s On Us Campaign, which works to prevent sexual violence on college campuses, and also founded the university’s Sexual Violence Coalition. During this time, he also worked as a program coordinator and resident assistant for Residence Life.