The Secret History of the USA
From the CTY Course Catalog (2018):
As soon as Pilgrims landed in Plymouth in 1620, conspiracy theories, myths, and urban legends shrouded the New World. In the early 1690s, witches caused epileptic fits and crop failure in Salem, Massachusetts, and in the presidential election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson’s opponents characterized him as member of the Illuminati, a secret society determined to overthrow the world’s governments in order to consolidate power among a select elite. In this course, students analyze how and why conspiracy theories, myths, and urban legends exert such a hold upon the American imagination even though such beliefs cannot be substantiated by historical or scientific inquiry, ignore established evidence to the contrary, and deny the general consensus. By examining cultural phenomena such as Bigfoot, Area 51, Skull and Bones, the Kennedy assassination, Sandy Hook deniers, and Slender Man, students develop a deep understanding of the social and psychological forces at work underneath our culture’s most enduring anxieties.