Between Fake and Conspiracy


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Academic Responsibility

Prof. Dr. theol. Simone Paganini

Chair of Biblical Theology

Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Thomas Niehr

German Linguistics

Contact Person





Tuesday, 6:30 -8:00 p.m.




The term ‘fake news’ has long been an integral part of private and political debates. At least since the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, an almost inflationary use of the term can be observed. But what exactly is fake news?

This Leonardo module focuses on the term ‘fake news’ in order to examine it more closely from an interdisciplinary perspective. Among other things, the module will attempt to clarify since when fake news has been around, which strategies are used when playing with facts and fiction, for what purpose fake news is used and disseminated, what influence it has on our view of the world and, last but not least, what it says about our society.

In a first step, the module will outline the development of “Fake News” over the course of history and art history. In a second step, the meta-level will be in focus, with the question of the political, economic, ethical and social relevance of fake news for our world today as a central focus.

Learning Outcomes

Students will become familiar with the term ‘fake news’ and its aspects and dimensions and will get the opportunity to reflect on political and private discourses in a language-critical way.



Fake News in Art History

Prof. Dr. Alexander Markschies
Department of Art History, RWTH


 Fake News as a Medium of Propaganda: The Example of the DDR

PD Dr. phil. Ines Soldwisch
Deparment of History, RWTH


Fakes News from the Perspective of Economic Science: Business Model or Cost Factor?

Prof. Dr. rer. pol., Peter Letmathe
Department of Controlling, RWTH


Lies are Forbidden! Fake News and Publics Relations

Thorsten Karbach, M.A.
Dezernat 3.0 – Public Relations, RWTH


Fake-News in Context of Climate Change

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael Leuchner
Physical Geography and Climatology Group, RWTH


Fake News and Conspiracy Theories in Digital Media

Dr. Joachim Allgaier
Chair of Theory of Science and Technology


Fake News and Conspiracies: Media-Ethical Considerations”

Dr. Carmen Kremer
Chair of Theory of Science and Technology 


The Pope, Donald Trump, Angela Merkel und Immigrants. Fake News from the Perspective of Linguistics 

Prof. Dr. phil. Thomas Niehr
German Linguistics


Targeted Disinformation as an Element of Hybrid Conflicts“

Prof. Dr. Ralph Rotte
Institute for Political Science, RWTH


Fake, Ethics and Responsibilty

Prof. Dr. Saskia Nagel/Hendrik Kempt, M.A.
Applied Ethics with a focus on the Ethics of Technology and Environmental Ethics, RWTH



Montag 12:00 Uhr

Titel der Veranstaltung



Procedure/Work method​

Depending on the course of studies, module and examination, credit points can be achieved through participation.



Certificate of Participation (0 CP, not graded)
Preparation of a list of questions for a lecture (2 CP, not graded)
Preparation of a list of questions for a lecture and writing an essay (3 CP)
Preparation of a list of questions for a lecture and participation in a final exam (4 CP)

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