About the Project

Each year, Miami University’s Humanities Center sponsors the John W. Altman Program for faculty and students to research, discuss, and collaborate on interdisciplinary topics. Two faculty Altman Fellows lead the program, and a team of Faculty Scholars and undergraduate and graduate students join in exploring a yearlong central theme within the context of their own fields of study.

The 2018-19 Altman Program theme, “Truth and Lies,” poses important questions about truth-telling in our public, cultural and political spheres. In an era marked by buzzwords like “post-truth” and “fake news,” how does our democracy support — or undermine — a shared conception of truth? How can the humanities engage with truth in an analytical fashion?

These are the questions the Altman Program’s six Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellows sought to answer through taking an upper-level seminar “Truth and Lies” course, attending distinguished lectures and panels and undertaking our own research projects. We offer this project as a culmination of this work, with the help of Miami University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and other contributors to the Altman Program.

The project consists of seven short videos, each of which features one of the Altman Program’s distinguished lecture guests from 2018-19. The videos are designed for consumption on social media and provide a brief introduction to the lecture guest, asking viewers to reflect on how the speaker’s work pertains to their own lives and to study of the humanities. We chose this medium as a challenge — to distill complex humanities topics into a “viral video” format we often see while scrolling through our social media feeds. We felt that sharing the conversations our Altman Program speakers have started with a broader public would prompt our peers outside of the Altman Program and the University to engage with these important and ongoing conversations about the nature of truth. This project aims to interrogate the concepts of “Truth and Lies” in the context of today’s fast-paced digital culture.