• Class Number 3955
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Colum Graham
    • Colum Graham
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

We are being lied to at every turn. Our perceptions of the world are manipulated and things that matter to us are decided behind a veil of secrecy. At the same time, accusations of lying, 'false news' and conspiracy undermine social trust. Drawing especially from examples in and about Asia, this course examines how and why lies are constructed, why we believe them (and why we often want to believe them) and how we can use investigative techniques to get closer to the truth. This course utilises a historical approach combined with contemporary examples to understand the role of lies, conspiracy, and propaganda.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. understand and evaluate the characteristics of public deception, including common forms of lying, techniques for manipulation and the circumstances in which deception is attempted
  2. critically analyse the impact of culture and of political circumstance on patterns of deception and credulity
  3. undertake source-critical research aimed at better determining the reliability of information
  4. demonstrate the most important elements of good writing and presentation practice
  5. engage effectively in high-level argument and debate

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction; Detecting Lies
2 Complicit Lies; The problem of Knowledge
3 Background for research essay; The problem of memory
4 Lying with maps and photos; Rumours
5 Propaganda and persuasion; Unravelling Indonesia’s 1965 coup
6 Hoaxes and fraud; Introduction to the research task
7 Fake news and Lies in Politics; Good academic presentation
8 Student presentation rehearsals
9 Student presentations Note that to comply with the requirements of the CAP Education Committee for the auditability of assessment, student presentations will be recorded.
10 Student presentations Note that to comply with the requirements of the CAP Education Committee for the auditability of assessment, student presentations will be recorded.
11 Lying with numbers: statistics; Good academic writing
12 Conspiracy; Surveillance

Tutorial Registration

There is no separate tutorial registration for this course.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Class participation 2 % 26/02/2021 1
Class participation 2 % 12/03/2021 1
Class participation 2 % 19/03/2021 1
Class participation 2 % 26/03/2021 1
Class participation 2 % 21/05/2021 1
Roundtable discussion 30 % 14/05/2021 1,2,3,4
Document research project 40 % 28/05/2021 1,2,3,4
Presentation 20 % 21/05/2021 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 26/02/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1

Class participation

The Arbuthnot letter purports to be a letter written by a British naval officer, Claude Arbuthnot, to his wife, describing his experiences during the British occupation of Java in the early 19th century. Some specialists regard it as a fake but others have read it as a useful, though idiosyncratic, account that reveals otherwise little-known details of the period. Read the letter and come to a judgment about its authenticity. If you think it is the document it purports to be, give your reasons. Otherwise identify the features of the letter that might suggest it is a fake.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 12/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1

Class participation

In preparation for next week, prepare and submit three questions relating to student life at ANU which might be usefully asked in the presence of a lie detector. Explain why you think they would be effective. To answer this question effectively, you will need to pay close attention to the lecture on detecting lies. 

No more than 200 words.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 19/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1

Class participation

Plagiarism has been defined as 'the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own'. Present four ethical arguments for or against plagiarism (max 200 words).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 26/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1

Class participation

Read the first three paragraphs of the Pan Asianism essay. Use track changes to correct errors and make improvements and use Comment to identify problems in style or argument. Aim to improve the essay's clarity and power. I have provided sample comments on the first sentences. You do not need to mark the whole essay as intensively as I have done.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 2 %
Due Date: 21/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1

Class participation

View David Christian, The history of our world in 18 minutes and Richard Bulliet Korea, Japan, and China in the Sixteenth Century, (just the first 18 minutes) and write a brief analysis (200 words) of the differences between the two speakers.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 14/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Roundtable discussion

Assessment Task 7

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 28/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Document research project

Assessment Task 8

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 21/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 5


Submit your presentation outline, including bibliography

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Colum Graham

Research Interests

Indonesia, historical geography, nationalism, political history, political economy, agrarian studies

Colum Graham

By Appointment
Colum Graham

Research Interests

Colum Graham

By Appointment

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