• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Security Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course examines a theme frequently identified as a difficult security challenge for policymakers: the rise of propaganda, populism, and information war, especially in the digital age. The course draws from the interdisciplinary nature of writing on this topic in order to provide students with the conceptual and empirical knowledge to make informed policy-focused assessments and analyses of the subject material.


Innovative assessment approaches (like identifying ‘fake’ news stories and deconstructing them) underscore the national security policy relevance of the material. Case studies on groups like the ‘alt-right’, and a comparative exercise on the national security challenges for democratic states provides students with the opportunity to study current and evolving events as they occur. Students will have the opportunity to combine conceptual understanding with policy awareness. The course will involve discussions with policy practitioners experiences in monitoring propaganda and information operations, who will present their insights on combatting these challenges in an Australian context.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand concepts related to propaganda and information war, with the ability to critically analyse them in a national security context
  2. Evaluate contemporary local, regional, and global challenges relating to propaganda and information war
  3. Critically analyse the responsiveness of security agencies to the security challenges posed by propaganda and information war
  4. Conduct independent research that demonstrates scholarly and practitioner-focused engagement with the subject matter, developing ideas and analysis for both audiences

Indicative Assessment

  1. Fake news exercise (30) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Research paper and Public Information Campaign (PIC) presentation to class (70) [LO 1,2,3,4]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


2 days (seminars) plus one extra day (seminars, consultations and public information campaigns)

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are unable to enrol in this course if you have previously completed NSPO8027

Prescribed Texts

A list of readings will be provided in lieu of a prescribed text

Preliminary Reading

Gareth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion. Sage: Newbury Park, 1986.

Peter W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, LikeWar: The weaponization of Social Media. (New York: Hackette, 2019).

Michael Jensen, "Russian Trolls and Fake News: Information or Identity Logics" Journal of International Affairs 71, 1.5 (2018): 115-124.


‘Background to Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution’, US Government, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 2017.

Cas Mudde, “The Populist Zeitgeist”, Government and Opposition 43, 3 (2004): 541-563.

Michael Hameleers, “Partisan Media, Polarized Audiences? A Qualitative Analysis of Online Political News and Responses in the US, UK and The Netherlands” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 31, 3 (2018): 485-505. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/edy022

Thomas O’Brien, ‘Populism, protest and democracy in the twenty-first century’, Contemporary Social Science 10, 4 (2015): 337-348.

Nancy L. Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead, A Lot of People of Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019).



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
3 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

3.00 0.06250
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3568 01 Apr 2021 TBA TBA 30 Jun 2021 In-Person and Online N/A

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