identify one specific rumor, urban legend, or conspiracy theory, describe it, and analyze its significance for contemporary society.


For this paper, identify one specific rumor, urban legend, or conspiracy theory, describe it, and analyze its significance for contemporary society. You should assume the rumor you choose is untrue (i.e. “highly unverified”); however, our main goal is not to prove or disprove the belief or story, but rather to explain its meaning in a broader social, cultural, or political context.  What does the rumor tell us about the society or culture that circulates it or believes in it? How might it reflect responses to real conflicts or social changes or to widespread fears, hostilities, or desires?  What impact does the rumor have on people’s behaviors or attitudes? How might it have shaped or be shaping society, culture, or politics?  Points you might address in your analysis: o How does the rumor / conspiracy theory circulate? Who seems to believe it? Who may share or promote it for their own purposes even if they don’t believe it? o What can we learn about a group’s broader beliefs, fears, or concerns from studying this rumor, urban legend, or conspiracy theory? o What is the rumor’s significance for society, culture, or politics? o What influence does it exert over people’s behavior?  A conclusion – Make the case for why your analysis matters. Why is it important to study this belief?  A works cited list. Your paper should use one reading from our textbook: use Knapp’s “A Psychology of Rumor,” or DiFonzo’s “How Rumors Help Us Make Sense of an Uncertain World,” or Sunstein’s “Rumor Cascades and Group Polarization.” In addition, your paper should use at least five additional sources found through research . Two of those additional sources should be scholarly sources (peer-reviewed articles or books from university presses). Make sure that your essay includes:  An introduction that frames the paper as a whole by drawing the reader’s attention, introducing the issue, explaining any necessary context, and establishing your thesis  A thesis statement that establishes an analytical claim about the rumor  Reasoning and support, including factual support, for your claim in body paragraphs  Six relevant sources total (one from our readings, five from research [two of which should be scholarly])  A clear, cohesive structure that develops the thesis  A satisfying conclusion emphasizing why your analysis of this rumor, urban legend, or conspiracy theory matters  Clear prose reasonably free of errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation  Proper integration of material from sources using summary, paraphrase, or quotation as appropriate, as well as proper in-text citations and works cited entries  MLA formatting The essay should be five pages in length, not including the works cited page

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