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HISTORY, POLITICAL THEORY, INTERNET

Category Archives: Public events

Watch “Anglo-American Conservatism & Transatlantic Threat” talk by Professor Kathy Olmsted (UC Davis)
Watch “Anglo-American Conservatism & Transatlantic Threat” talk by Professor Kathy Olmsted (UC Davis)

Professor Olmsted’s (Professor and Chair of History at the University of California, Davis) talk examines British and American anticommunist conspiracy theories in the 1920s and 1930s. In both countries, former wartime intelligence agency chiefs set up private intelligence networks in the post-World War I era to spy upon and blacklist radicals — and, not incidentally, […]

4 September 2014
Watch “American Conspiracy Theories” talk by Professors Joseph Usciniski (Miami) and Joseph Parent (Miami)
Watch “American Conspiracy Theories” talk by Professors Joseph Usciniski (Miami) and Joseph Parent (Miami)

Are conspiracy theories overtaking deliberative societies, inflaming discourse and degrading democracy? How much more prone to violence are conspiracy theorists? Which political party is more likely to traffic in conspiratorial talk? Has the Internet ushered in a new era of conspiracy-fueled paranoia? Using original data sources spanning more than a century, Joseph E. Uscinski and […]

Watch “Conspiracy theories between secular scepticism + religious salvation” talk by Stef Aupers (Erasmus)
Watch “Conspiracy theories between secular scepticism + religious salvation” talk by Stef Aupers (Erasmus)

A Public Lecture by Conspiracy & Democracy Visiting Fellow Stef Aupers (Erasmus University of Rotterdam) In the social sciences, a conspiracy theory is often disqualified as ‘irrational’ superstition or religious belief. In defense, conspiracy theorists present their methods of inquiry as utterly rational – often even more scientific than ‘dogmatic’ institutionalized science. In this lecture, […]

Watch “Conspiracy Theories in France and Italy” talk by Dr Pascal Girard (Reims)
Watch “Conspiracy Theories in France and Italy” talk by Dr Pascal Girard (Reims)

Dr Pascal Girard (Reims) speaks about ‘Conspiracy Theories in France and Italy during the Cold War and Decolonization’. Dr Girard’s talk explores how in the late forties and in the fifties, conspiracy was a significant concern in French and Italian politics. Dr Girard describes how the “red scare” greatly varied depending on the period, the […]

Watch “Mafia and Conspiracy” talk by Dwight Smith
Watch “Mafia and Conspiracy” talk by Dwight Smith

Mr Smith’s talk explored how the idea of the mafia and conspiracy emerged in America, developed and became entangled in very different contexts. Mr Smith describes the ideas, experiences, and events through which his book, ‘The Mafia Mystique’ (1975), took shape; the consequences of those events that have led to contemporary public understanding and use […]

The Poisoned Chalice of Counter-Revolutionary Conspiracy Theory
The Poisoned Chalice of Counter-Revolutionary Conspiracy Theory

Reflections on the lecture given on 10 June, 2014 by Prof. Samuel Moyn (Columbia): “Is Democracy Conspiratorial?” In the research literature one often comes across the statement that every conspiracy theory contains a grain of truth. Indeed, one finds the statement repeated so often that it has taken on the trappings of a tired platitude. […]

19 June 2014
Communism, Conspiracy, and Surveillance
Communism, Conspiracy, and Surveillance

Why do people believe in conspiracies? This is the way our topic is often framed. It sets the scene for psychological studies aimed at finding out why people would entertain conspiracy theories – the nuttier the better – and, more broadly, how to respond to these dangerous misperceptions, false beliefs and paranoid suspicions. These are […]

8 June 2014
Old conspiracy theories never die.  They just mutate with the times.
Old conspiracy theories never die. They just mutate with the times.

At our Festival of Ideas gig on Wednesday someone asked a question that none of us had ever considered: how do conspiracy theories end? Tony Badger took it on, and talked about how the anti-communist hysteria of Senator Joe McCarthy’s time had endured over time, taking different forms in different eras, right down to the […]

26 October 2013
What is the problem with conspiracy theories?
What is the problem with conspiracy theories?

One of the panels at the conference I’m currently attending was devoted to the psychology of conspiracy theorizing. It looks extremely interesting (more later), but in this post I just want to pay attention to the question why, exactly, conspiracy theorizing is a problem. So why are conspiracy theories problematic? And why in particular are they […]

30 August 2013