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HISTORY, POLITICAL THEORY, INTERNET

Category Archives: Conspiracy Theories

Must a conspiracy always go right up to the top?

“This goes all the way to the top” is one of the great clichés of conspiracy theory. It conjures an image of a group of cackling evildoers hatching a nefarious plot in a smoky room, swearing an oath and then secretly carrying out their elaborate design. In this model of a conspiracy, a small secret […]

2 February 2015
Crude conspiracies?

A common feature of some kinds of conspiracy theory is a claim that the ostensible motives of states when they intervene in the affairs of others are in fact not the ‘real’ motives.  Thus the assertion that the US and the UK went to war in Iraq not because of genuine fears that the Saddam […]

31 January 2015
A Most Argentine Affair?
A Most Argentine Affair?

‘I have no evidence’, wrote Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, ‘but no doubts either’. So the president of Argentina announced on Facebook and her website her conviction that Alberto Nisman, special prosecutor for the AMIA bomb attack of 1994, had not committed suicide on Sunday 19th January but had been the victim of a political murder plot.

29 January 2015
Watch “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: The Facts Surrounding a Fiction” talk by Dr Michael Hagemeister (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Watch “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: The Facts Surrounding a Fiction” talk by Dr Michael Hagemeister (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

A public talk by Dr Michael Hagemeister (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) with a response from Dr Reinhard Markner (Universität Innsbruck).   Investigations into the origin and early history of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” often lead to the border between fiction (or mystification) and historical fact. Furthermore, one can observe how this border is crossed: […]

10 November 2014
The Guy Fawkes Conspiracy
The Guy Fawkes Conspiracy

It’s the archetype of a conspiracy, complete with oaths of secrecy, a smoky room, and an agreement to commit treason. But, in the words of this BBC article, Was Guy Fawkes a Fall Guy? Take care to read past the first dozen or so paragraphs, where you will find that the answer, according to Cambridge […]

5 November 2014
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
Hunting for Conspiracy Theories, Part Two
Hunting for Conspiracy Theories, Part Two

I finished the previous blog with two questions: if we go hunting for conspiracy theories, where should we look? And what are the actual beasts we can expect to encounter? In some ways, what follows is therefore a first stab at some kind of taxonomy of conspiracy theories. It is undoubtedly possible to build such […]

27 June 2013
Hunting for Conspiracy Theories, Part One
Hunting for Conspiracy Theories, Part One

In the draft version of their paper which circulated on the internet and was simply titled “Conspiracy Theories,” the American legal scholars Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule surveyed the field of research and in light of this came to a simple quantitative conclusion: “The academic literature on conspiracy theories is thin …” In much of […]

17 June 2013
Politics and the Paranoid Style
Politics and the Paranoid Style

We’ve had quite a lively debate about Hofstadter in the last meeting, as is witnessed by the wonderful blogs by Alfred and Andrew, who very much help in placing him in his context. What I wanted to do was to extract from the piece the abstract conceptual tools Hofstadter affords us in his analysis of the paranoid style, […]

11 June 2013