Rachel G. Hoffman is a Research Fellow in History on the project, and a Fellow in History at King’s College, University of Cambridge. Her research explores the connection between conspiracy theories and revolutions in nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe. Between the American and French Revolutions and the First World War, Europe experienced an explosion of conspiracy theories. State and police officials, politicians, journalists, political writers and the public in general frequently explained events by creating and drawing on notions of conspiratorial intrigues, variously accusing liberals, Catholics, Jews, Freemasons, socialists, communists, anarchists and other groups of engaging in covert schemes to manipulate social and political affairs. Revolutions, and the restoration of the social and political order that followed, were breeding grounds for conspiracy theories. Taking the major revolutionary breaks of 1789, 1848, 1871 and 1917/18 as a vantage point, the project addresses the relationship between conspiracy theories, revolutions and counter-revolutions in a comparative study of Britain, France, Germany and Austria.
Rachel completed her Bachelor in History at Brown University and her Master in History at the University of Cambridge. Her Cambridge doctoral dissertation examines political murder plots and assassination attempts against heads of state and high-ranking officials in Germany between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the outbreak of the First World War. She has held visiting research positions at Yale University and the New School for Social Research.
Aside from assassins and conspirators, rebels and revolutionaries, Rachel is also interested more generally in crime, politics and justice in modern history.