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Interrogating "Conspiracism:" Exploring Motivations Behind..

Thursday, December 3, 2020
4:30 pm

"Interrogating 'Conspiracism:' Exploring Motivations Behind the Academic Treatment of Conspiracy Theories"

Presented by David Guignion as part of the Mediations Lecture Series.

Everyone is welcome. Contact the Mediations Facebook team for the Zoom info.

Abstract: In A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, Nancy L. Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead argue that conspiracy theories have mutated into “conspiracism,” a conspiracy theory “without the theory.” Conspiracism is fostered in the present twitter-age where (mis)information passes very quickly between people, foreclosing a fruitful engagement with any one datum to assess its validity. Rosenblum and Muirhead attend to this characterization to make sense of the heightened populist and conservative rhetoric that pervades the U.S. political scene, suggesting that the dearth of “theory” in conspiracism is indubitably suited to a conservative political mindset that wants to simply “delegitimate the infrastructure of the administrative state” (97).
I perform an interrogation of Rosenblum and Muirhead’s notion of “conspiracism” to demonstrate that their association of conspiracism with conservative politics and the twitter-age is fundamentally flawed and myopic. Drawing upon an abundance of research, I highlight that history is rife with both conspiracy theories and conspiracism, illuminating their perennial characters. Without acknowledging this, we risk mistaking some fundamental attributes of the conspiracy theory, or conspiracism, that make a holistic investigation of them productive.

Speaker Bio: Doctoral Student in Media Studies at The University of Western Ontario studying conspiracy theories.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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