A reference guide to conspiracy theory presents over 300 entries describing events and theories, analyzing the historical, intellectual, and political context of each, and offering evidence to support or refute each one.
Author: Peter Knight
The first comprehensive history of conspiracies and conspiracy theories in the United States. * Over 300 A-Z entries on various events, ideas, and persons, as well as crucial supporting and refuting evidence, and competing explanations for the origins, history, and popularity of this mode of political thought * Primary documents from organizations promoting conspiracy theories * Contributions from over 100 international scholars with a full range of historical expertise * Separate section containing about 100 illustrative extracts covering the full range of American history, each with a brief headnote placing it in context
Asserts that the Founders' hard-nosed realism about the likelihood of elite political misconduct—articulated in the Declaration of Independence—has been replaced by today's blanket condemnation of conspiracy beliefs as ludicrous by ...
Author: Lance deHaven-Smith
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Category: Political Science
Asserts that the Founders' hard-nosed realism about the likelihood of elite political misconduct—articulated in the Declaration of Independence—has been replaced by today's blanket condemnation of conspiracy beliefs as ludicrous by definition.
" But these "losers" can end up having tremendous influence on the course of history, and American Conspiracy Theories is an unprecedented examination of one of the defining features of American political life.
Author: Joseph E. Uscinski
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Political Science
We are living in an age of conspiracy theories, whether it's enduring, widely held beliefs such as government involvement in the Kennedy assassination or alien activity at Roswell, fears of a powerful infiltrating group such as the Illuminati, Jews, Catholics, or communists, or modern fringe movements of varying popularity such as birtherism and trutherism. What is it in American culture that makes conspiracy theories proliferate? Who is targeted, and why? Are we in the heyday of the conspiracy theory, or is it in decline? Though there is significant scholarly literature on the topic in psychology, sociology, philosophy, and more, American Conspiracy Theories is the first to use broad, long-term empirical data to analyze this popular American tendency. Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent draw on three sources of original data: 120,000 letters to the editor of the New York Times and Chicago Tribune from between 1890 and 2010; a two-wave survey from before and after the 2012 presidential election; and discussions of conspiracy theories culled from online news sources, blogs, and other Web sites, also from before and after the election. Through these sources, they are able to address crucial questions, such as similarities and differences in the nature of conspiracy theories over time, the role of the Internet and communications technologies in spreading modern conspiracy theories, and whether politics, economics, media, war, or other factors are most important in popularizing conspiratorial beliefs. Ultimately, they conclude that power asymmetries, both foreign and domestic, are the main drivers behind conspiracy theories, and that those at the bottom of power hierarchies have a strategic interest in blaming those at the top-in other words, "conspiracy theories are for losers." But these "losers" can end up having tremendous influence on the course of history, and American Conspiracy Theories is an unprecedented examination of one of the defining features of American political life.
As the historian David Bennett has argued, anti-alien movements have helped
many Americans find “closeness, community, and authority.”2 In the most
influential interpretation of American conspiracy theories, historian Richard
Author: Joseph E. Uscinski
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Category: Political Science
Conspiracy theories are inevitable in complex human societies. And while they have always been with us, their ubiquity in our political discourse is nearly unprecedented. Their salience has increased for a variety of reasons including the increasing access to information among ordinary people, a pervasive sense of powerlessness among those same people, and a widespread distrust of elites. Working in combination, these factors and many other factors are now propelling conspiracy theories into our public sphere on a vast scale. In recent years, scholars have begun to study this genuinely important phenomenon in a concerted way. In Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them, Joseph E. Uscinski has gathered forty top researchers on the topic to provide both the foundational tools and the evidence to better understand conspiracy theories in the United States and around the world. Each chapter is informed by three core questions: Why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories? What are the effects of such theories when they take hold in the public? What can or should be done about the phenomenon? Combining systematic analysis and cutting-edge empirical research, this volume will help us better understand an extremely important, yet relatively neglected, phenomenon.
deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America; Greg Weiner, Madison's
Metronome: The Constitution, Majority Rule, and the Tempo of American Politics (
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2019). 24. Don Van Natta, Jr., Adam
Liptak and ...
Author: George A. Gonzalez
Publisher: Lexington Books
Category: Political Science
The forward progress of society is not automatic and should not be taken for granted. The assassination President John F. Kennedy in 1963 ended his effort to deploy American prestige, power to forward progressive change worldwide. Today, there are political forces seeking to stop progressive social, political, economic change. Whatever their reasons, such forces are conspiring to impose authoritarianism to suppress the public’s desire for just, democratic governance, government. The brutality, violence, viciousness, racism (dystopia) of authoritarianism is becoming more and more the hallmark of world politics. Perhaps the most glaring aspect of this dystopia is the fact that the American state has been almost continuously at war for the past roughly 30 years – including a sinister, dastardly drone assassination program. One means to obscure the ongoing conspiracy to ultimately impose outright dictatorship on the American people and the rest of the world is to smear, malign critics of this conspiracy as guilt of conspiracy theory – advocating, embracing baseless fantasies. Worse yet, proponents of conspiracy theory (by implication) are deemed as psychologically suspect for arguing that political elites are engaged in a process to eliminate all meaningful vestiges of democracy.
See also Robin Ramsay, “Of Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories: The Truth
Buried by the Fantasies,” talk given at ... See James A. Patterson, “Changing
Images of the Beast: Apocalyptic Conspiracy Theories in American History,”
Author: Thomas Milan Konda
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
It’s tempting to think that we live in an unprecedentedly fertile age for conspiracy theories, with seemingly each churn of the news cycle bringing fresh manifestations of large-scale paranoia. But the sad fact is that these narratives of suspicion—and the delusional psychologies that fuel them—have been a constant presence in American life for nearly as long as there’s been an America. In this sweeping book, Thomas Milan Konda traces the country’s obsession with conspiratorial thought from the early days of the republic to our own anxious moment. Conspiracies of Conspiracies details centuries of sinister speculations—from antisemitism and anti-Catholicism to UFOs and reptilian humanoids—and their often incendiary outcomes. Rather than simply rehashing the surface eccentricities of such theories, Konda draws from his unprecedented assemblage of conspiratorial writing to crack open the mindsets that lead people toward these self-sealing worlds of denial. What is distinctively American about these theories, he argues, is not simply our country’s homegrown obsession with them but their ongoing prevalence and virulence. Konda proves that conspiracy theories are no harmless sideshow. They are instead the dark and secret heart of American political history—one that is poisoning the bloodstream of an increasingly sick body politic.
Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories Rob Brotherton. 56 56 56 56 57 57 58 ...
Political Psychology, 16(2), 237–257. surveyed Americans shortly after the 2012
presidential election: Uscinski, J. E., & Parent, J. M. (2014). American Conspiracy
Author: Rob Brotherton
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
'A first class book' Sunday Times We're all conspiracy theorists. Some of us just hide it better than others. Conspiracy theorists do not wear tin-foil hats (for the most part). They are not just a few kooks lurking on the paranoid fringes of society with bizarre ideas about shape-shifting reptilian aliens running society in secret. They walk among us. They are us. Everyone loves a good conspiracy. Yet conspiracy theories are not a recent invention. And they are not always a harmless curiosity. In Suspicious Minds, Rob Brotherton explores the history and consequences of conspiracism, and delves into the research that offers insights into why so many of us are drawn to implausible, unproven and unproveable conspiracy theories. They resonate with some of our brain's built-in quirks and foibles, and tap into some of our deepest desires, fears, and assumptions about the world. The fascinating and often surprising psychology of conspiracy theories tells us a lot – not just why we are drawn to theories about sinister schemes, but about how our minds are wired and, indeed, why we believe anything at all. Conspiracy theories are not some psychological aberration – they're a predictable product of how brains work. This book will tell you why, and what it means. Of course, just because your brain's biased doesn't always mean you're wrong. Sometimes conspiracies are real. Sometimes, paranoia is prudent.
Many people who endorse conspiracy theories don't think of them as “conspiracy theories” in the pejorative sense, but instead regard them as truths. Let us first be
clear by what we mean. We define a conspiracy theory as any narrative about ...
Author: J. Eric Oliver
Category: Political Science
America is in civic chaos, its politics rife with conspiracy theories and false information. Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the rise, while scientists, universities, and news organizations are viewed with increasing mistrust. Its citizens reject scientific evidence on climate change and vaccinations while embracing myths of impending apocalypse. And then there is Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who won the support of millions of conservative Christians despite having no moral or political convictions. What is going on? The answer, according to J. Eric Oliver and Thomas J. Wood, can be found in the most important force shaping American politics today: human intuition. Much of what seems to be irrational in American politics arises from the growing divide in how its citizens make sense of the world. On one side are rationalists. They use science and reason to understand reality. On the other side are intuitionists. They rely on gut feelings and instincts as their guide to the world. Intuitionists believe in ghosts and End Times prophecies. They embrace conspiracy theories, disbelieve experts, and distrust the media. They are stridently nationalistic and deeply authoritarian in their outlook. And they are the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. The primary reason why Trump captured the presidency was that he spoke about politics in a way that resonated with how Intuitionists perceive the world. The Intuitionist divide has also become a threat to the American way of life. A generation ago, intuitionists were dispersed across the political spectrum, when most Americans believed in both God and science. Today, intuitionism is ideologically tilted toward the political right. Modern conservatism has become an Intuitionist movement, defined by conspiracy theories, strident nationalism, and hostility to basic civic norms. Enchanted America is a clarion call to rationalists of all political persuasions to reach beyond the minority and speak to intuitionists in a way they understand. The values and principles that define American democracy are at stake.
Author: Professor of History Julian SwannPublish On: 2004
How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where it Comes From ( New York 1997 ) ;
Mark Fenster , Conspiracy Theories . Secrecy and Power in American Culture (
Minneapolis 1999 ) ; Timothy Melley , Empire of Conspiracy . The Culture of ...
Author: Professor of History Julian Swann
Guy Fawkes and his gunpowder plot, the 'Man in the Iron Mask' and the 'Devils of Loudun' have offered some of the most compelling images of the early modern period. Conspiracies, real or imagined, were an essential feature of early modern life, offering a seemingly rational and convincing explanation for patterns of political and social behaviour.Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theory in Early Modern Europe examines conspiracies and conspiracy theories from an interdisciplinary perspective, by combining the theoretical approach of the history of ideas with specific examples from the period. Each contribution addresses a number of common themes through a series of original case studies, examining why certain groups were perceived in conspiratorial terms, and how far, if at all, these attitudes were challenged or redefined by the enlightenment.
When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who believe and repeat it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself.
Author: Jesse Walker
Publisher: Harper Collins
Category: Social Science
A history of America's demons 1693: Cotton Mather suggests that the spirits attacking Salem are allied with the colony's human enemies. At their "Cheef Witch-meetings," he writes, "there has been present some French canadians, and some Indian Sagamores, to concert the methods of ruining New England." 1835: A gunman tries to kill Andrew Jackson. The president accuses a senator of plotting the assassination. Jackson's critics counter that the shooting was arranged by the president himself to gain public support. 1868: An article in the New-York Tribune declares that the Democrats have engineered malaria outbreaks in the nation's capital, pumping "the air, and the water, and the whisky of Washington full of poison." 1967: President Lyndon Johnson asks his cabinet if the Communists are behind the country's urban riots. The attorney general tells him that the evidence isn't there, but Johnson isn't convinced. Conspiracy theories aren't just a feature of the fringe. They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, at the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. In The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker explores this rich history, arguing that conspiracy stories should be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but also as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who believe and repeat it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself. In a story that stretches from the seventeenth century to today, Walker lays out five conspiracy narratives that recur in American politics and popular culture. With intensive research and a deadpan sense of humor, The United States of Paranoia combines the rigor of real history with the punch of pulp fiction.
Offering up a provocative array of examples, ranging from alien abduction to the novels of DeLillo and Pynchon to Tupac Shakur's "paranoid style," Conspiracy Nation documents and unearths the workings of conspiracy in the contemporary ...
Author: Peter Knight
Publisher: NYU Press
Why are Americans today so fascinated by the X-Files? How did rumors emerge about the origins of the AIDS virus as a weapon of biowarfare? Why does the Kennedy assassination provoke heated debate nearly forty years after the fact, and what do we make of Hillary Clinton's accusation of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband? The origins of these ideas reveal important facets of American culture and politics. Placing conspiracy thinking at the center of American history, and challenging the knee-jerk dismissal of conspiratorial thought as deluded and sometimes dangerous, Conspiracy Nation provides a wide-ranging survey of conspiracy theories in contemporary America. In the 19th century, inflammatory rhetoric about slave revolts, the well-publicized specter of the black rapist, and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan all worked as conspiracy theories to legitimate an emerging sense of national consciousness based on an ideology of white supremacy. Today, panicked responses to increasing multiculturalism and globalization yield new notions of victimhood and new theories about conspiratorial plans for global domination. Offering up a provocative array of examples, ranging from alien abduction to the novels of DeLillo and Pynchon to Tupac Shakur's "paranoid style," Conspiracy Nation documents and unearths the workings of conspiracy in the contemporary moment. Their conclusions, sometimes startling and always compelling, have much to say about the nature of identity and anxiety, imagination and politics, and the state of the American psyche today. Contributors: Clare Birchall, Jack Bratich, Bridget Brown, Jodi Dean, Ingrid Walker Fields, Douglas Kellner, Peter Knight, Fran Mason, John A. McClure, Timothy Melley, Eithne Quinn, and Skip Willman.
Hitler completed the conspiracy theory of Fascism when he made the chillastic
announcement that the Third Reich would reign for a thousand years . The Grand Conspiracy theory now prominent in 20th century America is intellectually , as ...
ANTI - AMERICAN CONSPIRACY THEORIES Since American colonial times , a
long succession of conspirators have been accused of anti - American plots . The
most widely held American version of conspiracy theory in this century has been
Author: Tricia Andryszewski
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
Explores the roots of the militia movement's growth in the United States, its connection with mainstream society, the ideologies of anti-government groups, and the tragedies at Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Oklahoma City.
crisis of postmodernity , but conspiracy theories have apparently arisen in answer
to both.3 The third school focuses on the ... than their function or pathology and is
especially interested in the role of conspiracy theories in an American context .
conspiracy idea in America is the idea that somewhere , whether at home or
abroad , there exists a secret and ... In what follows will examine some of the
most important conspiracy theories in recent American politics , starting with the
ideas of ...
mindset of the contemporary conspiracy theorist - even if they have frequently
offered mutually exclusive explanations for ... I then discuss Kathryn Olmsted ' s
Real Enemies : Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy , World War I to 9
A survey of conspiracy theories in American public life shows that these tend to
come disproportionately from two broad groups of people : the politically
disaffected and the culturally suspicious . THE DISAFFECTED Conspiracy theory
is the ...
Author: Daniel Pipes
Publisher: Daniel Pipes
Presents a history and analysis of conspiracy theories in the West and explores their impact on world events
conspiracy. theory. Various media polls taken during the 1980's and 1990's
showed that approximately one-third of African ... African Americans' suspicions
were fueled, in part, by public scrutiny of the Tuskegee experiment (19321972), ...
Veterans of both smear campaigns are actively promoting the North American
Union conspiracy theory . In addition , anti - immigrant xenophobes and
antisemitic conspiracists are using the issue to recruit new adherents . There is a
Finally , along specific conspiracy theory lines , in Empire of Conspiracy : The
Culture of Paranoia in Postwar America ... As Mark Fenster notes in Conspiracy Theories , cyberpunks and conspiracy theorists often share the same cultural