There are have been no news items posted in the past 3 months

Upcoming Events

Apr 18 Hosted by: Andrew Neal # CeSeR; Hosted by: Penny Fielding # Spy Week; Hosted by: Simon Cooke # Spy Week Conspiracy: CeSeR annual conference 09:00 (12 hours) Screening Room, 50 George Square


a multi-disciplinary one-day conference

Wednesday 18 April, University of Edinburgh

Part of Spy Week 2018

Nearly 200 years after the Cato Street ‘conspirators’ planned to murder the British Prime Minister, the concept of conspiracy has spread from single plots to a heterogeneous phenomenon that touches on government, medicine, climate change, finance, information technology and much else.  The cultural and political agency of conspiracy has been much debated. Are conspiracies a paranoid delusion, a comforting belief that the truth is ‘out there’ if we persist in looking for it, or are they a necessary resistance to a globalised world that excludes most people from power?  

Keynote speaker:

Mark Laity, Director of Communications at SHAPE, NATO’s Military Headquarters

Title: 'Spooked - spy stories and the loss of trust"

The conference will address questions including but not limited to:

  • What is the psychology of conspiracy? What encourages belief in specific theories?
  • Who uncovers them?  Have we moved from the stereotypical white male conspiracy theorist?
  • How does conspiracy touch on ideas of agency, the nature of truth claims, the uses of secrecy, the role of populism?
  • What is the relation of secrecy and conspiracy to democracy?
  • How do cultural forms and historical narratives engage with fictions of conspiracy?
  • How are conspiracy theories mediated and circulated and what is the role of conspiracy in reporting and propaganda? 
  • How should we formulate the role of conspiracy in the era of Wikileaks, ‘hacking’, ‘post-truth’, and ‘fake news’?

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Stef Aupers, Professor of Media Culture, University of Leuven
  • Clare Birchall, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Culture, King’s College London
  • Karen Douglas, Professor of Social Psychology, University of Kent
  • Peter Knight, Professor of American Studies, University of Manchester
  • Andrew McKenzie-McHarg, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
  • Ilya Yablokov, Teaching Fellow in Russian Studies, University of Leeds

This conference takes place all day Wednesday 18 April during the University of Edinburgh’s Spy Week—an annual series of public events on espionage in fiction, film, politics and history.

We invite abstracts (title + 200 words) for paper presentations from the fields of politics, international relations, literature, history, psychology, area studies, or other relevant fields. Non-presenting participants are also welcome (spaces should be booked via Eventbrite)

Deadline for abstracts: Friday 9 February, to be sent to:

Attendance is free. We will provide buffet lunch for conference attendees and dinner for paper givers. The conference will conclude with a public keynote lecture from Mark Laity as part of Spy Week.

We are also pleased to be able to offer four funded places of up to £200 for travel and accommodation for student paper givers who are members of the British International Studies Association, thanks to sponsorship from the BISA Poststructural Politics Working Group.

Conference organisers:

Andrew Neal, Centre for Security Research, Politics and International Relations

Simon Cooke, Department of English Literature

Penny Fielding, Department of English Literature