Conspiracy: CeSeR annual conference

Conspiracy: CeSeR annual conference: Part of Spy Week 2018
Hosted by: Andrew Neal # CeSeR; Hosted by: Penny Fielding # Spy Week; Hosted by: Simon Cooke # Spy Week
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
18th Apr 2018 09:00 - 18th Apr 2018 19:15
Screening Room, 50 George Square
‘Conspiracy’ : a multi-disciplinary one-day conference
Please register with Eventbrite
Part of Spy Week 2018, an annual series of public events on espionage in fiction, film, politics and history.
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?
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’?
Provisional programme:
9.00-9.20 Registration
9.20-9.30 Welcome and introduction: Andrew Neal, CeSeR director; Penny Fielding, Spy Week director
9.30-10.50 First session: Conspiracy and complicity
1. Peter Knight, American Studies, University of Manchester
Conspiracy, Collusion and Complicity
2. Clare Birchall, Contemporary Culture, King’s College London
Conspiracy Theories, Trump, and Academic Complicity
10.50-11.10 Coffee break
11.10-12.30 Second session: Conspiracy and psychology
3. Karen Douglas, Social Psychology, University of Kent
The psychology of conspiracy theories
4. Daniel Jolley, Psychology, Staffordshire University
Belief in conspiracy theories and intentions to engage in everyday crime
12.30–13.15 Lunch (sandwich buffet provided)
13.15-15.15 Third session: Imagining power
5. Stef Aupers, Media Studies, KU Leuven
Imagining the elite. How and why conspiracy theorists decode mass media texts about celebrities
6. Terence Sawyers, Media, Communications and Performing Arts, Queen Margaret University
Philip K. Dick: Popular Culture’s Conspiracy Theorist in residence
7. Evren Eken, Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
Lay Theories of International Relations: The Role of Conspiracies on the Conduct of Geopolitical Space
15.15-15.30 Coffee break
15.30-17.20 Fourth session: Genealogy of conspiracy theories
8. Andrew McKenzie-McHarg, History, University of Cambridge
Why, when we speak of conspiracy theories, do we speak ofconspiracy theories? The conceptual history of conspiracy theory
9. Ilya Yablokov, Russian Studies, University of Leeds
What really happened in 1991? The Soviet collapse and the culture of conspiracy in the post- Soviet space
10. Tim Hayward, Politics and IR, University of Edinburgh
In Praise of Conspiracy Theory
17.30-19.15 Public keynote, Room 1.06, 50 George Square [subject to space]
Mark Laity, Director of Communications at SHAPE, NATO’s Military Headquarters
Spooked - spy stories and the loss of trust
Conference organisers:
Andrew Neal, Centre for Security Research, Politics and International Relations
Simon Cooke, Department of English Literature
Penny Fielding, Department of English Literature