PIs: Lisa Wedeen and Joe Masco
Conspiracy theorists typically view what might be regarded as disparate happenings as connected, products of an intentional force whose interests are ultimately served by and organized through another's victimization, exploitation, or ruin. Our project, Conspiracy/Theory considers the intersection of conspiracy and theory, focusing on the imbrication of complex systems across politics, economics, militarism, and technology in the present. Exploring the conditions for knowing in a world where there is often too much information but not of the right kind to judge evidence, ascertain the nature of truth claims, or resolve issues of agency and intent, one goal is to examine how and when intuition, experience, and judgement become marked as either conspiratorial or theoretical. Understanding the elective affinities between conspiracy and theory while appreciating the seductions of each, this project engages the theoretical in conspiracy and the conspiratorial in critical theory, grappling as well with the ways in which suspicion, opacity, networks, uncertainty, and mass mediation function today.