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The Economy of Conspiracy

Instructor(s): Demetra Kasimis
Spring 2023

This is an interdisciplinary seminar in political theory on the role of conspiracy and conspiratorial thinking in democratic thought and politics open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students. A portion of the course will focus on recent theoretical approaches to and empirical cases of the place of conspiracies and conspiracy theories in the life and death of democracies. Most of the course will be devoted, however, to finding new and creative ways to think about the conspiratorial as a mode of making speculative, critical claims about politics and, especially, democracy. We will look at how problems of oikonomia — financialization, grey markets, the reproductive control of women, family wealth, and household labor — get troped in conspiratorial terms, especially in the thought of democratic Athens. How does conspiracy function as a critical language for analyzing democratic politics? And how does writing about democracy—as a set of representational techniques—participate in rendering democratic power conspiratorial? What insights into contemporary problems of democratic politics might this theoretical approach yield? Enrollment by permission of instructor only.

PLSC 28555 | PLSC 38555 | CCCT 28555 | CCCT 38555