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January 12, 2024

Conspiracy/Theory Volume Now Available

Edited by 3CT fellow Joseph Masco and director Lisa Wedeen, Conspiracy/Theory is now available from Duke University Press. The volume grows out of the collaborative project of the same name: A number of chapters were first presented as part of our 2017 conference or in other related events. Stay tuned for details of a book launch in the spring!

In an era of intensified information warfare, ranging from global disinformation campaigns to individual attention hacks, what are the compelling terms for political judgment? How are we to build the knowledge needed to recognize and address important forms of harm when critical information is either not to be trusted or kept hidden? Rather than approach conspiratorial narrative as an irrational response to an obviously decipherable reality, Conspiracy/Theory identifies important affinities between conspiracy theory and critical theory. It recognizes the motivation people have—in their capacities as experts, theorists, and ordinary citizens—to search for patterns in events, to uncover what is covert and attend to dimensions of life that might be hiding in plain sight. If it seems strange that so many find themselves living in incommensurable, disorienting realities, the multidisciplinary contributors to Conspiracy/Theory explore how and why that came to be. Across history and geography, contributors inquire into the affects and imaginaries of political mobilization, tracking counterrevolutionary projects while acknowledging collective futures that demand conspiratorial engagement.

Contributors include Nadia Abu El-Haj, Hussein Ali Agrama, Kathleen Belew, Elizabeth Anne Davis, Joseph Dumit, Faith Hillis, Lochlann Jain, Demetra Kasimis, Susan Lepselter, Darryl Li, Louisa Lombard, Joseph Masco, Robert Meister, Timothy Melley, Rosalind C. Morris, George Shulman, and Lisa Wedeen.

Read Masco and Wedeen’s introduction on Duke University Press’s website.