First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Mia ColuccioFollow

Mentor/s

Professor McLaughlin and Professor Ignagni

Participation Type

Paper Talk

Abstract

Conspiracy theories are commonly defined as attempts to explain notable social and political events as the result of secret plots conducted by high-powered, sinister individuals or groups. They offer simple solutions to the often-complex question of why certain events occur by conferring blame upon hidden evil cabals that place their own malevolent interests above those of the rest of society. Conspiracy theories feature prominently in the current social climate in the United States, yet despite their prevalence, they continue to be shrouded with misconceptions. Many Americans misconstrue the sheer magnitude of conspiracy theories currently in circulation as evidence of a distinct and unprecedented phenomenon, an “age of conspiracism.” Conspiracy theorists have been falsely cast as members of a small minority characterized by delusion, irrationality, and extreme paranoia. These faulty assumptions have given the public a very distorted picture of what conspiracy theories are and how they function. American conspiracy theories are older than our country itself, and throughout our history they have been touted by masses of people that cross political, economic, social, and cultural lines. Rather than being characteristic of a delusional minority, conspiracy theories are normal manifestations of natural psychological processes and motivations, and modern media have only magnified their appeal and pervasiveness.

College and Major available

History

Course Name and Number, Professor Name

HN-300-D, Professor McLaughlin and Professor Ignagni

Location

Digital Commons

Start Day/Time

5-5-2021 1:00 PM

End Day/Time

5-5-2021 4:00 PM

Students' Information

Mia Coluccio, History Major, Sociology Minor, Honors Student, Graduating May 2022

Winner, Dean's Prize: College of Arts & Sciences 2021.

Comments

Video paper talk is an additional file.

Coluccio Academic Festival.mp4 (82119 kB)
Video Paper Talk

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May 5th, 1:00 PM May 5th, 4:00 PM

Behind the Smoke Screen: A History of Conspiracy Theories and Why They Are So Pervasive

Digital Commons

Conspiracy theories are commonly defined as attempts to explain notable social and political events as the result of secret plots conducted by high-powered, sinister individuals or groups. They offer simple solutions to the often-complex question of why certain events occur by conferring blame upon hidden evil cabals that place their own malevolent interests above those of the rest of society. Conspiracy theories feature prominently in the current social climate in the United States, yet despite their prevalence, they continue to be shrouded with misconceptions. Many Americans misconstrue the sheer magnitude of conspiracy theories currently in circulation as evidence of a distinct and unprecedented phenomenon, an “age of conspiracism.” Conspiracy theorists have been falsely cast as members of a small minority characterized by delusion, irrationality, and extreme paranoia. These faulty assumptions have given the public a very distorted picture of what conspiracy theories are and how they function. American conspiracy theories are older than our country itself, and throughout our history they have been touted by masses of people that cross political, economic, social, and cultural lines. Rather than being characteristic of a delusional minority, conspiracy theories are normal manifestations of natural psychological processes and motivations, and modern media have only magnified their appeal and pervasiveness.

 

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