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Symposium Conspiracy Culture: Conspiracy and Paranoia in Literature and Popular Culture

Monday 7 June 2021
Register by sending an email to this address: mc-lucas@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Online via registration

Michael Newton of the English department is the organizer of the symposium Conspiracy Culture: Conspiracy and Paranoia in Literature and Popular Culture event. This symposium event is embedded within the monthly meetings of LUCAS's Modern and Contemporary Cluster.

In recent decades, conspiracy theories have moved from being a side-show to being the main event. In this colloquium, we will analyse conspiracy culture, examining how it has permeated cultural and political life, unpacking the ways it which has both provided and destabilised significance, and exploring the challenges it offers to us as researchers, writers, and teachers. Tackling both the deep history of conspiracy and its most contemporary manifestations, the papers offered at this symposium will provide insightful entry-points into this compelling subject.

There will be five speakers, each offering a different perspective, and taking us from medieval Europe up to the most contemporary manifestations of conspiracy thinking, in relation to the Ameican election, environmental collapse, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Peter Knight of Manchester University, a visiting Professor presently at Leiden, and a renowned expert on conspiracy theory, will be one of those offering insights into this crucial phenomenon.

The five speakers are:

Madeleine Kasten (Literary Studies) – ‘Of Schemes and Schisms: Some Framings of the Prophet Muhammad in European Literature.’

Judith Bosnak (Indonesian Languages and Cultures) – ‘Conspiracy Behind a Mega Mud Flow in Indonesia; Images from the Silver Screen (2006-2021).’

Michael Newton (English Literature and Culture) – ‘“All of Them Witches”: Rosemary’s Baby, Conspiracy Theory and Q-Anon.’

Sara Polak (North American Studies) – ‘“YOU are Fake News!” Donald Trump and the Logic of Unmasking.’

Peter Knight (Professor of American Studies at Manchester University) – ‘Making Sense of Conspiracy Theories in a Pandemic.’


The event is open to members of the Modern and Contemporary research cluster at LUCAS, other LUCAS-affiliated scholars, and Leiden (Res)Ma students.

Anyone else who wishes to attend this event but is not affiliated with LUCAS is also welcome: please register by sending an email to this address: mc-lucas@hum.leidenuniv.nl

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