Brief Review of David Aaronovitch, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

There are a number of overviews of modern conspiracy thinking. David Aaronovitch's Voodoo Histories offers the perspective of a British journalist and writer. He looks at many of the traditional conspiracy theories prevalent in U.S. society, including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Communism, and JFK. The value of Aaronovitch's work, I think, is …

Continue reading Brief Review of David Aaronovitch, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

What Does a History Course on Conspiracy Theories Look Like?

As far as I know, I am one of only four history professors in the U.S. to offer a course on conspiracy theories. Kathy Olmsted, Robert Goldberg, and Jeff Pasley are the other three I know of. Pasley even has a website devoted to his course. (Update: Sara Morris alerted me to Jonathan Earle's course on the history of …

Continue reading What Does a History Course on Conspiracy Theories Look Like?

The Antichrist in U.S. Politics

In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, Matthew A. Sutton observed that the Antichrist is relevant to evangelical voters, who tend to vote Republican. Specifically, he wrote: The global economic meltdown, numerous natural disasters and the threat of radical Islam have fueled a conviction among some evangelicals that these are the last days. While …

Continue reading The Antichrist in U.S. Politics

Conspiracy Theories and Fiction

I'm hoping some of my readers can help me out. I am teaching a course on conspiracy theories in United States history next spring, and I'm looking for suggestions for an assignment. I am going to require students to read a novel centered on a conspiracy theory. Examples include conspiracy theories involving end times theology, the New World …

Continue reading Conspiracy Theories and Fiction

Conspiracy Thinking in the Early Republic

Many of you know that I have an abiding interest in conspiracy theories. Not that I believe them, mind you, but I am fascinated with their prevalence in American and Western history. My own interest stems from my fundamentalist Baptist background. I grew up reading books and hearing stories that were permeated with conspiracy theories about the …

Continue reading Conspiracy Thinking in the Early Republic