Regular price $ 33.95

Edited by Joseph Masco and Lisa Wedeen

Duke University Press

1/12/2024, paperback

SKU: 9781478025559

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. 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, Lisa Wedeen


"This brilliant collection envisions conspiracy theories anew. It not only showcases distinct conspiracies across global sites and time periods, but also petitions readers to examine their own investments in conspiratorial thinking. Conspiracy/Theory is a dazzling provocation and an important intervention." -- Elisabeth R. Anker, author of Ugly Freedoms

"In a time of increasing epistemic confusion, Joseph Masco and Lisa Wedeen brilliantly complicate the usual distinction between fact-based rationality and conspiracy theory by analyzing the infiltration of official disinformation into the public sphere and by exploring the blurred line between paranoid thinking and critical theory. Their book is an innovative and crucial contribution to the understanding of the politics of uncertainty and suspicion in contemporary societies." -- Didier Fassin, Professor at the Collège de France and the Institute for Advanced Study

About the Editor:

Joseph Masco is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and author of The Future of Fallout, and Other Episodes in Radioactive World-Making, also published by Duke University Press.

Lisa Wedeen is Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and author of Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria.