"The Truth of Implausible Conspiracy Theories: Myth, Taboo, and Critique of Power" (third of three seminars in the Populism and Religion Seminar Series, autumn 2023). Aaron James Goldman
On Monday, 27 November 2023 (16:15–18:00) on Zoom, Dr. Aaron James Goldman will give a webinar presentation open to the public, titled "The Truth of Implausible Conspiracy Theories: Myth, Taboo, and Critique of Power."
NB: This seminar had originally been scheduled for 18 December 2023, before being rescheduled to 27 November 2023, and replaces the previously planned seminar with Isabelle Aubert.
Scholars have observed overlap between conspiracy theories and cultural narratives or myths. Prompted by recent journalists and cultural critics who have remarked that some examples of misinformation, or even implausible conspiracy theories, have a “core of emotional truth” or are “spiritually true” despite being “crazy in [their] specifics,” Goldman’s presentation will take the comparison between conspiracy theories and myths or cultural narratives seriously. He asks: How can a myth be true, if not literally, if not in its specifics? Goldman hypothesizes that one function of conspiracy theories in modernity might be to wield accessible markers of good and evil from myth and religion (including longstanding cultural taboos) in order to critique forms of power that lie beyond the scope of understanding – not to mention the ability to substantially challenge – by parties aggrieved at the perceived lack of control they have of their own lives.
Dr. Aaron James Goldman (PhD, 2021) is a research fellow in Philosophy of Religion at Lund University's Centre for Theology and Religious Studies. He is a core researcher for the project Beyond Truth and Lies and the program At the End of the World.
About the Seminar Series
Formerly under the umbrella of Lund’s research platform on Christianity and Nationalism, the seminar series on populism and religion is now organized by the Lund University-based research project Beyond Truth and Lies: Conspiracy Theories, Post-Truth, and the Conditions of Public Debate. The series focuses on the theoretical, philosophical, and theological dimensions of populism, with special attention to how conspiracy theories intersect with populism.
Certain conceptions of politics – including political community, political processes, and political decision-making – characterize typical formulations of populist thought. A fundamental conviction of this seminar series is that we must investigate these conceptions if we want to engage in dialogue that goes beyond plain-sense descriptions of, or explanations for, facts, and which deeply addresses questions about how society is – and ought to be – organized. Conspiracy theories – including corresponding elements of culture that shape and are shaped by conspiracy theories – have become increasingly more public in their significance on politics, political decisions, and political movements. We welcome to our seminars a range of intellectually interested parties to discuss these matters, including senior and junior scholars, doctoral students, and beginners.
Seminars are in English, unless otherwise specified. Seminars are open to the public; you may attend by joining on Zoom.
Meeting ID: 626 4532 9724
16h15–18h00, Swedish time [CEST]