Conspiracies, Popular Imagination, Evidence

3 credits


Peace Studies
College of Arts and Science

In-depth and critical analysis of cases involving allegations of “conspiracy” in international affairs, contrasted with official reports and presentations of evidence in a variety of venues. Conspiracy theories considered might include those centering on 9-11 and the Kennedy assassination. Conspiracy theories will be compared and contrasted to what is known about secrecy and the functioning of elite political and economic institutions such as the Trilateral Commission and campaign financing organizations. Students will analyze a variety of NGO and government documents and investigative journalism drawing on Wiki Leaks. We will compare and contrast what is considered evidence in different venues such as the criminal justice system, government reports, journalism, and academic writing by historians, social and behavioral scientists, and natural scientists. Concepts clarified and utilized will include: state corporate crime, system determination, social construction, narrative, historical memory, symbolic politics, and individual and group responsibility.