Fall 2014

Religion and Conspiratorial Thinking

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-323


Andrew C. Dole (Section 01)


Conspiracy theories are not inherently religious, but they are frequently informed by religious conceptions and valuations, and often circulate within particular religious communities.  If religious and conspiratorial thinking can get along fine without each other, why do they intersect as often as they do within history?  Addressing this question will require locating religion and conspiracy theorizing in relationship to each other within a broader field of thinking about the dynamics of human social interaction.  Readings for this course will include prominent examples of religiously-informed conspiracy theories from the modern period and works that explore the characteristic features of religious and conspiratorial thinking.  Of particular interest will be works that stand on the margin between conspiratorial thinking and social critique.  Authors will include John Robison, Jedediah Morse, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Blanshard, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, David Noebel, Pat Robertson, and Michel Foucault.  

The course will require the close reading and understanding of challenging texts, engagement with the ideas these present in class discussion, and the written exposition of positions and arguments.

Fall semester.  Professor A. Dole


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2022