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Project Title: American Conspiracies: An Interdisciplinary Volume on the Structure of Conspiratorial Beliefs in the U.S.
Description: Scholars in various fields and the public at large have rapidly gained interest in American conspiratorial thinking. This collection of short and accessible essays (5,000 words each) will not attempt to intervene in a particular field but rather will finally put leading scholars from various fields in conversation with one another to determine: a) the structure of American conspiratorial beliefs; b) the factors that have given rise to popular conspiracy beliefs across time and place; and c) the political and social functions popular conspiracy theories have historically served. Readers will be encouraged to consider the nature of American conspiracism in general – both past and present. What is it? What contributes to it? And why do we do it? To encourage true interdisciplinarity, each contributor will be given access to the entire collection of essays before publication and will be encouraged to directly engage with other essays in a special section titled “Reflections on the Collection.”
Audience: This volume is intended for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a course covering American conspiratorial thinking to some extent as well as the broader educated public.
Topics: This volume seeks a synthesis of what scholars from various fields have found in their research – including but not limited to information science, library science, political science, philosophy, psychology, history, literature, and journalism – collected in such a way as to inspire discussion, interdisciplinarity, and future research. The volume’s guiding research questions are thus: what is the structure of American conspiratorial beliefs? Which factors have given rise to popular conspiracy theories in the U.S.? What functions have popular conspiracy theories historically served?
A Note to Potential Contributors: Contributors are encouraged to offer new, up-to-date, and accessible insights. New research is especially welcome; authors need not engage new research, though. Again, this is not a scholarly intervention in a particular field. This is a summation of YOUR life’s work on the subject, or a particularly relevant research project of yours, in 5,000 words. Some contributors might present new articles; others might request to include some of their research previously published in other academic journals. The latter is fine, insofar as the author attempts to repackage their previous work to fit the goals of this volume. Of course, they will need to acquire permission from prior publishers. Photographs, charts, and other illustrations are fantastic in a volume like this. That is why I will be diligently seeking funding to cover expenses for copyright permissions, etc., and, if I strike gold, to pay each of us for our hard work. No promises on that last part. This whole process will begin when I submit two complete book proposals this September – one will be submitted to a publisher and another to a granting agency. By the end of this summer (August 2022), I will need complete abstracts (500 words) from each potential contributor, outlining the intended goal of their short essay.
Abstract Guidelines: 500 words maximum
Bio Guidelines: One page C.V.
*This could happen faster or slower, depending on circumstances outside the editor’s control
June 30, 2022 Call for Papers Published on Academic Websites
August 15, 2022 Abstracts Due
Short Bios Due
August 30, 2022 20 Contributors selected by editorial team
September 15, 2022 Proposal submitted to publisher/s
Proposal submitted to granting agencies
Spring 2023 Essays composed
August 2023 Final Essay Drafts Due
Fall 2023-Spring 2024 Revisions
Summer 2024 Publication