[Air-L] AoIR conspiracy workshop and call for abstracts

Zelly Martin zelly at utexas.edu
Mon Jun 12 11:59:10 PDT 2023

   Dear colleagues,

   I hope the summer is treating everyone well! I am writing to publicize
   our preconference workshop at AoIR 2023, for which you can already
   [1]sign up. The event will take place on October 18, 2023—you must
   register for the conference to attend the event. We are looking for
   participants who would be interested not only in participating in the
   workshop, but also in contributing to a special issue following the
   event. We are thus writing well in advance of the conference to give
   folks the opportunity to consider this not only as a participatory
   session, but also a call for articles. If you are interested in the
   special issue please send 250 words with an article idea. Please see
   the call below and write to me ([2]zelly at utexas.edu) with questions or

   Looking forward to seeing everyone at AoIR in October,


   [3]The Future of Conspiracy: New Epistemologies and Imaginaries in

   Organizers: Zelly C Martin-University of Texas at Austin, Alice E
   Marwick-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Yvonne M
   Eadon-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stephen C
   Finley-Louisiana State University, Brooklyne Gipson-University of
   Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Inga K Trauthig-University of Texas at
   Austin, Samuel C Woolley-University of Texas at Austin

   Conspiracy theories are increasingly present in mainstream American
   political discourse, from those around Covid-19 to the idea that
   Democrats conspired to “steal” the election from President Trump. While
   researchers from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds
   (psychology, folklore, history, and so forth) have taken up conspiracy
   theories as an object of study, many contemporary scholars have focused
   on right-wing conspiracies, such as Stop the Steal (DeCook & Forestal,
   2022), QAnon (Bloom & Moskalenko, 2021), and the Great Replacement
   Theory (Ekman, 2022). Most recently, researchers have interrogated the
   blurry boundaries between left- and right-leaning conspiracy adherents
   on topics like anti-vaccination and spirituality (Chia et al., 2021;
   Griera et al., 2022). A key element of current scholarship on
   conspiracies is the extent to which social media facilitates their
   spread (Enders et al., 2021; Theocharis et al., 2021) and/or allows
   conspiratorial knowledge-production to thrive (Marwick & Partin, 2022).
   Although the stereotype of the “conspiracy theorist” is a “white,
   working-class, middle-aged man” (Drochon, 2018, p. 344) people from all
   identity groups believe in conspiracies (Bost, 2018). For American
   communities of color, though, conspiracy theories may be a natural
   reaction to the invalidation of their embodied experiences (Bogart et
   al., 2021; Dozono, 2021). The same could be said of other marginalized
   groups in America, such as queer folks and women (Ngai, 2001). In what
   ways is “conspiracy-believing” a legitimate response to feeling
   displaced in the public sphere, and perhaps even an attempt to
   reconfigure a sense of community and recognition (Parmigiani, 2021)?
   What might we learn by destigmatizing and rethinking conspiracism? What
   can researchers learn by examining conspiracies taken up by members of
   different marginalized groups?

   This preconference workshop is a natural, important succession to
   recent contributions at AoIR on the topic of conspiracy. We build on
   the 2021 AoIR panel from Allena Chia and others focused on networked
   conspirituality and the 2022 panel chaired by Alice Marwick on feminist
   disinformation, but push the boundaries of conspiracy studies beyond
   extant work, which primarily focuses on the alt-right, health, and
   Western understandings of conspiracy (Halafoff et al., 2022; Mahl et
   al., 2022, 2022; Marwick et al., 2022). We thus answer calls to expand
   understandings of conspiracy beyond Western epistemology (Mahl et al.,
   2022) to contribute to a fuller conceptualization of
   “conspiracy-believing” (Parmigiani, 2021).

   This workshop, then, explores these questions: What new avenues of
   conspiracy are understudied when we prioritize the loudest conspiracy
   theories? What can we learn from other disciplines studying conspiracy?
   How do conspiracy theory beliefs stem from embodied experience? What
   are the boundaries of knowledge-production that we encounter when we
   demarcate conspiracy from disinformation and from embodied experience?

   Panelists will approach the topic of conspiracy theories from disparate
   fields of study, including communication, information studies,
   political science, religion, and African and African American studies;
   different methodologies; and address such topics as:

   -Identity and epistemology on conspiracy TikTok,

   -Gaia.com, a streaming video platform that features yoga classes
   alongside conspiracy content,

   -How geopolitical and racial histories undergird particular narrative
   themes in justifications of ethnonationalist and right-wing discourse
   in Asian communities, and

   -The overlap between conspiracy theory knowledge-production and
   feminist knowledge-production.

   We invite those interested in conspiracy as it applies to epistemology,
   knowledge production, technological artifacts, gender/race/class, and
   reception. This might include early career scholars who are delving
   into the study of conspiracy theories, established scholars interested
   in new avenues of research on conspiracy, and researchers at any stage
   interested in diverse approaches to the study of knowledge production.
   Attendees will be capped at 30 to allow everyone the option to
   participate in a robust discussion. We ask that interested attendees
   plan for a highly interactive event. We request active participation
   given the opportunity to be invited to submit to our planned volume on
   conspiracy theory futures.

   Zelly Martin | PhD Candidate and Graduate Research Assistant

   Center for Media Engagement | Moody College of Communication | The
   University of Texas at Austin

   [4]mediaengagement.org/propaganda/| @zellycmartin


   1. https://aoir.org/aoir2023/preconfworkshops/
   2. mailto:zelly at utexas.edu
   3. https://aoir.org/aoir2023/preconfworkshops/#future
   4. https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http://mediaengagement.org/propaganda/&data=05|01||902c266d1ca346f0bbf108da758b7af0|31d7e2a5bdd8414e9e97bea998ebdfe1|0|0|637951539186087039|Unknown|TWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0=|3000|||&sdata=PFDp64b6bsl3PSx9nTmFKqW9FQnUfYOFGksh/8/mZsM=&reserved=0

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