CoC (Cultures of Conspiracy)

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Course Description:

Conspiracy theories are very popular throughout the world. Should we really take them seriously? Is a conspiracy theory just a conspiracy theory or can it be a prelude to political action? How do we differentiate a conspiracy theory from a real conspiracy? Are conspiracy theories methodologically sound? Why do we believe in conspiracy theories? Are they really different in various times and geographies, if so how? This course aims to familiarise the student with conspiracy theories and the growing academic literature on them. Researching conspiracy theories is an interdisciplinary endeavour requiring to dwell on disciplines such as history, politics, philosophy, sociology, psychology and anthropology. Thus, the aim of the course will be to understand the interdisciplinary nature of cultural studies through the theme of conspiracy theories. Another aim will be to cultivate a sense of methodological soundness, stability and critical thinking in social sciences by researching conspiracy theories.

Grading System:

Paper: 50%

Reading Assignments: 40% 

Participation: 10%

Paper:

The term paper will be about any conspiracy topic you choose. It can either cover one theme or more making use of the different perspectives that have been covered in class. One option is to form two or more case studies using conspiracy narratives from Turkey or abroad and to make an in-depth comparative analysis of the case studies by referring to the discursive, psychological, historical, sociological, cultural and/or political approaches. Another option can be sticking to one perspective, one method and one case study only.

Reading Assignments:

There will be at least four reading assignments of 1-3 pages long, each written over one week. The papers will discuss what the student has understood from the readings of the specific week. The assignments should portray an attempt to review and locate that week’s readings within the academic conspiracy theory context and literature as far as possible.

Participation:

Students are expected to attend the class sessions, make the weekly readings, participate in class discussions and ask any questions they might have in mind.

Please click here to download the course syllabus.