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AFS Review: Calls for Submissions

CFP: Conspiracy Thinking: Folklore and the Role of Conspiracy Theory in Contemporary Society

Monday, August 24, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ben Bridges
Submissions are invited for an edited volume analyzing the role of conspiracy theories—understood in its widest sense—in contemporary societies. The editors, Andrea Kitta and Jesse Fivecoate, envision this volume containing case studies as well as articles discussing the theoretical contributions of folkloristics to the understanding of conspiracy theories and conspiracy thinking. As conspiracy theories become more visible in national and global news venues, on social media, and daily face-to-face interactions, an era of “fake news” provides an opportunity for folklorists to reexamine our understanding of these informal information systems and their relationship to both official and unofficial segments of culture.
Outside of folkloristics, the study of conspiracy theory has largely been debated in the literature produced by historians, political scientists, and legal scholars. As the vernacular expressive form of conspiracy theory is increasingly becoming a topic of “legitimate” news outlets and official discourse, the editors believe that folklorists have much to contribute to these discussions. As Anika Wilson notes, folklorists have long understood “conspiracy narratives” (Kitta 2011) as “borrow[ing] from past collective narratives and experiences to account for complex, troubling phenomena and constitute a kind of folk theory that explains the way the world works.” She continues, “As theories based in observation and the authoritative weight of past traditional narratives of suspicion, conspiracy rumors often posit compelling interpretations of real events” (Wilson 2012: 58). While noting that conspiracy thinking makes sense of the local and contemporary, it is precisely its relationship to the national, the global, and the historical that gives vernacular authority.
Noted but not limited to these topics. The editors envision this volume examining the following topics/themes/sections:
  • Theoretical treatments of conspiracy theory
  • Conspiracy theory and human behavior/action
  • Conspiracy theory and health
  • Conspiracy theory and politics
  • Conspiracy theory and/as history
  • Conspiracy theory/thinking as vernacular, regional, global
  • Interplay between conspiracy theory/thinking and other belief genres (rumors, legend, fake news...)
  • Conspiracy theory and digital spaces/cultures
  • Conspiracy theory/thinking as “stigmatized knowledge” (Barkun 2016)
  • Conspiracy theory as subaltern discourse
  • Examining “evidence” within conspiracy thinking
  • Conspiracy theory and worldview
  • The role of folkloristic expertise in public conspiracy thinking
  • Conspiracy theory and methodological populism
  • Conspiracy theory and humor
The editors invite proposals for consideration to be included in the volume, ConspiracyThinking: Folklore and the Role of Conspiracy Theory in Contemporary Society to be submitted to Andrea Kitta at and Jesse Fivecoate at The deadline for proposals will be January 15, 2021. If accepted, final chapters will be due to the editors by December 1, 2021. Submission should be between 5,000–6,000 words.
Proposals should include:
  1. Author’s full name
  2. Proposed chapter title
  3. 300-word abstract
  4. A short (100–150 word) professional biography
Questions can be directed to Andrea Kitta at and Jesse Fivecoate at

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