The Anthropology of Conspiracy Theories
“Conspiracy Theory” is a common phrase in the news these days; what does it mean? Is it something to fear? This talk discusses some of the standard elements in public narratives about hidden evil forces that are working among us to subvert our way of life. Anthropology reveals that such beliefs are absolutely universal, intensify in times of general anxiety, and probably have their roots in the evolution of human sociality.
Registration is $18 per person.
Phil Stevens retired in 2019 after 48 years in the Anthropology Department at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He received his B.A. in English from Yale in 1963, then served with the Peace Corps in Nigeria for three years. Those experiences brought him into anthropology, and he entered the graduate program at Northwestern University. He conducted dissertation research in different areas of Nigeria, 1969-1971, and received his Ph.D. in 1973. He has conducted subsequent anthropological research in West Africa and the Caribbean. He is the author of many publications in cultural anthropology and African studies, and he is the recipient of two awards for excellence in teaching. One of his most popular courses at UB was on the anthropology of Magic, Sorcery, and Witchcraft; and he is writing a book on that topic. He lectures frequently to community groups on subjects of current concern.