Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Reader

Dr. K. C. Motl

Second Reader

Dr. Benjamin Utter

Third Reader

Dr. Jennifer Fayard

Abstract

Conspiracy theories have been a captivating facet of American culture for decades, grasping at the tail end of any horrifying or momentous event in order to make sense of mindboggling circumstances or loss of power. However, these theories seem to have grown intensely in popularity even in the last decade. Some credit this unprecedented growth to the internet and social media sites, and some even blame particular political leaders. But researchers, political scientists, psychologists, and historians have come to the same consensus: conspiracy theories have been gaining more traction among the public, to the point where these ideas cannot be written off or ignored. Now that this phenomenon has been established as a concern, the next issue to confront is why the masses are buying into these misconceptions, and how that is affecting important institutions such as the discipline of history. This thesis aims to analyze why people believe conspiracy theories in American culture and to investigate how these are affecting the discipline of history in its approach and its legitimacy among the American people.

Included in

History Commons

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