Joseph Uscinski is a professor of political science at the University of Miami. He studies public opinion and mass media, and for the last 10 years has focused his attention on conspiracy theories and the people who believe them. He is the author or co-author of numerous academic studies, and of several books, most notably American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford, 2014) and Conspiracy Theories: A Primer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). He has been named a lifetime fellow by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and his research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation.
Abstract: Why do people believe conspiracy theories? What are the consequences of those beliefs? Is the Internet driving a new era of conspiracism? Are conspiracy theories solely for the far right? What can be done to lessen the influence of conspiracy theories in our society? In this talk, Professor Uscinski will explain how people come to believe conspiracy theories as well as the consequences of those beliefs in both our politics and our daily lives. Using a large body of evidence collected over a decade, he will show that many popular claims about conspiracy theories miss the mark, and that only by getting conspiracy theories right can we take appropriate action to curb their influence.