Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search


TLRH | Not Even Wrong: Post-Truth Conspiracy Fantasies

Monday, 19 April 2021, 10 – 11am

TLRH | Not Even Wrong: Post-Truth Conspiracy Fantasies

A research presentation by Dr Scotty McQueen (Department of Film, TCD) as part of the School of Creative Arts Research Forum (SCARF) in association with Trinity Long Room Hub.

Despite their fictional nature, conspiracy theories have always been entangled with notions of evidence. These theoretical “conspiracies” – as opposed to actual conspiracies – have been historically driven by the circulation of fabricated evidence and forgeries. From the anti-Semitic pseudo-world-domination-manual The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to the disinformation campaign which elevated the Majestic-12 and Area 51 to mythical status, it is increasingly evident that popular conspiracy theories are instigated more by fraudulent evidence and deliberate disinformation than by individual psychology and cognitive deficits. Common experience suggests that individuals are more likely to spread a conspiracy theory than to invent one; and more likely to spread it as “being worthy of consideration” than as “a believed-in fact.” Thus, the question of “why people believe” in imaginary conspiracies is less critical than questions of how, and why, false conspiracy theories are spread, independent of belief. In the past decade, the pseudo-conspiracy genre has become gamified, globalized, politicized, monetized, and/or weaponized to the point that collective post-truth movements such as the Flat Earth Society or QAnon, which – possessing traits of collective fanfiction, digital folklore, Alternate Reality Game (ARG), Live Action Role Play (LARP), con game, hoax, and cult – bear so little resemblance to classical conspiracy theories that perhaps they should not even be described in such terms. Conspiracy fantasies may prove a more useful description. The incoherent smorgasbord of endlessly revised and unfalsifiable theories – united under the broad umbrellas of these popular misinformation movements – calls to mind the cutting assertion attributed to turn of the century theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli: The theories ‘aren’t even wrong.’

Dr. Scotty McQueen is conducting creative-practice doctoral research on the topic of conspiracy fictions and digital media at Trinity College Dublin with the Film Department in the School of Creative Arts. He holds a PhD in Performance Studies from University College Cork, an MFA in Physical Theatre from the Accademia dell’Arte, and an MPA in Strategic Public Policy from the American University of Paris. Previous publications include "The End of Mind Reading" and "Luck, Love, and Psychic."

The School of Creative Arts Research Forum meets fortnightly at 10am on Mondays during term and is led by the School's doctoral students. The aim of the Forum is to give a space for School researchers, both staff and postgraduate students, to share their ideas in a supportive environment. It is also an opportunity for the School to hear about the research of colleagues both from within TCD and outside who share our research interests. In line with the research agenda of the School, talks will encompass traditional research and practice-based research and will be followed by Q&A.

Please indicate if you have any access requirements, such as ISL/English interpreting, so that we can facilitate you in attending this event. Contact:

Please register here.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Online
Event Category: Arts and Culture, Lectures and Seminars
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free but registration is required

Support Trinity Long Room Hub

Click Here