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Manchester speaker says ‘Conspiracy Theories are for Losers'

Joseph UscinskiAn internationally recognized expert on conspiracy theories will speak next month at Manchester University.

"Conspiracy Theories are for Losers" is offered at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus. It is free and open to the public. 

Dr. Joseph Uscinski will highlight his analysis of more than 100 years of data taken from newspapers, surveys and the Internet.

A ceaseless array of conspiracy theories over the years have demonized witches, Freemasons, foreigners, red coats, black helicopters, Mormons, Muslims, Jews, fifth columns, the government and, most recently, Vladimir Putin.

The common assumption, Uscinski says, is that conspiracy theories are nothing more than the delusions of paranoid minds trying to make sense of an ever more complicated world. However, he says the evidence tells a different story.

In this talk, Uscinski will show that conspiracy theories follow a strategic logic: They are tools used by the powerless to attack and defend against the powerful. Conspiracy theories must conform to this logic or they will not be successful. In this way, conspiracy theories are for losers.

American Conspiracy TheoriesThe surprising findings address the following questions: Who believes in conspiracy theories and why? Why are some conspiracy theories more popular than others? What are the dangers of conspiracy theories? Are conspiracy theorists prone to violence? How did conspiracy theories affect the 2016 presidential election? What can conspiracy theories in the United States tell us about conspiracy theories elsewhere?

Uscinski is associate professor of political science at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., and co-author of American Conspiracy Theories.

He has appeared on the NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, CBS Evening News, Fox News Channel, WPBT Miami's "Issues" and "Viewpoints," France 24, Voice of America, Gray Television and CNN Español.

The presentation is part of the Values, Ideas and the Arts series, which offers cultural, intellectual and artistic enrichment to students.

About Manchester University
Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to nearly 1,600 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training, a Master of Pharmacogenomics and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu.

February 2018