Call for Contributions – Critical Approaches to Conspiracy Narratives

13 June 2023 · Catherine Tebaldi · 3 minute read · #calls

Edited volume on ‘“That’s cultural Marxism”: Critical Approaches to Conspiracy Narratives’

QAnon devotees “baking” their “breadcrumbs” or assembling stories from cryptic posts, while farmers’ markets sell heirloom tomatoes and reactionary conspiracies about the great reset. It seems conspiracy narratives in a variety of places from the very expected tinfoil hat corners of the internet, to the unexpected like yoga studios or reddit’s GameStop stock exchange forums. The narratives themselves, weave together highly typical elements – corrupt elites, heroic truth seekers – and the strange and aleatory.. Conspiracy narratives sit between play and revelation, creating truth from the margins or playing with its borders, they sit between critique and reaction, encoding social commentary and the language of the little guy but often with the effect of bolstering power.

We ask in this volume: What kinds of conspiracy theories are told, why these, and what do they do?


Conspiracy theories may do bad things, but they are good stories. In this volume we seek more work on the narratives, the language, or the stories of conspiracy. We seek pieces that explore how they are created, repeated, reiterated or transformed, and what kinds of characters populate them. We also welcome pieces which can address why do they appear at some times and not others, or why some elements are easily taken up into conspiracy and not others. We are particularly eager for work which addresses both the narrative elements of conspiracy and its social effects.

We encourage cross-disciplinary, collaborative, and critical scholarship on conspiracy narratives, and are particularly open to critical mixed-methods approaches and to work on areas outside the US. We begin from a sociolinguistic and discourse analytical approach but aim to include a wide range of disciplinary orientations and approaches including history, literature, cultural studies, media studies and digital humanities. These could include studies of the repetition and reiteration of a particular conspiracy across history, close readings of key conspiracy texts, semiotic analysis of conspiracy narratives, or an exploration of the popular culture elements that get taken up into a conspiracy. More broadly we seek exciting interpretivist or mixed-methods research with critical, socio-cultural, or historical approaches to conspiracy narratives.


Chapters should be between 5000 and 6000 words, though shorter papers (3000-4000) will also be welcomed.

Submissions can cover any aspect of conspiracy narratives, some examples might include

  • QAnon’s or other conspiracies’ linguistic style
  • The mainstreaming of Q and other conspiracy
  • Conspiracy as play, popular media, affect
  • Conspiracy and late capitalism
  • Conspiracy and gender
  • Conspiracy and Popular media


  • 15 August 2023: Submit an abstract of your chapter (max. 500 words) to with the Conspiracy Abstract in the subject line
  • 15 September 2023:  Notification of acceptance
  • 20 January 2024:  Submit your complete chapter

Please reach out to or for any questions or further information. Please mention ‘Conspiracy Edited Volume’ in the subject line.

We are looking forward to receiving your abstract!

Catherine Tebaldi, Alistair Plum, Christoph Purschke