Apocalypse Pending: Religion, Politics, and Social Media (Panel 1)
Where: Columbia University
116th St. & Broadway
212-854-1754 Price: Free
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As the historian Richard Hofstadter famously pointed out more than half a century ago, conspiracy thinking or “the paranoid style” runs deep in the American political psyche. With an eclectic religious population (many of whose ancestors fled persecution in Europe for their beliefs: Puritans, Quakers, Anabaptists, Huguenots, Catholics, Jews), the United States may be exceptional in its political DNA—a combination of religious fervor and persecutory fear that, while generally latent, sporadically erupts in the body politic. The right-wing fear of social welfare policies as godless and unholy is one current manifestation of this particular political psychology. Another is the increasing online presence of apocalyptic religious sects, of which QAnon is an articulation.
“Apocalypse Pending: Religion, Politics, and Social Media” explores the growing popularity of conspiracy thinking in our current moment and its place in the history of millenarian movements, particularly in the US context. It considers how new media technologies have made it possible for the dissemination of such thinking on a scale unimaginable in the past, how the moral panic it generates is impacting social and political life worldwide, and whether there are measures available to control its spread or mitigate its effects.
Sponsored by The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, The Brown Institute for Media Innovation, and the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought.
Owing to limited capacity for this event, we will be sending registration confirmation and a Zoom webinar access link the day before the event. If you do not receive the access link, that means we were not able to accommodate you for this event, but we will notify you should the recording later become available online.
Joan Donovan, PhD, is the Research Director of Harvard Kennedy’s Shorenstein Center and the Director of the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) Research project. Dr. Donovan leads the field in examining media manipulation and disinformation campaigns. Her research specializes in Critical Internet Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and the Sociology of Social Movements.
Brandy Zadrozny is an award-winning investigative and features reporter for NBC News where she covers misinformation, extremism, and the internet. Previously, Brandy was at The Daily Beast where she covered politics and the internet as a senior reporter. She has an MLIS and in a former life, worked as a librarian and instructor in news, college, and public libraries.
Moderator: Matthew L. Jones teaches history of science and technology at Columbia University. With Chris Wiggins, he will soon be publishing How Data Happened, which tells the story of the growth of data and the ways it changed power, and asks what to do now.Buy tickets/get more info now