Dr David Robertson acts as guest editor in a special issue of the US journal Nova Religio

“Conspiracy Theories in New and Emergent Religions” guest edited and featuring an introduction and article, "Silver Bullets and Seed Banks: A Material Analysis of Conspiracist Millennialis", by former PhD student and temporary lecturer in Religious Studies, Dr David Robertson is now available.

Photo of Dr David Robertson

The journal addresses a number of approaches to the emerging field of the study of conspiracy theories and new and alternative religions. Scholars can examine how certain religious groups have been the subject of conspiracy narratives created by the wider culture, and how conspiracy narratives are mobilized within religious groups such as Aum Shinrikyo, Scientology or others. Moreover, we can fruitfully examine secular conspiracy theories through ideas typically applied to religions, such as theodicy, millenarianism, and esoteric claims to higher knowledge. Most studies assume that conspiracy theories indicate pathology—paranoia or simply stupidity. Increasingly however, scholars have begun to interpret the term “conspiracy theory” as operating polemically to stigmatize certain beliefs and ideas. The field therefore offers a microcosm of broader trends in the interplay of knowledge and power. The study of both new and emergent religions and conspiracy theories comes of age only when we cease to think of them as necessarily deviant and irrational.

The journal is available from the Nova Religio website: http://nr.ucpress.edu/content/19/2/5

Dr Robertson is also the co-founder and editor of the Religious Studies project,  an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. You find find out more and follow their podcasts on their website: http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/