Conspiracy Theories in the United States and the Middle East is the first book to approach conspiracy theorizing from a decidedly comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. Whereas previous studies have engaged with conspiracy theories within national frameworks only, this collection of essays draws attention to the fact that conspiracist visions are transnational narratives that travel between and connect different cultures. It focuses on the United States and the Middle East because these two regions of the world are entangled in manifold ways and conspiracy theories are currently extremely prominent in both. The contributors to the volume are scholars of Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Cultural Studies, and American Studies, who approach the subject from a variety of different theories and methodologies. However, all of them share the fundamental assumption that conspiracy theories must not be dismissed out of hand or ridiculed. Usually wrong and frequently dangerous, they are nevertheless articulations of and distorted responses to needs and anxieties that must be taken seriously. Focusing on individual case studies and displaying a high sensitivity for local conditions and the cultural environment, the essays offer a nuanced image of the workings of conspiracy theories in the United States and the Middle East.
Michael Butter, University of Freiburg, Germany; Maurus Reinkowski, University of Basel, Switzerland.