Conspiracy & Democracy


Leverhulme-funded project
CRASSH, University of Cambridge

Theories and beliefs about conspiracies are an enduring feature of modern societies. This is partly a reflection of the fact that real conspiracies do exist, and have existed in the past. But the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories in the twenty-first century suggests that many other factors are also at work, And studying them provides opportunities for understanding how people make sense of the world and how societies function. What does the prevalence of conspiracy theories tell us about trust in democratic societies, and about the differences between cultures and societies? How have conspiracies and conspiracy theorising changed over the centuries and what, if any, is the relationship between them? Have conspiracy theories appeared at particular moments in history, and why?

This ambitious, five-year, interdisciplinary research project aims to explore these and related questions. It sets out not to debunk particular theories  but to provide a "natural history" of conspiracy theorising. To do that, the project combines the perspectives, investigative methods and insights of historians, political theorists, network engineers and other disciplines to produce what we hope will be a deeper and richer understanding of a fascinating and puzzling phenomenon.

The project will end with a showcase of research findings on Friday the 23rd of November 2018. Please see the event page for more details. 

Please follow this link to visit the project website and blog.



Professor Sir Richard J Evans (CRASSH, Cambridge)
Professor John Naughton (CRASSH, Cambridge)
Professor David Runciman (POLIS, Cambridge)


Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

Dr Hugo Drochon

Dr Tanya Filer

Dr Rachel G. Hoffman

Hugo Leal

Dr Nayanika Mathur

Dr Andrew McKenzie-McHarg

Dr Alfred Moore