What The Politics?! Episode 18: Conspiracy theories

WNCT Podcast Network

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WCNT) — Area 51, 9/11, Bigfoot, UFO’s, Princess Diana’s mysterious death, and the moon landing. What do all these have in common? They are all popular conspiracy theories that have gained traction over the years.

But where do these conspiracy theories come from? And is there any truth behind them?

Webster’s Dictionary defines conspiracy theories as, “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.” They can be as sizable as conspiracies about U.S. government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, or as minute as believing that someone somewhere powerful keeps hiding your car keys from you for some greater reason than just leaving the house.

In this week’s episode of What The Politics?!, we explore the idea of conspiracy theories and how they gain attention in our society. We discuss the paralleled exacerbation of conspiracy theories with the rise of social media, and how to determine fact from fiction.

For this week’s topic, we are joined by Dr. Andrea Kitta from East Carolina University. Dr. Kitta specializes in folklore, conspiracy, urban legends, medicine and the supernatural. Her research interests include: folklore – medicine, belief, and the supernatural, Internet folklore, disability studies, and Slender Man. Dr. Kitta is also the co-editor for Contemporary Legend, an annual scholarly journal published by the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research.

Dr. Kitta is the recipient of many awards such as; the Bertie E. Fearing Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010-2011), the Teacher/Scholar Award from ECU (2015-2016), the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award (2018-2019), the Brian McConnell Book Award (2012) – “Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception”, and the Chicago Folklore Prize & Brian McConnell Book Award (2020) – The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore

Dr. Andrea Kitta

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