Woodrow Wilson

Department of Politics

Prof. Balfour Contributes to Symposium Published in PoP

December 26, 2020

Professor Lawrie Balfour and five other scholars have contributed to a symposium, published in the latest issue of Perspectives on Politics, on Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum’s recent book A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy. Balfour and the other contributors respond to Muirhead and Rosenblum's argument that the Trump presidency represents a new form of conspiracism in US politics, one in which political conspiracy theories require no factual basis at all. In her own contribution, Dr. Balfour points out that while there may be real differences between fact-free, Trumpian conspiracism and the forms that have prevailed at other points in US history, white supremacism has been part of the underlying logic of conspiracists old and new. Balfour powerfully suggests that "we ought to look to the work of [Ida B.] Wells and other critics of the conspiracist thinking that fueled settler colonialism, slavery, Jim Crow, and nativist repression of many kinds as models of what it means to bear witness when truth is on the run."