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Campus invited to talk exploring thoughts on conspiracy theories

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 21st, 2024

The WVU Humanities Center and the Religious Studies program invite the campus community to attend a presentation entitled “Feeling is Believing: A New Approach to Conspiracy Theory” at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, in the Downtown Library’s Milano Room.

In this talk, Donovan Schaefer, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will examine what makes people believe and how science and disinformation battle to convince us. He’ll also raise the question of why the apocalyptic discourse of conspiracy theory has risen to prominence in our current political moment.

Schaefer brings a new way of assessing the relationship between thinking and feeling, suggesting that we see them as deeply interrelated rather than fundamentally separate. Shifting our frame of reference allows us to draw a clearer map of how and why conspiracy theories have managed to gain such a powerful hold in contemporary society.

Schaefer is the author of “Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power” and “Wild Experiment: Feeling Science and Secularism after Darwin.” His research and teaching examine the role of affect and power in formations of secularism, religion, science and material culture. 

For more information contact the Humanities Center at

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