I want you to write a five page term paper that explores the ideas of a famous conspiracy theory text (document). It can be a book or a film, anything of reasonable length. Do not try to figure out whether the main arguments and accusations of the document are correct, factual, or true (or all three of these things). This is not a conspiracy advocacy or debunking paper. Instead, I want you to try to get at the politics of the text and its author or authors. What political or social analysis does this text advance? What do the author or creators think would happen if the conspiracy that they presuppose to be true became widely accepted? What larger or ultimate social political outcome do the progenitors of this idea hope for?
Download your how to write lecture here.
Here are some widely read books and films for you to take on (I’ll keep adding to the list so check here from time to time).
Jules Archer, The Plot to Seize the White House; a sympathetic portrayal of Smedley Butler’s claim of an attempted coup against FDR.
Dylan Avery, Loose Change, online doc about 9/11
Harry Elmer Barnes, editor; Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, essays charge that FDR purposely engineered United States entry into World War II via Pearl Harbor
Harry Elmer Barnes, Genesis of the World War
David Bernard, Light on Masonry, link to the book here.
Fenton Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon
David Cohen, Death of a Goddess (Princess Diana)
John Coleman, Conspirator’s Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300; The Beatles were part of a massive brainwashing plot, link to the book here.
Dudley Collard, Soviet Justice and the Trial of Radek and Others; a defense of Stalin’s purge trials
Richard Dolan and Linda Moulton Howe, The Cover Up Exposed, 1973-1991 (UFOs and the National Security State)
Barbara Duncan, MacBird! Shakespearean satire on the Kennedy assassination
Edward J. Epstein, Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth
David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11
John King and Jon Beveridge, The Ascension Conspiracy. Princess Diana: The Hidden Evidence
Mark Lane, Rush to Judgment: A Critique of the Warren Commission’s Inquiry into the Murder of President John F. Kennedy
Thierry Meyssan, 9/11 The Big Lie
Dan E. Moldea, The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy
William J. Pepper, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King Jr.
Mike Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon (about 9/11; very long; you’ll read about a quarter of it and no more)
Michael Sayers, Albert Kahn, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia (1946); the purge trials of the 1930s were legitimate, link to the book here
George Seldes, Blood, Iron, and Profit (1934); World War I was about money.
Robert Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
John A. Stormer, None Dare Call It Treason; it’s 1964 and there are still commies commies commies everywhere.
David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard (2016); where was CIA director Allen Dulles on November 22, 1963?
John Toland, Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath,
JFK, Oliver Stone (movie)
Stephen B. Ubaney, Who Murdered Elvis,
Donald H. Wolfe, The Assassination of Marilyn Monroe
Sally Wood, Julia and the Illuminated Baron; an Illuminati novel, circa 1800, link to the book here
Any book or film about the following that suggests some kind of cover up or organized hoax: AIDS; Area 51; Hitler did not kill himself in Berlin; Federal Reserve is Evil Evil Evil; there’s guys on Mars and the USA knows it; UFOs; vaccines; we didn’t go to the moon; more ideas to come soon . . .
Please read or view your text, finding some secondary source about it, which preferably will be a book about the author of the text, and use your course texts for conceptual background. Which one of your class texts best explains this conspiracy theory (it’s ok to say more than one, or none)?
FAQ about the term paper
1. When is the term paper due?
See your Google classroom page for the deadline.
2. What should I use for references and a bibliography?
Let’s go with Turabian footnotes and a bibliography right after the concluding paragraph.
3. How many sources should I use?
Several background books or three or four journal articles will do.
4. Can I quote you in my paper?
No. This is a research/analysis paper, not a feedback loop.
5. Can I email you about the paper?
Of course, but be sure to cc your Teaching Assistant. I won’t reply to term paper queries that don’t cc your TA.
Checklist and term paper rubric
1. Does your paper have a clear argument that appears in the first paragraph of your essay’s first page?
2. Does your paper offer a clear conclusion that recapitulates your argument?
3. Does your paper reference all quotes and factual claims?
4. Are you adhering to your reference system?
5. Is your paper double spaced with page numbers inserted on each page?
6. Have you spell checked and grammar checked your paper?
7. Have you checked for errors that a spell checker cannot find?
8. Does your paper include a short bibliography listed after the conclusion?
9. If you mention my name on your first page, is my name correctly spelled?
10. Are the names of your principal historical figures correctly spelled?
11. Are you taking pains to avoid plagiarism in this paper?
Excellent paper: explores a clearly articulated original argument which is bolstered by a strong narrative and referenced evidence. The writing is compelling and free of spelling or grammatical errors. The paper itself is competently presented (see items 5 through 10).
Very good paper: explores an argument with competent writing and references. The paper contains no spelling or grammatical errors and is competently presented.
Satisfactory paper: explores a vague but identifiable argument with adequate writing and references. The paper contains some errors but is competently presented.