Chaos or Conspiracy? Thinking about Conspiracy Theories In a Time of Polarization

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Join the Lifelong Learning Initiative for a free live webinar discussion between Aaron Delwiche, Ph.D., Trinity University professor of Communication, and Dennis Ugolini, Ph.D., Trinity University professor of Physics and Astronomy. The conversation will be moderated by alumna Lydia Valdes '95, a licensed professional counselor, owner of Meridian Counseling, and former president of the Austin Chapter of the Trinity Alumni Association.

Delwiche and Ugolini will address the following and related questions:

• What are the hallmarks of a conspiracy theory?
• Why is saying, “that’s just a conspiracy theory” not a suitable way of responding?
• Why is it dangerous to dismiss those who believe conspiracy theories as irrational?
• What about the existence of actual, well-documented conspiracies such as MKUltra, the horrific Tuskegee Experiment, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident that occurred when LBJ was in office? How do we differentiate real conspiracies from those that are imagined?
• How do conspiracy theories develop in the first place?
• What can we do about the proliferation of dangerous conspiracy theories through social media?
• What cognitive biases explain why human beings are drawn to conspiracy theories?
• Where can we find a checklist of questions that will help rational citizens determine whether or not a conspiracy is true?


Aaron Delwiche, Ph.D.: professor of Communication, Trinity University. He teaches courses on topics such as virtual world development, transmedia storytelling, and mobile gaming. Delwiche’s current research interest includes propaganda and conspiracy theories and he explores these topics in the site Propaganda Critic. His research investigates the emergence of bots and sock puppets, arguing that these technologies constitute a ‘fake audience’ that poses a fundamental threat to global civil society. He received his undergraduate degree from U. C. Berkeley and his doctorate from the University of Washington.

Dennis Ugolini, Ph.D.: professor of Physics and Astronomy, Trinity University. He teaches a wide variety of introductory and upper-division laboratory and lecture courses and helped create a first-year experience course on critical thinking addressing, among others, conspiracy theories. He received his doctorate from Stanford University.


Lydia Valdes '95: a licensed professional counselor and owner of Meridian Counseling. She is the immediate past president of the Austin Chapter of the Trinity University Alumni Association

Dial-In Information

Tuesday, January 19 at 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Virtual Event

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, Open to the Public, Parents


Lecture, Webinar


Free Events, Online / Livestreamed


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