“Apocalypse Pending: Religion, Politics, and Social Media” explores the growing popularity of conspiracy thinking in our current moment and its place in the history of religious movements, particularly in the US context. It considers how new media technologies have made it possible for the dissemination of such thinking on a scale unimaginable in the past, how the moral panic it generates is impacting social and political life worldwide, and whether there are measures available to control its spread or mitigate its effects.
This third panel in the series will focus on the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6th, including the prominent appeal to ‘new age’ symbolism by such figures as the ‘Q Shaman.
Sponsored by The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, The Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, The Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia Global Centers, and the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought.
Susannah Crockford is an anthropologist specializing in religion, ecology, and political economy. Her first monograph, Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona, will be published in May 2021 from the Class 200 list of the University of Chicago Press. She has published in both public and academic fora on new age spirituality, conspiracy theories, and white supremacy.
Will Sommer is the author of a forthcoming book on QAnon from HarperCollins. He has covered the far-right and conspiracy theories for five years in his Right Richter newsletter and as a politics reporter for The Daily Beast.
Moderator: Elizabeth Castelli is Professor of Religion and the Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women at Barnard College. A specialist in late ancient Christianity and its reception history, Castelli is the author of Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making and the translator of Pier Paolo Pasolini's never-produced script for the film, Saint Paul. She regularly teaches "Millennium: Apocalypse and Utopia" in the Barnard and Columbia Religion departments.