Thomas Kaiser, a UALR history professor, will present “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you: Re-thinking political conspiracy in early modern history” as part of the Evenings with History Series at 7:30 p.m. November 3 at the Ottenheimer Auditorium in the Historic Arkansas Museum at 200 E. Third Street in Little Rock.
In a celebrated essay entitled “The Paranoid Style of America Politics” the historian Richard Hofstadter explained the occasional American belief in political conspiracy as the product of psycho-pathology. Since Hofstadter’s essay appeared, scholars have discovered that belief in political conspiracies was far more common during the early modern period (1500-1800) than Hofstadter recognized. Did such belief indicate that politicians like the American and French Revolutionaries were mentally unbalanced, or was conspiracy belief perfectly “normal” given the structure of early modern politics? Based on a book co-edited and in part written by the presenter, this talk reviews the historical controversies surrounding this question in an effort to resolve it.
The Evenings with History Series is sponsored by The University History Institute, which is a nonprofit organization of private citizens interested in history and supporting UALR.
An individual can subscribe to the series for $50 annually, which includes admission to all six lectures. A joint subscription to the series, at $90 annually, offers savings of $10 to couples and friends.
At $250 annually, a Fellow of the Institute receives the previous benefits, plus an invitation to special presentations for fellows exclusively. This often includes a private evening with noted authors. The institute also offers a life membership at $1,000 that can be paid in installments. Subscriptions and donations to the institute are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Subscribers to the series help support historical research. Presenters donate their time, and the University History Institute uses all proceeds from the series to encourage research at UALR. In recent years, annual institute grants, made possible by the “Evenings with History” series, have made major purchases of historical research materials for UALR.
For subscription information, contact the History Department at (501) 569-3235.