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    The role of conspiracy theories in contemporary religious conflicts. Antisemitic conspiracies, Holocaust denial, Muslim conspiracies, Satanic panics, occult societies, alien overlords, the End Times and ISIS Apocalypse, flat-earthers, climate-change deniers.

    We examine today's major conspiracy theories, and the role of societal conflict and religion in conspiracist belief, flat-earthism, climate skepticism, conspirituality, Illuminati and New World conspiracies, Holocaust denial, QAnon, Great Replacement conspiracies and other conspiracies.

    About this paper

    Paper title Religion, Conflict and Conspiracy Theory
    Subject Religious Studies
    EFTS 0.1500
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
    Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 points
    RELS 341
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology

    Open to all students with an interest in contemporary conspiracy theories.
    May not be credited together with RELS 341. ​


    Dr Deane Galbraith:

    Teaching staff

    Dr Deane Galbraith

    Paper Structure

    After an introduction to modern conspiracies, the paper explores what determines belief in conspiracy theories, and their relationship with religion and societal conflict.  Then we examine flat-earthism, climate skepticism, esotericism and conspirituality, Illuminati and the New World Order, New Zealand political and religious conspiracists, giants and aliens, antisemitism and Holocause denial, QAnon and Satanic Panics, white supermacist conspiracies, and the role of social media.

    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

    Two one-hour lectures per week.

    All lectures can be viewed either on-campus or by live streaming or lecture recording, each option available to both distance and on-campus students.


    There is no required textbook for this paper. All readings are provided online.

    Course outline

    Click the link for a sample RELS241 course outline

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of this course, RELS 241 students should be able to:

    1. describe and analyse roles that religion plays in various situations of social conflict;
    2. understand and explain the historical and social contexts of major contemporary conspiracy theories;
    3. acquire theoretical knowledge of major approaches to the study of religion, conflict, and conspiracy theory.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    Wednesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 13, 19

    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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