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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 Order consipiracies, Holocaust denial, QAnon, Great Replacement conspiracies, and other conspiracies.

    About this paper

    Paper title Religion, Conflict and Conspiracy Theory (Advanced)
    Subject Religious Studies
    EFTS 0.1500
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 200-level RELS points
    RELS 241
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology

    Prerequisite for this paper may be waived with permission of Head of Programme (Religion). May not be credited together with RELS 241.


    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 and climate skepticism, esotericism and conspirituality, Illuminati and the New World Order, New Zealand political and religious conspiracists, giants and aliens, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, QAnon and Satanic Panics, white supremacist 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 recorded online, available to both distance and on-campus students.


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

    Course outline

    RELS 341 2021 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 341 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.
    4. offer a multi-faceted explanation for the contemporary prevalence of conspiracy theories and evaluate relevant academic theories.


    Semester 1

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

    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
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