"Archaeology in a Post-Truth World Interdisciplinary Conference"

Department: Art History

Date and Time: February 8, 2020 - February 9, 2020 | 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Event Location: Humanities Gateway 1030 & 1010 and Humanities Instructional Building 135

Event Details

Saturday and Sunday, February 8 & 9 | 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For a full schedule of speakers and events, please visit conspiracycon.net

The popularity of false narratives about history (alternative history) and archaeology (pseudoarchaeology) poses a unique threat. In a post-truth world, false stories — e.g. that the Smithsonian has a hidden collection of bones that would rewrite human evolutionary history—have gained remarkable social media momentum. Unfortunately, pseudoarchaeology proves difficult to debunk; often, the most virulent pseudoarchaeological narratives are those which feed into racist or nationalist sentiments and propagate deep-seated suspicion of academics. Work in cognitive science and epistemology on the phenomenon of conspiracy theories can aid in solving some of these problems.

These fields study how and why people form beliefs and, as a result, they can offer strategies to counter the appeal of misinformation. This conference will gather scholars from epistemology, cognitive science, history, classics and archaeology for an interdisciplinary dialogue about information literacy and scientific communication in a post-truth world. This conference will provide theoretical depth to the conspiracy theory phenomenon as well as a needed opportunity for an interdisciplinary response to the dire matter of misinformation in the digital age, using pseudoarchaeology as a case study.

The conference will feature two days of research presentations, as well as a poster session, from scholars both in and outside of UCI. Each presenter brings a unique viewpoint on the controversial subject matter, giving attendees an opportunity to experience respectful discourse. On Sunday from 10:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., the World Café session and collective discussion will turn Humanities Gateway 1030 into a café with coffee, tea, snacks and paper-covered tables for a breakout session during which presenters and audience members will work together in small groups to generate innovative solutions to the problems of spreading misinformation and decreasing trust in academic communication in the age of social media.


• Giulia Napolitano, Ph.D. candidate in philosophy (CONCEPT Universität zu Köln)

• David S. Anderson, instructor of anthropological sciences (Radford University)

• Louis Marti, Ph.D. candidate in psychology (UCB)

• Karen Bassi, professor of literature and classical studies (UCSC)

• Sven Bernecker, professor of philosophy (UCI)

• Cailin O'Connor, associate professor of logic and philosophy of science (UCI)

• John Albertson, nautical archaeologist

• Derek Powell, post-doctoral scholar in psychology (Stanford University)

• Duncan Pritchard, Distinguished Professor of philosophy (UCI)

Sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy, Art History, Logic and Philosophy of Science, Classics, Ethnography, UCHRI, Illuminations, the School of Humanities and the Humanities Center.