Archaeology in a Post-Truth World: An Interdisciplinary Philosophical Conference

Department: Philosophy

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

Event Location: HG 1030

Event Details

We are excited to announce that on Saturday and Sunday, February 8-9, our campus will host the Department of Philosophy’s Archaeology in a Post-Truth World Interdisciplinary Conference. The popularity of false narratives about history (alternative history) and archaeology (pseudoarchaeology) poses a unique threat. In a post truth words, 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 10:15am-12pm, we will host a breakout session, followed by a collective discussion, 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.

Saturday and Sunday, February | 9 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Humanities Gateway 1030 & 1010 and Humanities Instructional Building 135

For a full schedule of speakers and events, please visit

• Giulia Napolitano, PhD Candidate in Philosophy (CONCEPT Universität zu Köln)
• David S. Anderson, Instructor of Anthropological Sciences (Radford University)
• Louis Marti, PhD 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 (Stanford University)
• Duncan Pritchard, Distinguished Professor of of philosophy (UCI)

This event is co-sponsored by UCHRI, UCI Humanities Center, the Department of Philosophy, The Center for Ethnographic Studies, The Department of Art History, and the Department of Classics.

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