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HSR Vol. 38 (2013) No. 1: Special Issue

Beatrice de Graaf & Cornel Zwierlein (Eds.): Security and Conspiracy in History, 16th to 21st Century

This Special Issue combines both of the recently emerging fields – conspiracy and security history – for the first time by asking how we can conceive their parallel history from the Renaissance to the present. The new situation of international and national security regimes after the Cold War has not only placed security studies at the top of the Political Science agenda, but is also currently causing the emergence of a new field of security history. Likewise, Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories have found a new great interest in the post-Cold War constellation, particularly following 9/11. There has been hitherto no attempt to conceptualize the development of Security and Conspiracy in a longue durée perspective. Remaining sensitive to the ancient and medieval forerunners, we nevertheless assume that both fully developed conspiracy theories and ‘security’ as a leading political aim are phenomena mainly found in modern history. Both can be treated as dispositives in a Foucauldian sense which challenge each other – real or imagined conspiracies are threats to the security of the state or the commonwealth. Both Security and Conspiracy need to be carefully historicized.

This Special Issue offers a sketch of the supposed development of the combined dispositives throughout modern history in addition to a theoretical approach. The contributions combine case studies and methodological reflections from the Renaissance to 9/11 with a majority concerning the ‘high’ and ‘late modern’ periods since 1880. International pioneers, as well as young researchers in the field of conspiracy and security history, have contributed.

Furthermore this HSR contains a Mixed Issue with two articles.