Political Leaders Need to Address Violence, Hate Seen on the Campaign Trail

This is an article in The Hill Times which I was interviewed for:

“The things that are providing some of this momentum is people’s sense of injustice to things. And it articulates their fears,” she said. “In many ways, we pay a lot of attention to the salacious nature of things without actually
looking underneath to see what are the topics and the injustice as a society that we need to address or speak to”

The article is behind a paywall, but you can find it here.

Religious Studies Project Podcast

A few months ago I did an interview with the Religious Studies Project on my research and publications. The interview was just posted, and I am excited to share this podcast!

From their introduction: In this episode, Maxinne Connolly-Panagopoulus discusses the range of Dr. Carmen Celestini’s work on religious conspiracy theories, Christian apocalyptic thought its impacts on the American political system. and tracks some of the parallels between early and modern conspiracy theories. They cover early grassroots movements such as the Anti-Masonic Party and the Know Nothings, who sought to fight against what they perceived as a threat to Christian values from a New World Order. This is paralleled to QAnon and current theories which hold a similar distrust of the government, the media and beliefs of a Satanic New World Order. We then move to discuss The John Birch Society and how their form of improvisational conspiracism linked to contemporary right-wing mobilisation and the Christian Identity Organisation. Threaded throughout our discussion, we ask explore the motivations for joining such a movement and what keeps people there despite moving targets and failed prophecies. Finally, Carmen describes the state of the field of conspiracy movements today, and where she sees it going in the future.

You can listen to the interview here.

Research Consultant—Disinformation Literacy

I am excited to announce that I will be working with Dr. Megan Boler at the University of Toronto and Dr. Barbara Perry at the Centre on Hate, Bias, and Extremism, as a Research Consultant on their project “Promoting Social Cohesion and Resilience to Far-Right Disinformation through Adult Disinformation Literacy: A Systematic Review and Pilot Assessment of Gaps and Needs.” This is an amazing preliminary project to assess where we need to develop adult literacy on disinformation. I am super excited to work with both these academics, and to continue my connection with Dr. Perry.

Disinformation Project At SFU

I am excited to announce that I am now a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Disinformation Project, in the School of Communications at SFU. Working with Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi on the Understanding hate groups narratives and conspiracy theories in traditional and alternative social media project. This project empirically examines Canadian right-wing extremism (RWE) narratives, conspiracies, and discourses on traditional and alternative social media. The project not only examines the textual content but also the multimodal discourses such as the use of memes, hashtags, emojis, and videos which, we argue, provide important clues on the way certain hate messages are communicated. Finally, the use of a unique mixed method that involves a networked thematic examination of social media posts as well as a keyword-based and other digital approaches provide richer and more meaningful insight into the nature of Canadian RWE discourses than if only one textual analysis approach is followed.

More information on The Disinformation Project.

From COVID conspiracies to rigged voting machines, misinformation plagues federal election

COVID-19-related misinformation also extends to conspiracy theories about the “new world order” and the “great reset,” involving baseless narratives about how world leaders orchestrated the pandemic and there is work underway to install a totalitarian world government.

Carmen Celestini, who has been monitoring social media platforms and posts as part of Simon Fraser University’s Disinformation Project, says the conspiracy theories are linked to supporters of and candidates from the People’s Party of Canada, as well as the wider anti-vaccination, anti-lockdown movement.

Read the full article on The National Post.