Thursday, 1st of December 

8.45 Coffee 

9.15         Welcome words: Tuomas Forsberg, Director of the HCAS 

                   Opening words: Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius & Tero Toivanen 

9.30         Maria Lasonen-Aarnio: On the Epistemology of Mis-/distrust 

10.15       Keynote: Prof. Michael Butter (University of Tübingen): Conspiracy Theories, Populism, Democracy 

11.15         Lunch 

12.15        Panel session 1: Contrarian epistemologies across time and space (Chair: Mark Aitken, HCAS)

  • Oula Silvennoinen (University of Helsinki): “Everywhere it was the Jews”: Antisemitism, Conspiracism and the Origins of Interwar Finnish Far Right 
  • Toni Saarinen (University of Helsinki): Old Made New: Constructing Stigmatized Knowledge in the QAnon Myth 
  • Cora Alexa Døving (University of Oslo): How conspiracy theories make sense in Norwegian Facebook groups: An introduction to ‘conspiracy talk’ as an analytical concept  

13.45        Coffee break 

14.15         Panel session 2:  The ‘usual suspects’ of contrarian epistemologies (Chair: Raskov Danila, HCAS)

  • Mari-Liis Madisson (University of Tartu): Strategic conspiracy narratives in political communication: Case study of EKRE’s transmedial anti-Soros messages 
  • Marko Ampuja (University of Helsinki): Conspiracy theories and the organic crisis of Western liberal democracies
  • Mariëlle Wijermars (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies): The memory politics of ultranationalism in Russia

17.00         Public event at Oodi (Helsinki City Library): Democratisation of knowledge and the crisis of democracy 

19.00         Reception (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Common Room, 3rd floor) 


Friday, 2nd of December  

9.30 Coffee 

10.00        Keynote 2: Associate Prof. Elżbieta Korolczuk (Södertörn University & University of Warsaw): Gender denialism in contemporary Europe: the anti-gender campaigns in the populist moment 

11.00         Lunch 

12.00        Panel session 3:  Established authorities, expertise, and contrarian epistemologies (Chair: Katja Kujanpää, HCAS) 

  • Niki Sopanen (University of Helsinki): Crouching (paper) tiger, hidden (paper) dragon, and the clash (of theories) of conspiracies – a comparative inquiry into conspiratorial discourses in China-U.S. relations
  • Katja Valaskivi (University of Helsinki): Epistemic Contestations in the Attention Factory
  • Alfred Moore (York University): Deliberative Traps and the Problem of Distrust: Controversies over expertise in the Covid pandemic 

13.30        Break

13.45        Keynote: Associate Prof. Martin Hultman (Chalmers University): Climate Obstruction: How Propaganda, Conspiracies and Apathy are Heating the Planet 

14.45         Coffee break 

15.00         Panel session 4: Contrarian epistemologies in culture and media  (Chair: Walter Rech, HCAS) 

  • Anita Pluwak (Tallinn University): Female conspiracy fiction from postsocialist Poland 
  • Niko Pyrhönen (University of Helsinki): Contrarian epistemologies as political fandom?  
  • Kimi Kärki (University of Turku): The Eternal Return of Nazis: Popular Culture, Nazi Conspiracies, and Underground Entryism 

16.30         Break 

16.45          Panel session 5: Consequences and entanglements of contrarian epistemologies (Chair: Kristin Ferebee, HCAS)

  • Annastiina Kallius (University of Helsinki): Conspiracies and Illiberal Infrastructure of Knowledge in Hungary
  • Olli Herranen (University of Helsinki): Climate denialism and the delicate balance between freedom and control 
  • Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius (Polish Academy of Sciences & University of Helsinki) and Tero Toivanen (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies): Mapping contrarian responses to Russia’s war on Ukraine on the far-right in Finland and Poland 

19.00         Conference dinner (Restaurant: The Cock, Fabianinkatu 17)