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FAU Lecture to Address 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Cross at Ground Zero

Cross at Ground Zero

Florida Atlantic University’s department of history presents a lecture on the conspiracy theories about the September 11th attacks entitled “Enemies Within: The Conspiracy Culture of Modern America.” The prize-winning author Robert Goldberg from the University of Utah will speak on Thursday, October 28 at 2 p.m. in the University Theatre on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. The lecture is free with a suggested donation of $10.

Terms like the “grassy knoll,” “New World Order,” and “Area 51” are now part of our national lexicon.  They reflect the continuing power of conspiracy theories to affect our perceptions of the world.  Although such thinking has shaped American life since the Salem witch trials, conspiracy theories have become even more prominent since the attacks of September 11, 2001.  In this lecture, the prize-winning historian Robert Goldberg investigates the role of conspiracy theories in modern American politics.  In addition to the 9/11 conspiracy theories, he looks at five major conspiracy theories of the past half-century, including the Roswell UFO incident, the Communist threat, the rise of the Antichrist, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Jewish plot against black America.  Examining how the conspiracy theories became widely popular in the United States, Goldberg contends they are not merely the products of a lunatic fringe.  Rather, paranoid rhetoric and thinking are disturbingly central in America today.

“Forget everything you think you know about conspiracy theories,” said Kenneth Osgood, a U.S. historian at FAU.  “Robert Goldberg reveals that it’s not just crackpots and nutcases that buy into them. Conspiracy theories are absolutely central to American culture.  If you’ve been following the Tea Party movement, or rumors about President Obama’s religion or his ‘real’ place of birth, or the crazy allegations about the plots behind 9/11, this is a talk you don’t want to miss. It will keep you in your seats, and it will change the way you think about modern America.”
Goldberg is an award-winning author, teacher and accomplished U.S. historian.  His books include Conspiracy Theories in  American History (2003); Enemies Within:  The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (2001); Barry Goldwater (1995); and Grassroots ResistanceSocial Movements in Twentieth Century America (1991).  Goldberg is currently working on a book titled The Shape of Things to ComeThe Presidential Election of 1964 soon to be published by the University Press of Kansas.

A professor of history at the University of Utah, Goldberg has received numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch Prize for Teaching (2004) and the Phi Alpha Theta Book Award for Enemies Within (2002).  His biography of Barry Goldwater was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
The lecture, presented by the department of history in FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, is the sixth lecture in the John O’Sullivan Memorial Lecture Series. The series was initiated as a tribute to the late John O’Sullivan, a former chair of FAU’s history department, who devoted his entire academic career to FAU. Inspired by O’Sullivan’s dynamic teaching, several of his former students donated money to initiate a lecture series in his honor.

For further information about the lecture or the series, call 561-297-3840 or visit

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Posted by Andrea Freygang on Oct 18 2010. Filed under Broward County, College, Culture, Local news, Palm Beach. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “FAU Lecture to Address 9/11 Conspiracy Theories”

  1. Jim Powell

    I had 22 “friends”among the 343 FDNY dead. From 9/12/01, I have collected extensive print media an dcertain FDNY publications. I have decided that donnating this material is the best way to honor my ‘fallen’ Brothers.

    Would your Department or another at FAU be interested in receiving my cllection? There are no-strings-attached to this, other than a little help transporting the material, which amounts to 3 or 4 garden-leaf-bags of material.

    For the record, I am also a History Major with a BA from St. John’s University 1964. I do hope that you will do something with this collection. It could be utilized in a number of ways.

    Jim Powell — cell phone: 561-716-1836 or 8269; email:


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