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Peter Knight is Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Manchester.

He joined Manchester in 2000, having previously taught at Staffordshire University. Before that he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Nottingham University (1996-99), and a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at New York University (1997-98). More recently (2004-05) he held a Leverhulme Study Abroad Fellowship at Harvard.

Peter Knight's initial area of research was the changing style and function of conspiracy theories in American literature and popular culture, especially since the 1960s. His project has been to revise the classic interpretations of the "paranoid style" that were developed in the 1950s and 60s, by showing that conspiracy thinking can longer be dismissed as the delusional mindset of extremists. Using a cultural studies methodology to challenge the classic psychohistorical approach, he has sought to demonstrate that more recent forms of American conspiracy culture serve as important ways of making sense of ideas about causality, agency and responsibility in the era of globalization.

His monograph, Conspiracy Culture: From the Kennedy Assassination to "The X-Files" (Routledge, 2000) examines a wide range of cultural narratives and practices, discussing the proliferation of conspiracy narratives about the New World Order, the Kennedy assassination, alien abduction, body panic, patriarchy, and white supremacy. He is also contributing a book titled The Kennedy Assassination for the new Edinburgh University Press series "Representing American Events." His edited collection Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Postwar American Paranoia (New York University Press, 2002) brought together an international group of scholars who are also engaged in the project of rethinking the standard analysis of conspiracy theories in American culture. He also edited Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2004; 2 vols), which expands this new approach to conspiracy culture to the entire range of American history.

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