IMS seminar - Aurora
IMS Seminar

Guest: Tobias Pontara, The Role of Music and Sound in Audiovisually Mediated Conspiracy Theoretical Discourse

Welcome to the weekly IMS seminar!

This week we are visited by Tobias Pontara from Göteborgs university, who will give a presentation titled, "Conspiracy Soundtracks: The Role of Music and Sound in Audiovisually Mediated Conspiracy Theoretical Discourse".

About the seminar

In public discourse and mainstream media, conspiracy theories are often described as a form of disinformation and a threat to democratic societies. In the scholarly literature, however, this view has been vigorously debated. Are conspiracy theories always democratically subversive or can they also be democratically progressive? Should we assume that conspiracy theories are, as a rule, implausible or should we rather assess their plausibility and epistemic status on a case-by-case basis? What is the relation between conspiracy theoretical discourse and populism? And how could we understand conspiracy theories as a form of cultural and political resistance?

Scholars have also examined the visual and literary practices connected with conspiracy theories, including the narrative construction of such theories in fiction films and related screen media. So far, however, studies of audiovisually mediated conspiracy theoretical discourse have paid little or no attention to the role of the soundtrack in such discourse. The newly started research project presented at this seminar examines to what extent and in what ways soundtrack phenomena – music, sound effects, voice-over, and even silence – can be regarded as central for effective communication and persuasion in the audiovisual dissemination of conspiracy theoretical content.

In my presentation I will give an overview of the project’s research design. I will then present the initial stages of an analysis dealing with the soundtrack’s “epistemic activity” in the 9/11 conspiracy theoretical documentary Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007).

How to attend

It is possible to attend the seminar both from Dacke in Växjö and via zoom. Contact us at if you want to participate via zoom, or sign up for our external email list to receive automatic updates on our events (zoom link and additional information are sent out one week in advance).


Photo: 'Aurora - Connecting Senses’, Cristina Pop-Tiron & Signe Kjær Jensen

Dacke and Zoom IMS Add to your calendar