The Paranoia Papers: Selected Bibliography

Theory of the (Un)Natural History of Social Paranoia

Compiled by Ralph Dumain

“Fascism has awakened a sleeping world to the realities of the irrational, mystical character structure of the people of the world.”

— Wilhelm Reich

“Fascism has opened up the depths of society for politics. Today, not only in peasant homes but also in city skyscrapers, there lives alongside of the twentieth century the tenth or the thirteenth. A hundred million people use electricity and still believe in the magic power of signs and exorcisms. The Pope of Rome broadcasts over the radio about the miraculous transformation of water into wine. Movie stars go to mediums. Aviators who pilot miraculous mechanisms created by man's genius wear amulets on their sweaters. What inexhaustible reserves they possess of darkness, ignorance, and savagery! Despair has raised them to their feet; fascism has given them a banner. Everything that should have been eliminated from the national organism in the form of cultural excrement in the course of the normal development of society has now come gushing out from the throat; capitalist society is puking up the undigested barbarism. Such is the physiology of National Socialism.”

— Leon Trotsky

For it is just here that we find the perfect expression of that dialectical unity of cynical nihilism and speculative, uncritical credulity and frivolous superstition which every irrationalism contains implicitly and which simply acquired a matching figure in Hitler.”

— Georg Lukács

“Well-informed cynicism is only another mode of conformity. These people willingly embrace or force themselves to accept the rule of the stronger as the eternal norm. Their whole life is a continuous effort to suppress and abase nature, inwardly or outwardly, and to identify themselves with its more powerful surrogates—the race, fatherland, leader, cliques, and tradition.”

— Max Horkheimer

“. . . the concept of ideology makes sense only in relation to the truth or untruth of what it refers to. There can be no talk of socially necessary delusions except in regard to what would not be a delusion . . .”

— Theodor W. Adorno

Selected Books

Adorno, T. W.; et al. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper, 1950. (Studies in Prejudice. The American Jewish Committee, Social Studies Series, publication no. 3)

Baringer, Sandra. The Metanarrative of Suspicion in Late Twentieth-Century America. New York: Routledge, 2004. Contents.

Barkun, Michael. A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society; 15) Contents. Publisher description.

Bloch, Ernst. Heritage of Our Times; translated by Neville and Stephen Plaice. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. Publisher description.

Brennan, Teresa. The Age of Paranoia. R.S. Means Company, 2004.

Bronner, Stephen Eric. A Rumor about the Jews: Antisemitism, Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. (1st ed., 2000)

Clymer, Jeffory A. America’s Culture of Terrorism: Violence, Capitalism, and the Written Word. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. (Cultural Studies of the United States)

Coady, David, ed. Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate. Aldershot, Hampshire, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006. Contents.

Cohen, Edmund D. The Mind of the Bible-Believer. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1986.

Davis, David Brion, ed. The Fear of Conspiracy: Images of Un-American Subversion from the Revolution to the Present. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1971.

Dean, Jodi. Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998.

Dentith, Matthew R. X. The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Freiman, Ori. “Knowledge in a Conspiratorial World” [review], The Berlin Review of Books, March 31, 2017.

Fenster, Mark. Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture. Rev. and updated ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. Contents & extract.

Fromm, Erich. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. New York: H. Holt, 1992. (Originally published 1973.)

Girard, René. Violence and the Sacred, translated by Patrick Gregory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.

Graumann, Carl F.; and Moscovici, Serge; eds. Changing Conceptions of Conspiracy. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1987. (Springer Series in Social Psychology)

Jackson, John L., Jr. Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness: The New Reality of Race in America. New York: Basic Civitas, 2008. Google Books preview. Contents.

Jeurgensmeyer, Mark, ed. Violence and the Sacred in the Modern World. London; Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1992. See also Mark Juergensmeyer | Global Studies, UCSB; Mark Juergensmeyer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Johnson, George. Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher; Boston: Distributed by Houghton Mifflin, 1983.

Knight, Peter. Conspiracy Culture: From the Kennedy Assassination to ‘The X-Files’. London; New York: Routledge, 2000. Publisher description.

Langman, Lauren; Kalekin-Fishman, Devorah; eds. The Evolution of Alienation: Trauma, Promise, and the Millennium. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006. Contents. See esp. Berlet (below). Publisher's description. Google books.

Marcus, George E., ed. Paranoia within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. (Late Editions; 6) Table of contents. Publisher description.

Melley, Timothy. Empire of Conspiracy: The Culture of Paranoia in Postwar America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.

Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized; introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre, afterword by Susan Gilson Miller, translated by Howard Greenfeld. Expanded ed. Boston: Beacon Press, 1991. (First published in English in 1965.)

Parish, Jane; Parker, Martin; eds. The Age of Anxiety: Conspiracy Theory and the Human Sciences. Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.

Reich, Wilhelm. The Mass Psychology of Fascism, translated by Vincent R. Carfagno. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970.

Robin, Corey. Fear: The History of a Political Idea. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Publisher description.

Béland, Daniel. Review, Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, January-February 2005.

Robins, Robert S.; Post, Jerrold M. Political Paranoia: The Psychopolitics of Hatred. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Anti-Semite and Jew; translated by George J. Becker, preface by Michael Walzer. New York: Schocken Books, distributed by Pantheon Books, 1995. (Originally published 1948.)

Taussig, Michael T. The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1980.

Wheatley, Kim. Shelley and His Readers: Beyond Paranoid Politics. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999.

Blank, G. Kim. "On Kim Wheatley's Shelley and His Readers: Beyond Paranoid Politics." Romantic Circles Reviews, 3.3 (2000). 24 Aug. 2000.

Ulmer, William A. Review, Studies in Romanticism, Winter, 2001.

Selected Articles

Beringer, Alex J. "'Some Unsuspected Author': Ignatius Donnelly and the Nineteenth-Century American Conspiracy Novel," Arizona Quarterly, Volume 68, Number 4, Winter 2012, pp. 35-60.

Berlet, Chip. Conspiracism as a Flawed Worldview.

__________. Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating. Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates, 2009. PDF file of the essay itself.

__________. “When Alienation Turns Right: Populist Conspiracism, the Apocalyptic Style, and Neo- Fascist Movements,” in The Evolution of Alienation: Trauma, Promise, and the Millennium, edited by Lauren Langman and Devorah Kalekin-Fishman (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006), pp. 173-222.

__________. “Zog Ate My Brains,” New Internationalist, no. 372, 1 October 2004.

Berlet, Chip; Lyons, Matthew N. “Criticism of Centrist/Extremist Theory,” section of Repression and Ideology: The Legacy of Discredited Centrist/Extremist Theory: "Violent Radicalization," "Extremism," & "Homegrown Terrorism", with new introduction; originally published in Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Report, Vol. 5, Nos. 13-14, Jan-Feb., and March-April 1998.

Brennan, Teresa. “Social Evil,” Social Research, Summer, 1997.

Clarke, Steve. “Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorizing,” Philosophy of the Social Sciences, vol. 32, no. 2, June 2002, pp. 131–50.

Cockburn, Alexander. “The 9/11 Conspiracists and the Decline of the American Left,” Counterpunch, November 28, 2006.

Dean, Jodi. “Theorizing Conspiracy Theory,” Theory & Event, volume 4, issue 3, 2000.

Freedman, Carl. “Towards a Theory of Paranoia: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick,” Science-Fiction Studies, no. 32, March 1984, pp. 15-24. Abstract.

Goertzel, Ted. “The Conspiracy Meme,” Skeptical Inquirer, volume 35.1, January/February 2011.

Hagemeister, Michael. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Between History and Fiction,” New German Critique, no. 103, vol. 35, no. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 83-95.

Horstemeier, Robert P. “Flying Saucers Are Real! The US Navy, Unidentified Flying Objects, and the National Security State,” Socialism and Democracy, no. 42 (Volume 20, No. 3), November, 2006. (Special issue: Socialism and Social Critique in Science Fiction)

Horn, Eva; Rabinbach, Anson. “Introduction” [on conspiracy theories], New German Critique, no. 103, vol. 35, no. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 1-8. Special issue: Dark Powers: Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theory in History and Literature.

Keely, Brian L. “Of Conspiracy Theories,” Journal of Philosophy, vol. 96, no. 3, March 1999, pp. 109-126.

Kelley-Romano, Stephanie. “Trust No One: The Conspiracy Genre on American Television,” Southern Communication Journal, Vol. 73, No. 2, April–June 2008, pp. 105–121.

Melley, Timothy. “Brainwashed! Conspiracy Theory and Ideology in the Postwar United States,” New German Critique, no. 103, Vol. 35, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 145-164.

Pagán, Victoria E. “Toward a Model of Conspiracy Theory for Ancient Rome,” New German Critique, no. 103, Vol. 35, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 27-49.

Pigden, Charles. “Popper Revisited, or What Is Wrong with Conspiracy Theories?”, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, vol. 25 (1993), pp. 3-34.

Polyp. “Challenging the Politics of Paranoia,” New Internationalist, no. 440, March 2011; with web-only postscript.

Rabinbach, Anson. “Ernst Bloch's Heritage of Our Times and the Theory of Fascism,” New German Critique, No. 11, Spring 1977, pp. 5-21.

Robin, Corey. “Reason to Panic,” The Hedgehog Review, Fall 2003, pp. 62-80.

Simonsen, Kjetil. “Anti-Semitism in the Socialist Tradition," Communalism: A Social Ecology Journal, 1 August 2007.

Smith, David Norman. “The Social Construction of Enemies: Jews and the Representation of Evil,” Sociological Theory, vol. 14, no. 3, November 1996, pp. 203-240.

Tanner, Jakob. “The Conspiracy of the Invisible Hand: Anonymous Market Mechanisms and Dark Powers,” New German Critique, no. 103, Vol. 35, No. 1, Spring 2008, pp. 51-64.

Wears, Adam; Jackson, Sam. “5 Reasons Conspiracy Theories Are Destroying the World,”, July 15, 2014.

Wheatley, Kim. “Paranoid Politics: Shelley and the Quarterly Review,” in Romanticism and Conspiracy, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, August, 1997.

Worrell, Mark P. “The Disintegration of Fordism and the Transformation of Black Anti-Semitism in America, 1945-2005," Fast Capitalism 4.1, 2008.

Norman Cohn

Campbell. Anthony. Book Review: Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come, by Norman Cohn.

Cohn, Norman. “How the Great Witch-hunt really started,” Extract from Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom.

____________. The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages. Rev. and expanded ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970. (Original ed. 1957.)

____________. Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. London: Serif, 1996. (First published 1967.)

Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millennium. Not Bored.

Slaughter, Cliff. “Religion and Social Revolt," Labour Review, Vol.3 No.3, May-June 1958, pp. 77-82.

Richard Hofstadter

Brown, David S. Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Publisher description.

Dunst, Alexander. “Paranoid Politics: Richard Hofstadter, and the defence of modernity”. Conference Paper given at The 54th Annual Conference of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS). University of Nottingham, 16-19 March 2009.

Greenberg, David. “The Obama Haters,” Slate Magazine, Sept. 23, 2009.

Hofstadter, Richard. “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Harper's Magazine, November 1964, pp. 77-86.

________________. The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Other Essays; foreword by Sean Wilentz. New York: Vintage Books, 2008. (1st ed.: New York: Knopf, 1965.) Excerpt & chapter.

The title essay is a revised and expanded version of the Herbert Spencer Lecture, delivered at Oxford in November 1963. An abridged text appeared in Harper's Magazine, November 1964.


Foreword to the Vintage Edition     xi
Introduction     xxxi
Part I: Studies in the American Right
1. The Paranoid Style in American Politics     3
2. The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt—1954     41
3. Pseudo-Conservatism Revisited—1965     66
4. Goldwater and Pseudo-Conservative Politics     93
Part II: Some Problems of the Modern Era:
5. Cuba, the Philippines, and Manifest Destiny     145
6. What Happened to the Antitrust Movement?     188
7. Free Silver and the Mind of "Coin" Harvey     238
Acknowledgments     317
Index     319

Preface to the 2008 Edition by Sean Wilentz

Howell, Jaclyn. “The Paranoid Narrative in A Question of Eligibility: Is Obama’s Presidency Constitutionally Legitimate?: A Case Study of the Birthers.” 30 pp.

Pfau, Michael William. The Political Style of Conspiracy: Chase, Sumner, and Lincoln. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2005.

Summers, John H. “Politics Without Politics: Seeing History From the Center,” The New York Observer, June 18, 2006.

Bibliographies & Web Sites

Conspiracism (Chip Berlet, Political Research Associates).

Home page: - The Website of Political Research Associates.

Conspiracy Theory in the Black Community. African American Research Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. March 9, 2009.

Fringe History, Pseudoscience, and Popular Culture: Bibliography.

Paranoia @ Reason & Society


We the Paranoid, by Peter Starr et al, design by Tara Waugh with Peter Lopez. Web-based multimedia book, with text, video, bibliography, interactive surveys. A rich and essential source.


Dumain, Ralph. “Theorizing Social Paranoia,” 22 May 2011, an episode of "Studies in a Dying Culture" on "Think Twice Radio". Listen to promo here.

Sources of Quotations

Adorno, Theodor W. Negative Dialectics, translated by E .B. Ashton (New York: The Seabury Press, 1973), p. 197.

Horkheimer, Max. Eclipse of Reason (New York: Continuum, 1974), p. 113.

Lukács, Georg. The Destruction of Reason, translated by Peter Palmer (London: The Merlin Press, 1980), pp. 751-752.

Reich, Wilhelm. Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy (New York: The Noonday Press, 1961), p. 500. From The Murder of Christ, 1953.

Trotsky, Leon. “What Is National Socialism?”, June 10, 1933.

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Martin Sostre in Court: On Hostility, Paranoia, & Psychiatric Abuse

"Theses Against Occultism" by Theodor W. Adorno

Sander L. Gilman on Nazism, Paranoia, & Language
(Excerpt from Jewish Self-Hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews)

Review: Michael Mack, German Idealism and the Jew by R. Dumain

Anti‑Semitism and National Socialism” by Moishe Postone

Richard Wright’s Outsider, Negroes & Flying Saucers

Doubt & Skepticism: A Directed Minimal Bibliography & Web Guide

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Reflexivity & Situatedness Study Guide
(with side orders of slumming & liberal guilt)

Holistic Thought, New Age Obscurantism, Occultism, the Sciences, & Fascism

Occultism, Eastern Mysticism, Fascism, & Countercultures: Selected Bibliography

Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

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Irony, Humor, & Cynicism Study Guide

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