American apocalyptic conspiracism as a way of knowing about global geopolitical crises
: climate change and Covid-19

  • Tom Albrecht

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Driven by an apocalyptic geopolitical imaginary that expects the establishment of an antichristian world government, groups within the diverse American evangelical movement perceive global climate protection policies and the political responses to the corona pandemic as threats to American sovereignty and indicators of the End-Times. These apocalyptic perceptions of global crises are not only religious, but also politically motivated as they reflect conservative, nationalist, or right-wing attitudes, as well as conspiracist logics, as they claim that climate change and Covid are hoaxes that are utilized to justify the restriction of personal freedoms. This research uses the term apocalyptic conspiracism to analyse the increasingly powerful confluence of apocalyptic and conspiracist discourses that creates a holistic belief system which postulates that the world will profoundly change for the worse as a result of a global network of interconnected conspiracies.
Following a social epistemological theoretical framework that assumes that truths are socially constructed and that different ways of knowing compete for power in a society, apocalyptic conspiracist discourses are approached as counter-knowledge that attacks official accounts of truth and knowledge-creating institutions in power. Through an analysis of texts, videos, and podcasts from digital spaces such as alternative news websites or apocalyptic blogs, this research engages with the discursive and epistemic strategies of apocalyptic conspiracism. Moreover, the underlying social, cultural, and (geo)political histories that constitute the foundation of today’s influential conspiracist End-Times discourses are explored. Since religious discourses cannot be analysed separately from the world they emerge from, this research further considers rather secular American apocalyptic conspiracist belief systems to expose links between evangelical apocalypticism and conspiracist discourses of the American right. This research, therefore, expands the literature on the discursive practices of anthropogenic climate change denialism and further improves the understanding of religious, apocalyptic, and conspiracist belief systems which affect geopolitical imaginations, the perception of global crises, as well as the environmentally relevant behaviour of American evangelical Christians.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 July 2028.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsUK ESRC NINE Doctoral Training Partnership
SupervisorTristan Sturm (Supervisor) & David N Livingstone (Supervisor)


  • Apocalypse
  • conspiracy
  • climate change
  • geopolitics
  • evangelicalism
  • COVID-19

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