American Conspiracies

aspeers is the first and currently only peer-reviewed print journal for MA-level American studies scholars in Europe. It is a platform for the best work done by American studies graduate students below the Ph.D. level. It aims to foster academic exchange among young Americanists across Europe and to advance the field thereby as well as its genuine European perspective on ‘America’ and its presences and effects around the world.

aspeers features a general section in addition to a topical one that brings academic works into a dialogue on one common theme. For the upcoming issue, this topical section will be organized around different notions of "American Conspiracies." Please feel free to send in work to have it considered for publication in aspeers if

  • you are a student of American studies (or related fields) at a European university and are looking to publish a paper without a topical restriction.
  • or you are a student of American studies (or related fields) at a European university and are looking to publish a paper on "American Conspiracies."

Please see the following Calls for Papers for details. Please also note our style guide at which will give you many helpful instructions on how to prepare your submission for maximum success.

general academic contributions | due October 15, 2023 | pdf

topical academic contributions | due October 15, 2023 | pdf

Please see our submission guidelines and FAQ section. Submissions should be directed to

1) General Call for Papers

For the general section of its seventeenth issue, aspeers seeks outstanding academic writing demonstrating the excellence of graduate scholarship, the range of concerns scrutinized in the field, and the diversity of perspectives employed. We thus explicitly invite revised versions of term papers or chapters from theses written by students of European Master (and equivalent) programs. For this section, there are no topical limitations. Contributions should be up to 7,500 words (including abstract and list of works cited). The submission deadline is October 15, 2023.

2) Topical Call for Papers on "American Conspiracies"

From the Kennedy assassination to the moon landing hoax and QAnon, the United States have witnessed myriad conspiracy theories throughout their history. While the US is, of course, not alone in its love for conspiracies, conspiratorial rhetoric, and conspiracy theories have been a fixture of US culture and politics for over two centuries. But even to this day, conspiracy theories are evoked both seriously and humorously from the political realm to popular culture, shaping public discourse and challenging established narratives. Although many of the more outlandish conspiracy theories have never gained traction in wider parts of the populace outside of jokes and memes, the US also had its fair share of widespread conspiratorial thinking such as during the Roswell UFO incident or the Red Scare of the 1950s, which captivated the collective imagination and spurred an intense debate observable in all kinds of cultural artifacts from sci-fi movies to postmodernist novels.

However, while conspiracy theories keep fascinating the public with their intricate narratives, actual US conspiracies have occurred throughout history—concrete instances of hidden agendas, covert collaborations, and abuses of power. Examples of US conspiracies can be found in politics, business, and larger social spheres. Political scandals such as Watergate or the Cambridge Analytica data breach have revealed covert operations to manipulate public opinion, compromise privacy, and influence electoral processes. Social conspiracies emerged from systemic injustices, discrimination, and abuses of power, as exemplified by the Tuskegee Experiment or government-sanctioned surveillance programs that infringe upon privacy rights in the name of national security. These instances highlight the manipulation and victimization of marginalized communities by those in positions of authority.

For its seventeenth issue, aspeers dedicates its topical section to “American Conspiracies” and invites European graduate students to critically and analytically explore US literature, (popular) culture, history, politics, society, and media through the lens of ‘conspiracy.’ We welcome papers from all disciplines, methodologies, and approaches comprising American studies and related fields. Potential papers could cover (but are not limited to):

  • Representations, narratives, or images of conspiracies/conspiracy theories in US literature, film, TV, etc.

  • Conspiracy and ‘paranoia’ as a methodology (or epistemology) in literary and cultural studies (paranoid/symptomatic reading and its critique, etc.)

  • Analyses related to current and past social and political conspiracies/conspiracy theories

  • Historical conceptualizations of covert operations or hidden agendas in the US and in a transnational context, in particular as tied to questions of power, identity, control, or rulership

  • Hoaxes, cons, ‘plots,’ moral panics, and other related phenomena in American history, media, and culture

  • The intersections of conspiracies and conspiracy theories with categories like race, class, age, and gender

aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed print journal of European American studies, encourages fellow MA students from all fields to reflect on the diverse meanings of “American Conspiracies.” We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the seventeenth issue of aspeers by October 15, 2023. If you seek to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general Call for Papers. Please consult our submission guidelines and find some additional tips at

3) Call for Art Contributions

In its seventeenth issue, the art section of aspeers is aiming to cast a spotlight on the imaginations and representations of the topic "Transcending Time" in relation to U.S. American culture(s).

This topic lends itself particularly well to creative exploration and artistic expression, unearthing and communicating meanings to which academic writing does not have access. Therefore, aspeers 17 welcomes submissions of creative work examining the manifold constructions, ideas, and performances associated with “Transcending Time.”

A list of possible contributions includes, but is certainly not limited to:

  • illustrations

  • paintings

  • photography

  • poetry

  • creative writing

We will consider all submissions regardless of the author’s institutional affiliation, geographic location, or level of study. Non-printable material selected for publication will be included on the journal homepage. Plastic art will be on display in Leipzig at the issue’s launch ceremony and will be presented as a still image in the paper and online edition.

Please consult our submission guidelines, an editorial timetable, as well as additional information at To be considered, contributions must be in by 15 January 2024.

PDF icon aspeers_cfp_2024_general.pdfPDF icon aspeers_cfp_2024_topical.pdfPDF icon aspeers_cfp_2024_art.pdf