2022 Three Minute Thesis

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2022 Three Minute Thesis Competition Award - Second Place.

Award selection process: The top two from each group in the first heat advanced to the final round and presented again. Winners were selected from those top four.

To go to the Graduate Student Award Recipients collection page, click here.

Presentation Type

Open Access Poster Presentation

Abstract

William Milton Cooper was a radio show host, author, and conspiracy theorist. Among other things, Cooper claimed insider knowledge of a plot, guided by an ancient Luciferian religious order, to consolidate nations into a socialist New World Order. Although currently unexamined in academia, Cooper’s conspiratorial influence can be found everywhere from the Oklahoma City Bombing to contemporary false flag accusations to QAnon mythology. While this influence includes shared content, Cooper’s approach to evidence, persona, and narrative framing demand attention in a world of increasingly visible conspiracy discourse. Through application of Hocker-Rushing’s western hero archetype, my research indicates that Cooper’s Mystery Babylon radio series functioned as an archetypal reiteration of American frontier narratives, among numerous reiterations in 20th century American media. Because many of these iterations do not engage in conspiracy rhetoric, future research should consider the relationship between American frontier narratives and rhetoric that informs far-right extremist organization and actions.

Start Date

11-11-2022 12:00 PM

End Date

11-11-2022 1:30 PM

Event Host

Graduate College, University of Northern Iowa

Faculty Advisor

Catherine Palczewski

Department

Department of Communication and Media

Comments

  • Heat 1, Group 2 - Rm. 301 ScholarSpace, Rod Library
  • Award Selection Process: The top two from each group in the first heat advanced to the final round to present again. Winners were selected from the Final round.
  • Graduate Program: Communication and Media

File Format

application/pdf

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Nov 11th, 12:00 PM Nov 11th, 1:30 PM

Cowboy Cooper Goes West: Mystery Babylon and the Western Hero Archetype

William Milton Cooper was a radio show host, author, and conspiracy theorist. Among other things, Cooper claimed insider knowledge of a plot, guided by an ancient Luciferian religious order, to consolidate nations into a socialist New World Order. Although currently unexamined in academia, Cooper’s conspiratorial influence can be found everywhere from the Oklahoma City Bombing to contemporary false flag accusations to QAnon mythology. While this influence includes shared content, Cooper’s approach to evidence, persona, and narrative framing demand attention in a world of increasingly visible conspiracy discourse. Through application of Hocker-Rushing’s western hero archetype, my research indicates that Cooper’s Mystery Babylon radio series functioned as an archetypal reiteration of American frontier narratives, among numerous reiterations in 20th century American media. Because many of these iterations do not engage in conspiracy rhetoric, future research should consider the relationship between American frontier narratives and rhetoric that informs far-right extremist organization and actions.