June 2022 Newsletter

June 24, 2022


  • SPIN is on YouTube! Watch, listen, and stream our latest events and talks exploring all things secrecy, power, and ignorance related on our channel. If you have a video of a talk or other event that you would like added, do email Evelyn or Elspeth. 


  • SPIN is pleased to share the responses to our recent #TwitterHour on the theme of ‘intelligence’ co-hosted with the Defence Research Network (@DefenceResNet) and Women’s Intelligence Network (@womenknowintel). Read more at https://wp.me/pb19Tu-wr 


Future events 

  • SPIN is hosting an online discussion on Teaching Secrecy on Tuesday the 28th of June (BST). There is still time to join us if interested.  Please email either Evelyn or Elspeth. Registered attendees will be emailed further details. No preparation needed.  


  • SPIN’s next Research in Progress meeting is on Wednesday on the 27th of July at 2pm (BST). Reminders and zoom details to follow. Do come to meet others in SPIN, to hear what others are working on, as well as to share current projects and research challenges, from the mundane ‘where should I publish’ to the more extreme ‘my theory/method’s not working!’) 


  • We’re very excited that this September, SPIN will be hosting our first ever Secrecy and Ignorance Colloquium an entire day hearing from and meeting with secrecy and ignorance researchers from across disciplines. More details and information has been emailed.  


  • To celebrate the publication of SPIN-ster Brian Rappert’s recent book, Performing Deception, SPIN is hosting a book launch in collaboration with the SWDTP on October 12th at 5pm. Save the date! 


  • SPIN has submitted two panels (10 papers and 10 presenters!) to the upcoming ISA convention in Montreal in March next year.  



  • Congratulations to SPIN-ster Brian Rappert for the publication of his book, Performing Deception, which reconstructs the practice of entertainment magic by analysing it through the lens of perception, deception and learning as he goes about studying conjuring himself. Buy the book or read the PDF for free. 


  • The first piece to come out of this year’s US politics Conspiracy Theory Tracker project, a video produced by Harvey Dryer, a University of Bristol Politics and International Relations undergraduate student, is excellent and can be watched on SPIN’s YouTube channel.  


  • Please also see the new blogpost on conspiracy theories by University of Bristol Politics and International Relations undergraduate student by Clara Rayner which can be read on SPIN’s blog. 


  • SPIN-ster Oliver Kearns’ new paper in the Review of International Studies looks at the British World War II propaganda campaign ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’. The campaign tried to teach British citizens to be discreet in what they said and to whom, in case enemy spies were listening in. The effect, though, was to make state secrecy part of ordinary sounds and habits of listening, and to represent the secret state through ideas of race, gender and class, often in uncontrollable and unintended ways. The article has some archive radio recordings attached to it, which is surely worth a curious listen! Read the article here.  


  • Oliver Kearns has also published in Geoforum about U.S. covert counter-terrorism in North Africa. It uses the example of a new drone base in Niger to argue that we should rethink how secrecy and space influence one another. Secret spaces aren’t just about cordoning off areas from public access; they’re about trying to make state power meaningful and legitimate for people as secret, for secrecy to define the spaces around it. The history of the Niger base shows that there’s no guarantee of this success. Read the article here.  









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