Conspiracy, Pornography, Democracy: The Recurrent Aesthetics of the American Illuminati

  title={Conspiracy, Pornography, Democracy: The Recurrent Aesthetics of the American Illuminati},
  author={Gordon Fraser},
  journal={Journal of American Studies},
  pages={273 - 294}
  • Gordon Fraser
  • Published 12 November 2018
  • Art
  • Journal of American Studies
This essay examines reactionary, countersubversive fictions produced in the context of two conspiracy theories in the United States: the Illuminati crisis (1798–1800) and Pizzagate (2016–17). The author suggests that both cases emblematize a pornotropic aesthetic, a racialized sadomasochism that recurs across United States culture. Building on the work of Hortense Spillers, Alexander Weheliye, Jennifer Christine Nash, and others, this essay argues that observers should understand… 

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