In this seminar Dr. Krafft will report on a mixed methods study of the North American Flat Earther community, drawing on documents from two Flat Earth Society websites, three surveys, and participant observation at the 2018 Flat Earth International Conference. Across the three surveys they find that around 20-30% of respondents are at least to some extent uncertain that the shape of the earth is round. Drawing on interpretive methods, they conduct an investigation of what meaning flat earth beliefs have to their adherents. The varieties of motivations and meanings identified challenge existing prominent models of belief formation that have recently been employed in the fields of human-computer interaction and media studies.

About the Speaker: Dr Peaks Krafft (they/them) is Senior Lecturer and MA Internet Equalities Course Leader at the UAL Creative Computing Institute. When not studying the Flat Earth, Dr Krafft undertakes critically-oriented computer science research, academic organising, and community organising, especially recently on four issues in higher education and tech: social impacts of technology; personal and institutional accountability; anti-racism in organisations; and conflicts of interest from tech funding.