Stanley Kubrick and Conspiracy culture: Call for Chapters

deadline for submissions: 
January 10, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
James Fenwick (Sheffield Hallam University) Matthew Melia (Kingston University)
contact email: 

Stanley Kubrick and Conspiracy Culture: Call for book chapters

Almost immediately after Stanley Kubrick’s death, in the years after 9/11, there emerged a global culture of conspiracy that reached its apex with the rise of QAnon and the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. in 2021. It is therefore timely to recognise that  Kubrick and the films he produced have long inspired, been connected to, and continue to arouse suspicions of conspiracy: it has been suggested and theorised that his films contain hidden meanings and secret, coded messages; that Kubrick himself participated in deep state conspiracies, not least by conspiring to fake the Apollo 11 moon landing (a popular and unsubstantiated conspiracy theory suggests he filmed the moon landing); that his films secretly synchronise with music of counter cultural rock groups like Pink Floyd; that Kubrick worked for in some way the CIA or FBI; or that his films contain references to the Illuminati (in particular Eyes Wide Shut, 1999). Some of Kubrick’s most known and critically acclaimed films have been objects of cult fan scrutiny, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and The Shining (1980). These films are repeatedly interpreted, dissected, and investigated in order to understand their “true” meaning. Indeed, films like The Shining are ‘Puzzle films’ – constructed in a way that deliberately invite repeated viewing and investigation. The ambiguity of many of Kubrick’s films, combined with Kubrick’s persona and reclusiveness have arguably contributed to a fan culture desperately seeking evidence to the true meaning of his films and to unlock Kubrick’s “genius”. 

Given this context, this collection aims to be the first serious academic study of the conspiracy culture surrounding Kubrick and to use Kubrick and his films as a springboard to consider contemporary conspiracy culture in relation to film, celebrity, and film fandom. Chapters are invited that examine Kubrick or his films with reference to wider conspiracy culture. This collection aims to consider the different and conflicting ways a text can be approached and interpreted, used and understood. It will ask what is the point where unsubstantiated speculation merges with document and fact based research and ask what value these conspiracy theories hold. Furthermore it aims to consider the position of Kubrick’s world in a new era of conspiratorial anxiety,

Suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to: 

  • Kubrick and the “puzzle film”
  • Film interpretations and hidden meanings 
  • Conspiracy and The Shining 
  • Kubrick and the Apollo 11 moon landing 
  • Synchronicity and 2001: A Space Odyssey (Pink Floyd etc.) 
  • Apocryphal stories 
  • Conspiracy and Eyes Wide Shut 
  • Kubrick and the FBI, CIA, Illuminati etc. 
  • Kubrick and the Nazis 
  • Kubrick and paranoia 
  • Fandom and conspiracy culture 
  • Kubrick and aliens 
  • Kubrick and nuclear war 
  • Kubrick and surveillance 
  • The Kubrick ‘myth’ 
  • Confirming, uncovering and debunking conspiracies in the Stanley Kubrick Archive 
  • Kubrick in a post 9/11 world 
  • Reading Kubrick in the era of Trump 
  • Kubrick’s death
  • Kubrick’s fanbase vs academic research
  • Mythologised production histories
  • Kubrick, conspiracy and the media
  • Kubrick and the early internet

In the first instance, please submit abstracts of between 300 to 500 words, along with a 100 word biography, to James Fenwick ( and Matthew Melia ( by 10th  January  2024. First draft chapters will be due by 30 July 2024

Chapters will be a maximum of 7000 words inclusive of all references / bibliography.