The Specter of Shoeless Joe: Hauntology and American Sports Conspiracies

Jack Daly (Penn State Harrisburg)

This essay examines sports conspiracies from a hauntological perspective. Others have noted that conspiracy theories exist at times because theorists can point to actual conspiracies of the past and say that it could happen again. Similarly, hauntology holds that we are haunted by our imagined pasts and possible futures. I argue that this is the case with sports conspiracies: the verified scandals from history cause us to be in a sense haunted by them and in turn create imagined futures and presents where those conspiracies are re-enacted. By analyzing the Chicago Black Sox scandal from 1919, I show how its specter haunts contemporary sports conspiracy theories.

Part of 08-13 Legendary Personalities, Saturday, October 15, 10:30 am–12:30 pm