Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CFP for 2012 International Media, Religion & Culture Conference

The International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture, organized every two years by the International Society for Media, Religion, and Culture, invites papers for its July 8-12, 2012 conference to be held in Eskisehir, Turkey (outside of Istanbul), at Anadolu University.
 
 
Deadline for paper, panel, workshop, and roundtable proposals: January 31, 2012

In contemporary societies, electronic media such as smart mobile phones, satellite television, radio, and laptop computers have become ubiquitous. Although historians point out that world religions have always been mediated by culture in some way, people have incorporated these electronic media into everyday practices, and industries and state organizations have arisen to profit from those practices, in ways that are unprecedented. Today's media can connect people and ideas with one another, but they also foster misunderstandings and reinforce societal divisions. They may provide the means for the centralization of religious authority, or the means to undermine it. Scholars of religion, as well as scholars of media and of culture, must consider how these various societal institutions of the media interact with one another and with systems of religion, governance, and cultural practices, as our societies demand better means by which to understand emergent concerns in an increasingly interconnected, globalized context.

The contemporary location of Turkey has long been the meeting place between Eastern and Western culture, religion, trade, and communication. This conference provides a crossroads for scholars, doctoral students, media professionals, and religious leaders from a variety of religious and secular traditions to meet and exchange ideas. Interdisciplinary scholarship is welcome, as is comparative work, theoretical development, and in-depth ethnographic studies that shed light on contemporary phenomena at the intersection of media, religion, and culture.

Papers, panels, workshops, and roundtable proposals could address, but should not be limited to:
* Global and Glocal Media and Religion(s)
* Mediation and Mediatization of Religion
* Media and The Boundaries of the Religious and the Secular
* Media, Power, Religion and Democracy
* Religion and Visual Expression
* Crossroads of Old/New Media and Religion
* Religion, Gender and Media
* Dialogue/Conflict: Media and Religion
* Islam and Media/ Islamic Media
* Social Media, Religion and Cultures
More Information about the International Media, Religion, and Culture Conferences can be found here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Surveying Our Understanding of Digital Religion

You are cordially invited to an engaging, upcoming panel entitled" Surveying Our Understanding of Digital Religion" at the upcoming American Academy of Religion  meeting in San Francisco.

This event will be held on Saturday, 19 Nov 2011 from 9:00 am-11:30 am, in the Telegraph Hill room at the Intercontinental Hotel. The panel is sponsored by the Media, Religion and Culture group.

This panel will together bring scholars to reflect on how digital and mobile technologies are changing the field of religious studies by altering and enhancing our understanding how people practice and interpret religion within contemporary culture. It will also feature the work of a forthcoming collection of essays, Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds (Routledge), which explore key issues and questions that arise from religious engagement online. Specifically, panel participants will address how online ritual practice challenge traditional notions of embodiment and spirituality, how the internet informs and challenges traditional notions of religious community/authority, how users construct religious identities in digital environments and how the digital realm is shaping our understanding of the very nature of religion.

Panelists Include:
Christopher Helland, Dalhousie University, talking about ritual online
Mia L√∂vheim,  University of Uppsala, taking about identity online
Heidi A Campbell, Texas A & M University, talking about community online
Gregory Grieve, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, talking about changing understandings of religion online
Stewart Hoover, University of Colorado-Boulder [Respondent]

Please come and join us! And feel free to pass on this information to anyone else you feel who might be interested.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Memorialization of Steve Jobs and Digital Religion

Today I am hosting a Symposium on Digital Religion at TAMU today.  Last night I went to bed to the news of Steve Jobs passing and awoke to the blogosphere, twitter-sphere and facebook a buzz with the event and the beginnings of his online memorilization taking shape. Macfans had already declared Oct 14th to be Steve Jobs Day  before hearing this news and it is now becoming a day tocommemorate the passing of their leader and prophet. The event's facebook page has already become a virtual shrine and memory book for people from all over the world. Of course online memorial are nothing new, virtual cemetaries have existed since the mid-1990s, and the internet has become an important tool for grieving fans to gather and create a communal experience around such events. As a scholar interested in the intersection between religion and new media I will be interested to see the religious themes and iconography that emerges in the hours and days ahead as the internet becomes a space to honor the Messianic and Revolutionary images of Jobs.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Symposium on Digital Religion at Texas A&M University

This is to announce an upcoming symposium and workshop being held on 6 Oct 2011 at Texas A&M University on new media, religion and digital culture. The Digital Religion Symposium & Workshop will explore how new media is shaping our understanding of religion in a networked society.

This event will feature presentations by recognized experts in this area:

Pauline Cheong, Associate Professor of Communication at Arizona State University, presenting her work on authority online especially as they related to Buddhist and Christian engagement with new media

Nabil Echchaibi, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at University of Colorado-Boulder, presenting on Islam and the Internet and related issues of religious identity negotiation online

Christopher Helland, Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion at Dalhousie University (Canada), presenting on issues of ritual and authenticity related to Buddhist & Hindu online contexts

The symposium will be held 9am-1pm at 410 Rudder Tower on the campus of Texas A&M and will involve presentations by the 3 speakers followed by a panel discussion on what studying religion online has to teach us about social and religious life in an information society.

The event will also feature a workshop from 2:30-4pm at the Glasscock center library on Researching Digital Culture. This will be an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to learn and ask questions about methodological and ethical issues raised by doing online research in various internet and virtual world environments.

These events are free and open to the public, but reservations are required for the workshop and lunch.
RSVPs and inquiries related to this event can be directed to Heidi Campbell, Associate Professor of Communication-TAMU (heidic@tamu.edu).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recent Articles in Religion and New Media

Below are some recently published articles (and a PhD thesis) on a variety of topic related to religion and new media from interevangelists to cyberpilgrimage. Included is one by me on religious negotiations of Israeli rabbis and orthodox communities regarding the internet. Happy reading!

Denis Bekkering, From ‘Televangelist’ to ‘Intervangelist’: The Emergence of the Streaming Video Preacher, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

The present study begins by recovering the origins of the terms “televangelism” and “televangelist.” “Televangelism” first appeared in 1958 as the title of a proselytization project of the Southern Baptist Convention that combined dramatic television programs with efforts to engage viewers in person. “Televangelist” was introduced in 1975 to describe an emerging type of American television preacher, the most successful of whom built powerful parachurch organizations. The neologism “intervangelist” is then presented to label contemporary video preachers broadcasting online. A content analysis of video platforms on the site.

Heidi Campbell, Religion and the Internet in the Israeli Orthodox context, Israel Affairs.

This article provides an overview of research on religion and the Internet within the Israeli context, highlighting how Orthodox Jewish groups have appropriated and responded to the Internet. By surveying Orthodox use of the Internet, and giving special attention to the ultra Orthodox negotiations, a number of key challenges that the Internet poses to the Israeli religious sector are highlighted. Exploring these debates and negotiations demonstrates that while the Internet is readily utilized by many Orthodox groups, it is still viewed by some with suspicion. Fears expressed, primarily by ultra Orthodox groups, shows religious leaders often attempt to constrain Internet use to minimize its potential threat to religious social norms and the structure of authority. This article also highlights the need for research that addresses the concerns and strategies of different Orthodox groups in order to offer a broader understanding of Orthodox engagement with the Internet in Israel.

Connie Hill-Smith, Teaching & Learning Guide for: Cyberpilgrimage: The (Virtual) Reality of Online Pilgrimage Experience, Religion Compass.

Despite the profound and growing impact of the internet on contemporary ‘Western’ thought, rationalistic, physically orientated understandings of reality and experience continue to undermine notions that the internet might mediate religious experiences that are as ‘genuine’, meaningful, and transformative as offline ‘equivalents’. The absence of the physical body from cyberspace may be relatively unproblematic for some online religious practices; but ‘cyberpilgrimage’, the practice of undertaking pilgrimage online, is another matter. Interestingly, however, cyberpilgrimage can be viewed as continuing older traditions of semi-ratified virtual pilgrimage stretching back to medieval Europe, and perhaps beyond. The primacy in (terrestrial) pilgrimage experiences of imagination and mind is well-attested and recent years have, moreover, seen huge on-going leaps in technologies ‘linking’ mind and body to computerised systems. The challenge which cyberpilgrimage represents to theory and wider thought is not only great but increasing. This guide suggests an approach to teaching about cyberpilgrimage and the place of ‘the physical’ in cyberspace, especially within religious contexts, with the aim of fostering debate into this vital, compelling, and fast-evolving new field in Religious Studies.

Kevin Healey,The Spirit of Networks: New Media and the Changing Role of Religion in American Public Life [PhD Thesis-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]

The Spirit of Networks examines the implications of new media for the future of American religious politics. I argue that we are at a critical juncture in both media and religion, similar to the early days of radio broadcasting. The outcome of that earlier juncture involved an increase in media commercialization and the proliferation of conservative evangelical broadcasters—developments which paved the way for the emergence of the Religious Right. Today, technological and generational shifts have the potential to alter the course of American religious politics. Younger people are more wary of political partisanship and religious hypocrisy, and are more likely to use new technologies as tools of political engagement. These shifts have led some journalists and researchers to pronounce the death of the Religious Right and the emergence of a new Religious Left. The research presented here assesses the potential outcome of this critical juncture by examining the impact of new media technologies on public discourse at the intersection of religion and politics. Through qualitative analysis of newspaper articles, cable news transcripts, and blog commentaries, I demonstrate how new media tend to generate debates about the authenticity and sincerity of public figures. Pundits and bloggers frequently claim to glimpse public figures’ “backstage” identity through video clips, instant messages, and e-mails. In this way, the new media environment generates competing “discourses of authenticity.” Occasionally this dynamic favors independent media sources and grassroots activists. For example the Republican sex scandals, which drove some evangelicals away from the GOP, erupted when liberal bloggers exposed the private messages of conservative congressmen. More often, though, established media industries and political organizations manage to exploit the dynamics of new media to their advantage, leading to what Charles Taylor calls shallow or “flat” debates about authenticity. The scandal that erupted in the summer of 2010 surrounding the firing of USDA official Shirley Sherrod exemplifies a trend that began during the 2008 election, as video clips of Rev. Jeremiah Wright circulated between cable news and YouTube. Media coverage of Wright, and subsequently of Sarah Palin

Monday, July 11, 2011

CFP for Australian Journal of Communication Special Issue on Media & Religion

Call for papers

SPECIAL ISSUE
Australian Journal of Communication
Issue 39(1) 2012

Media and religion: The changing landscape

From a situation just a decade ago where it was considered religion had all but disappeared, religion is back as a significant social, political and economic force. This resurgence is more than just traditional institutions flexing their muscles or rejuvenating their media practices - it reflects a significant reworking of religion within the media marketplace. New religious entrepreneurs are using new media effectively to build global audiences with packages of branded religious and secular content that ignore old religious loyalties and sensibilities and cross previously defined boundaries of sacred and secular. Online networking is making possible de-institutionalised and eclectic experimentations with religious and spiritual themes that are producing new hybridisations of religious ideas and practices. Commercial media organisations are also realising the potential market for spiritual and metaphysical themes, and are producing commercial programs and products in competition with religious bodies to capitalise on this significant market. In the process, old frames of institution-based authority and management are giving way to market-defined religion based on charisma, the attraction and maintenance of audiences, the management of brand, and offering competitive material of consumer value - ideology, images, solutions and products. This special issue will examine this convergent media-religious-cultural landscape and contributions are sought that explore aspects or present research that maps the terrain.

Final date for submission of full papers 31 OCTOBER 2011

Send abstracts, any enquiries and completed submissions to the Special Issue Editor:
Professor Peter Horsfield
School of Media and Communication
RMIT University
GPO Box 2476V
Melbourne Vic 3001 Australia
peter.horsfield@rmit.edu.au

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CFP for Conference Workshop--RELIGION IN CYBERSPACE 2011

RELIGION IN CYBERSPACE 2011

Call for Papers

You are cordially invited to participate in the workshop 'Religion in Cyberspace 2011' which will take place at the 9th international conference Cyberspace 2011 held in Brno, Czech Republic, 25-26 November 2011.

Illustrative topics
- religious normative frameworks in cyberspace, networking diasporas,
- religious collaborative environments, on-line counseling, on-line
- fatwas and cyber muftis, new religious movements, religious discourses
- in cyberspace, methodology of online-religion research, rituals in cyberspace etc.

Note: Authors of accepted papers will be invited to submit their papers for peer review to Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology (MUJLT).

Important dates
Abstract submission deadline: 31 July 2011
Notice on acceptance deadline: 31 August 2011
Full papers deadline: 31 December 2011

Abstract formal requirements
Range: max. 1.500 characters incl. spaces
Submission: on-line at http://www.cyberspace.muni.cz/

Vit Sisler,Workshop Chair
Charles University in Prague
Faculty of Arts & Philosophy

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Call for Chapters for Collection on “Finding Religion in Digital Gaming”

Chapters are being sought for an edited volume, which seeks to map the study of religion in relation to digital games and gaming environments. The book will focus on how video games can be read as religious texts, rituals or experiences, as well as investigations of religious narratives/themes employed in video games and the implications of video games created for religious markets. This book will fill an important gap in the field of game studies by providing an overview of current work in the study of religion and digital gaming, and highlight key questions emerging within this area of inquiry.

Chapters in this collection should explore issues in one of the following areas:

(1) Analysis of dominant narratives, characterizations or symbols appearing in religiously-themed games and their implications for our understanding of religious community, identity and/or authority.

(2) Investigation of the extent to which popular, mainstream games rely on religious strategies, narratives and rituals in game play and implication this has for gamers and the gaming enterprise.

(3) Critical reflection on the ways digital games and virtual world gaming environments facilitate religious-like ritual or encourage forms of implicit religion (by which secular activities, such as gaming, take on a sacred role or meaning for individuals) amongst players and gaming communities.

Chapters should also respond in some way to the book’s central research question: How do video/digital games inform or reform our understanding of religion within digital and gaming culture?

This book is aimed at Indiana University Press’s new Digital Gaming Series and is edited by Heidi Campbell, Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University and Gregory Grieve, Associate Professor of Religion at University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Prospective contributors are invited to submit their initial proposals (500-800 word abstracts) and a biography statement highlighting previous research and writings to the editors by 10 August 2011. Selected authors will be notified by early to mid September 2011. The intent is for invited chapters (of 6000-8000 words) to be submitted to the editors by 15 December 2011. Please send abstracts and any questions to Heidi Campbell (heidic@tamu.edu).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recent Articles on Religion and Internet Worth Reading

While conducting my  my bi-monthly lit review search on religion and the internet  I came across a remarkably diverse and interesting range of articles appearing in the first part of 2011 on topics from African Muslims media usage to Orthodox Women in Israel's negotiation with the Internet. I have added these to my current reading list and thought others might want to check out them out as well:

Jon Abbink (2011) Religion in public spaces: Emerging Muslim–Christian polemics in Ethiopia. Affrican Affairs. 110(439): 253-274.

In Ethiopia, as in other parts of Africa, relations between Christians and Muslims show a new dynamic under the impact of both state policies and global connections. Religious identities are becoming more dominant as people's primary public identity, and more ideological. This development has ramifications for the ‘public sphere’, where identities of a religious nature are currently presented and contested in a self-consciously polemical fashion. This shared space of national political and civic identity may become more ‘fragmented’ and thus lend itself to conflict and ideological battle. This article examines recent developments in the polemics of religion in Ethiopia, and the possible role of the state as custodian (or not) of an overarching civic order beyond religion, as well as the emerging rivalries between communities of faith. A crucial question is what social effects these polemics will have on communal relations and patterns of religious coexistence. Polemics between believers have a long history in Ethiopia, but a new and potentially problematic dynamic has emerged which may challenge mainstream believers, their inter-group social relations, and Ethiopian state policy. Polemics in Ethiopia express hegemonic strategies and claims to power, and are rapidly evolving as an ideological phenomenon expanding in public space. The secular state may need to reassert itself more emphatically so as to contain its own erosion in the face of assertive religious challenges.

Patrick Eisenlohr (2011)  Media authenticity and authority in Mauritius: On the mediality of language in religion. Language & Communication. 31(3): 266-273.

In this article I suggest that the rapidly growing interest in the intersection of linguistic anthropology and media needs to be accompanied by a deeper investigation of the mediality of language. Discussing Mauritian Muslims’ uses of sound reproduction in religious events revolving around the recitation of devotional poetry, this paper explores how language as a medium converges and interacts with media technologies of other kinds. I suggest that the oscillation between a foregrounding of the medium and its phenomenological withdrawal characterizes the functioning of both linguistic mediation and other media technologies and provides a comparative dimension to examine their interplay.


Justin Ferrell (2011) The Divine Online: Civic Organizing, Identity Building, and Internet Fluency Among Different Religious Groups. Journal of Media and Religion. 10(2): 73-90.

The number of religious congregations with Web sites nearly tripled from 1998-2006, and each year another 10,000 congregations launch a Web site (Chaves & Anderson, 2008). Couple this with the fact that 79% of attendees are now in a congregation with a Web site. Scholars of media and religion know very little, however, about the content of these Web sites or what they tell us about the culture of different religious groups. The aim of this article, therefore, is to examine how congregations are constructing Web sites to advertise their identity, organize their followers to get involved in civic and political issues, and provide an interactive space for online participation in actual ministries. Extensive qualitative data were gathered from 600 individual congregation Web sites from nine denominations in 53 different cities across the United States. The results of the descriptive analysis of these data suggest that there is a strong correlation between the “off-line” characteristics of a particular congregation and the “on-line” characteristics of the same congregation. Evangelical congregations tend to have more complex, attractive, and interactive Web sites and fall into the “online religion” camp. Liberal-Protestant and Catholic congregations tend to create static “brochure” style Web sites that emphasize their denominational identity and thus fall into Hadden and Cowan's (2000) “religion online” camp. This study expands our theoretical knowledge about the proliferation of media into, and out of, religious congregations, and offers a broader understanding about how institutions negotiate their online identity in the digital age.

Connie Hill-Smith (2011). Cyberpilgrimage: The (Virtual) Reality of Online Pilgrimage Experience. Religion Compass. 5(6):236-246.


Cyberpilgrimage is the practice of undertaking pilgrimage on the internet. Such pilgrimages may be performed for a host of reasons, ranging from idle curiosity to the need to ready oneself, psychologically or informationally, for a ‘real’ (terrestrial) pilgrimage. For some web-users, these experiences may amount to little more than interesting diversions, mildly intriguing ripples in a sea of information and possibility, to be paused upon and pondered briefly before surfing onward to other things. Depending on individual motivations and circumstances, however, they can be deeply charged, transformative, enlightening and profoundly fulfilling on both emotional and spiritual levels. As new as the internet is, cyberpilgrimage is newer; and it seems clear we are witnessing the birth of one of a number of largely uncharted ways by which people are beginning to experience themselves spiritually on the internet. Such experiences tend to be perceived as more self-mediated and, thus, more individualised, liberated and radical than terrestrial experiences of a similar sort (though this is not necessarily the case). This article is intended to explain what cyberpilgrimage can entail, to survey the input to-date of contemporary scholars to the study of cyberpilgrimage; and to offer insight into some of the major debates and questions it raises, in particular with regard to the authenticity of computer-based ‘experience’.

Azi Lev-On & Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar (2011). A forum of their own: Views about the Internet among ultra-Orthodox Jewish women who browse designated closed fora. First Monday. 4(4)

The paper studies Internet uses and gratifications by ultra-Orthodox women who are members of closed online fora. The fora constitute a unique environment for ultra-Orthodox women, where they can talk amongst themselves anonymously using modern technology, for purposes that may be illegitimate in their community. It was found that the women perceive the Internet as harmful and dangerous to the ultra-Orthodox lifestyle, but as constructive and empowering personally. The paper also studies what relationships women form online and who they discuss their activities with.

Mia Lovheim (2011) Mediatisation of religion: A critical appraisal. Culture and Religion. 12(2): 153-166.

Media as a context for shaping religion in modern society has generally been overlooked in the mainstream sociology of religion. This article discusses the relevance of the thesis of a mediatisation of religion presented by Stig Hjarvard for studying religious transformation in a modern, Western society. Though the theory contributes to sociology of religion through its focus on how the characteristics of modern mass media relate to the processes of secularisation, the narrow approach to religion and to the interplay between modernisation and religion in the thesis so far limits its validity. This article suggests two starting points for the development of a theory to better grasp the implications of mediatisation of religion in the contemporary world; first, an understanding of religion that better acknowledges the complexities of modern religion and second, an understanding of mediatisation that also acknowledges the agency of religious actors to take part in the shaping of media as well as modern society.
Dana M. Janbek (2011) Terrorism in the Age of the Internet: The Case of Muslim Arab Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Journal of Religious & Theological Information. 10(1):5-15.

This study focuses on Muslim Arab extremism online. It specifically looks at the case of Muslim Arab organizations identified by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The use of the Internet to communicate extremist rhetoric is not a new phenomenon nor is it one that is particular to Muslims or Arabs. This study simply focuses on this specific subgroup, partially due to the increased scholarly attention to the topic of terrorism and to the public's heightened interest in the Muslim and the Arab world since 9/11.

CFP for special issue of the New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia on Cultures in virtual worlds

CFP: Cultures in virtual worlds, A special issue of the New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia

Guest-edited by Jeremy Hunsinger and Adrienne Massanari


Virtual worlds (VW) embody cultures, their artefacts, and their praxes; these new and old spaces of imagination and transformation allow humans to interact in spatial dimensions. Within these spaces, culture manifests with the creation, representation, and circulation of meaningful experiences. But virtual worlds are not novel in that regard, nor should we make the mistake to assume that they are novel in themselves. Virtual experiences have been around in some respect for hundreds of years, and virtual worlds based in information technology have existed for at least 40 years. The current generation of virtual worlds, with roots over four decades old in studies of virtual reality, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), sociology, cultural studies, and related topics, provide for rich and occasionally immersive environments where people become enculturated within the world sometimes as richly as the rest of their everyday lives.

We seek research that encounters and investigates cultures in virtual worlds in its plurality and in its richness. To that end, we invite papers covering the breadth of the topic of cultures in and of virtual worlds.  Some possible areas/approaches of inquiry:

1. How culture of virtual worlds affect relationships
2. VW interfaces and culture/s
3. Hidden subcultures/communities in virtual worlds
4. Ages and VW cultures
5. Emic and etic experiences of virtual worlds
6. Producing VW cultures
7. Traditional cultural/critical studies inquiries of VWs
8. Transnational or cosmopolitan cultures in/of VWs

While all forms of scholarship and research are welcome, we prefer theoretically and empirically grounded studies. We seek a Special Issue that exemplifies methodological pluralism and scholarly diversity. The use of visual evidence and representations is also encouraged. We especially seek pieces that investigate virtual worlds that have received little scholarly attention.

Submission guidelines

This special issue is Guest-Edited by Jeremy Hunsinger (Virginia Tech) and Adrienne Massanari (Loyola University Chicago). Queries regarding the Special Issue should be directed to them at jhuns@vt.edu and amassanari@luc.edu. The Guest-Editors welcome contributions from both new researchers and those who are more well-established. Submitted manuscripts will be subject to peer review.

Length of papers will vary as per disciplinary expectations, but we encourage articles of around 7000 words (longer articles may be possible, if warranted). Short discussion papers of around 3000 words on relevant subjects are also welcomed as 'Technical Notes'. Detailed author submission guidelines are available online at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/journal.asp?issn=1361-4568&linktype=44.

Papers must be submitted via the journal’s online submissions system: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tham Please indicate that your submission is for the Special Issue on Culture in Virtual Worlds.

The special issue will be published in summer 2012.

Important dates:
November 11, 2011 Paper submission deadline
February 10, 2012 Author notification
May 5, 2012 Final copy due
Summer 2012 Publication

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Conference on Digital Religion 2012

The Center for Media, Religion, and Culture at the University of Colorado-Boulder has announced an International Conference on Digital Religion, to be held 12-15 January 2012 in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

‘Digital Religion” today includes a myriad of examples: an evangelical mommy blogging community, a Jewish online dating service, a virtual pilgrimage of the Muslim ritual of Hajj, offering Poojas on an online Hindu Temple service, a YouTube series of an ex-Catholic nun, the invention of Kosher phones, playing "Al-Quraysh", a Muslim video game, an Anglican Church on Second Life, or a religious iPhone app like iTalk to God. What is striking about the proliferation of this digital religious culture is not only the creative adoption of new technologies, but also the challenges and possibilities these technologies offer for religious meaning-making in modern society. Both individuals and religious institutions today vigorously appropriate interactive forms of media generating new religious deliberative spaces, religious publics and counterpublics, and competing sources of authority, and collapsing in the process old boundaries of what constitutes the religious realm.


This international conference will bring together scholars of media and religion and producers of digital religion content from a variety of religious traditions to reflect on the implications of these developments. Papers and panels may address, but should not be limited to questions such as:

Theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of digital religion  Relationships between offline and online forms of religious practice The emergence of networked religious communities The cultivation of authority and legitimacy in digital religious spaces Digitization of religion and the implications for scriptural text dissemination and reception  Mediatization of religion in digital spaces  Technological mediation and religious authenticity  Representations of religion in digital platforms  Intersections of religion and the market  Influence on the religious public sphere  questions of mundane, "banal" or "implicit" religion  Digital religious transnationalism  Religious aesthetics and sensations in digital forms  Religions and spiritualities in social networking  Generational and demographic difference and issues

Digital Religion is a conference of the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture. For more information or for the full CFP, contact: Stewart M. Hoover, Director: hoover@colorado.edu, or Nabil Echchaibi, Associate Director: nechchai@gmail.com.