Friday, November 16, 2007

AAR looks at New Media and Religion

Hi from the AAR in San Diego!

I just spent 2 days in Chicago at the National Communication Association where I was part of preconference workshop on Communication Ethics. I gave a small piece on the questions" Does new media raise new ethical questions?". In summation I said, No and Yes. On the "no" side I stated to that new media just amplify old ethical questions such as : what does it meant to be human, communicative justice and respecting the other in our research. On the "yes" side I stated that these new technologies as give rise to corollary areas of exploration connected to the aforementioned questions areas such as: the myth of interactivity, networked individualism and the culturing of technology. For more detail... well you'll just have to wait as this present will become the basis of a chapter in my current book project.

Now I am at the AAR preconference on Religion and Media which is focused on New Media and Religion. I gave the opening talk on that brought together 3 research projects and touched on the rise of religion and the internet and religion online research, the question of community online and then gave a report on my recent research on religious authority in blogs. It seemed to go over well and I was also asked some challenging questions in relation to my findings which was great and thought provoking on my part.

Now Tracy Fullerton at USC is presenting on her work as a game designer and the role games have to play in rethinking about new ways of thinking, interaction. She showed us clips from several games including Cloud and flOw. I was especially impressed by the game which started as student project Darfur is Dying which instead of focusing on fightign and resiting, your are diesmpoered and struggle to survive. She also talked about the tendency to explort religious narrative and imagery onto games has been around since the first US produced board game in the 1800s called Mansion of Happiness that gamers sought to make the journey towards happiness. She also showed a variety of religious narrative based games from The Shiva to Bible Fight and Catechmen to show how religion become a platform for gaming thinking.

Will try to post more as the day goes on...