Thursday, October 29, 2009

CFP: Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Spiritualities

The 1st Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Spiritualities was held at the University of Haifa in March, 2009. Topics included spiritual development, contemporary Kabbala, East and West, spirituality in business, spiritual teachers, spirituality in psychotherapy, Shamanism, spirituality in the media, and more. The conference included about 70 presenters from varied fields of study, aroused wide interest, drew 350 participants, and won vast media coverage.

The abundance of varied phenomena which reflect contemporary spiritualities worldwide and especially in Israel, is highly impressive. These phenomena draw increasing academic attention by a large number of researchers from various disciplines including, Religious studies, Philosophy, Judaism, Anthropology, Psychology, Social work, Sociology, and Political sciences.
A comparative and interdisciplinary consideration of the different facets of contemporary spiritualities can contribute to the understanding of these phenomena. This is the rationale for the 2nd Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Spiritualities. We invite researchers and graduate students from different disciplines to submit proposals for papers or panels. The conference will include lectures both in Hebrew and in English.

Proposals for lectures should include: Name, academic status (Graduate Student, Assistant professor, etc.), academic institution (or a different affiliation), E-mail address, abstract (350-500 words) and a list of 10 references.

Proposals for Panels should include: Name, academic affiliation, 3-4 abstracts of lectures according to the format above, panel's rationale (50-100 words) and a proposed chair

Deadline for Submissions November 20, 2009 . Responses will be sent via E-mail until January 10, 2010. Send submissions via Email to: for Pninit Russo-Netzer, Conference Coordinator. Address inquiries to this email too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cyberspirituality and the Spirit of Things

According to Rachel Kohn from Australian ABC radio, "Spiritual surfing on the internet is bigger than Ben Hur and it's changing the way religion is created, delivered and experienced". Kohn on her weekly radio show The Spirit of Things explores Cyberspirituality with yours truly and
Julie Hamilton founder and editor-in-chief of Omigoddess!. In our interview we explored debates over the authenticity of religious community online and case studies from my forthcoming book about the similarities and difference in Jewish, Muslim and Christian uses of the internet. Let me know what you think about my observations.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WWJMB or What would Jesus Micro-Blog?

In recent discussions of religion in a Web 2.0 era (a term which btw gets my knickers in a twist, but that's another blog post...) speculations has been raised about the impact of Facebook and Twitters as modes of spreading religious content. In Finding religious community online in a Web 2.0 era journalist Joshunda Sanders for the Austin Statesman suggests that the current generation of Social media are becoming important tools for publicize church events to broader audiences and helping solidify prayer support. While interesting individual examples can be found I do wonder what the long range impact of these technologies, esp. on religious cultures. Microblogging has become a much talked about phenomenon and framed as a potential new news medium. However a recent study from professors at Rutgers have found that tweeting is really "all about me". Their analysis of Twitter found 80% of users we "me-formers", and rather than sharing information were all about providing personal status update. This is further fodder that the Internet is contributing to rise in networked individualism. I wonder if this trend is also mirrored among religious microbloggers. Interestingly Sanders also recently blogged about a study from professors at Gordon College that found Facebook might be bad for young Christians in that the compulsive me focus of Facebook might be a distraction to religious discipline. Interesting thoughts.

If there are others out there researching these issues let me know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christian Century: Navigating New Media

I just got a head's up via Stewart Hoover FB status that The Christian Century published an article last month on: Navigating the new media. The article focuses on reflecting on the impact of new media on the production and circulation of news with some notable opinions shared by Mark Silk, Martin Marty and Stephen Prothero whose book American Jesus I recently read and found very provocative. I encourage you to check it out.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

An evening with Heidi Campbell in OZ

I am taking a little trip across the pond, as it were, to Australia for the weekend to visit friends and colleagues. In honor of my first visit to OZ my mate Paul Teusner has organized a get together in Melbourne and I hear there is still space at the table so to speak if you are interested (but he needs to know by Friday). Below is what he wrote in the official invites he sent out:

Dr Campbell is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University and one of the world's leading scholars in religion and online media. Her research has taken her from inner urban life in Glasgow through mainstream churches in Auckland to where religion, history and politics collide in Israel. Heidi's teaching and research centres on the social shaping of technology,rhetoric of new media, and themes related to the intersection of media, religion and culture, with a special interest in the internet and mobil ephones. She has written a book Exploring Religious Community Online: We are one in the network looking at how members of online religious communities connect their online and offline social-religious networks.

Her current research is an investigation of Jewish, Muslim & Christian communities 'historic perceptions and contemporary use of media technologies, forthcoming as a text When Religion Meets New Media.For those who have any interest in how online technology is shaping how people are seeing and interacting with the world, or want to know how creative uses of new technologies are making new opportunities for people to connect, grow and learn, this is a chance to have questions explored.

Heidi is also keen to hear stories of Australians who have tried out religion on the Internet, whether the experience is good or bad or somewhere in between. Come along and share with her what the 21st century Australian spirit sounds and smells like.

Date: Monday 12 October 2009. 7pm.

Venue: Pireaus Blues Restaurant, 310 Brunswick St Fitzroy (Melbourne).Sit-down dinner, a la carte (Main prices from $15 to $30).

RSVP: Friday 9 October to

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Religion and New Media Google Group

I was just invited to join a Religion and New Media Google Group a few days ago. I encourage you to check it out this endeavor to create an international group for the study of religion and new media. There was a plug today on it for my blog and even a link to info on my forthcoming book, for which this blog was named, that I myself did not know about yet.