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.