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Religion, Media, and Culture Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Religion, Media, and Culture Unit invites individual presentations, paper/multimedia research presentation sessions, and roundtable proposals on the following themes:


10 Years of God’s Not Dead

We invite pre-arranged panels or papers that mark the 10th anniversary of the American Christian drama series God’s Not Dead, in conversation with other examples of evangelical Christian media productions, and/or other popular culture related to the “Christian persecution complex” whereby evangelicals appropriate “oppression” rhetoric in their condemnation of the liberal university, secular state, public education system, and more.


Religion and Trauma

For a 2022 Vox article, Lexi Pandell proposes an explanation for “how trauma became the word of the decade.” “The very real psychiatric term,” she writes, “has become so omnipresent in pop culture that some experts worry it’s losing its meaning.” We invite papers and pre-arranged panels that address the mediation of religious trauma online, including online survivor communities, religion and the #metoo movement, #igotout, the “ex religion” phenomenon on Twitter/X and TikTok, etc., as well as the growing intrigue in buzzwords like “intergenerational trauma” or “collective trauma.”


Techno-Social Gaming Dynamics

How do video games prompt its players to socialize? In what ways is said gaming sociology dependent on its accompanying technology? We invite pre-arranged panels or papers that investigate the means by which gaming culture is influenced by its “field of play,” the techno-social gaming dynamics made available through arcade amusement gaming centers, home video game consoles, and online competitive play. We welcome submissions that theorize the time spent in digital life, probe the implications of digital ethnography, and/or approach games as spaces of resistance and activism for LGBTQ+, immigrant/diasporic communities, and other politically marginalized groups.


Religion, Media, and the 2024 presidential election

We welcome submissions capable of addressing the concerns of either electoral outcome and/or papers or panels prepared to address religion and media (broadly construed) in the electoral campaigns leading to the election itself.


Theorizing religion and media

We invite pre-arranged panels or papers that engage with theoretical and methodological questions in religion and media studies, including but not limited to:  theorizing digital religion (Is all religion digital now?), digital archives and methods (How do scholars of religion and media do their work?), computational questions in the study of digital religion (e.g., data access, privacy and proprietary concerns), and interdisciplinary analyses of economics and digital media.


Open Call

We welcome any and all proposals that are not specifically mentioned in the call for papers and we are specifically interested in topics and theoretical insights from outside North America. Topics may include:

  • Digital hate, including online forms of Islamophobia and antisemitism
  • Religion in the technosphere, the role of religious language in the development of new technologies, and/or the concept of time in digital life
  • The study of religion and traditional/analog media (photography, print, radio, television, film, etc)


Co-Sponsored with Religion and Popular Culture

What can memes tell us about religions, both digital and otherwise? Fast-moving, polyvocal, and densely referential, memes invite reflection on intertextuality, canonicity, metareferentiality, sincerity, and social authority. We invite papers or prearranged panels that reflect on the role of memes and meme cultures in religious life.


Co-Sponsored with New Religious Movements

We invite prearranged panel and paper proposals that engage questions of digitality in new religious movements, or contrast the origins, practice, and study of digital vs. “traditional” NRMs, or NRMs “online” vs. “offline.“ How does digitality shape new religious movements?


RMC is committed to diversity and inclusivity. Pre-arranged panels should reflect gender and racial/ethnic diversity as well as diversity of field, method, and scholarly rank as appropriate. We strongly prefer papers that include audio/visual media and ask that proposals make use of media clear. We are also particularly interested in session proposals and presentations that break from traditional paper-reading formats. We encourage panels that propose innovative ways to develop collaborative conversation, especially those that allow for timely analysis of current events.



Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting

Cyberhenge Revisited: We welcome paper submissions that discuss the academic impact of Douglas Cowan’s book Cyberhenge: Modern Pagans on the Internet (2004). We use its anniversary as an occasion to reevaluate the culture and digital religious practices of paganism over the last 20 years. This session would occur virtually during the June 2024 Online AAR Conference, with Cowan in attendance as a special honoree/respondent. 

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides a multidisciplinary forum for exploring the intersections between media and religion. Areas of interest include the participation of religion in digital culture, mediation of religion, the interplay between religious and media communities and between religious and media practices, and the significance of both media and religion in the transformation of religious structures and practices.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members