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.
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Religion, Media, and Culture Unit
Call for Proposals
The Religion, Media, and Culture Unit invites individual presentations, paper/multimedia research presentation sessions, and roundtable proposals on the following themes:
● The nature of the book: digital books, the material culture of books in the digital age
● Civility, toxicity, and public discourse: how do we theorize, study, and survive toxic media?
● Embedded journalists and "True Believers": theorizing the role of the journalist and the exposé
● Data tracking and surveillance in global perspective: the 2020 US Census, Facebook and Google data collection, etc.
● Media and trauma: theorizing the (re)mediation of trauma, media as traumatizing or retraumatizing. Examples might include reflections on 9/11, the Handmaid's Tale, the #metoo movement, trigger warnings, etc.
● For a possible session dedicating to teaching religion and media: the gamification of teaching; media and mediating religion in the classroom
● Media, migration, immigration, and refugees
● Ethical formation and media
● Techno-Utopias, Techno-Dystopias, and Technophobias
We are interested in ideas relating to the 2020 Presidential theme, “The AAR as a Scholarly Guild," involving institutional and comparative self-reflections on the field of religion and media studies. For example, the question of marginal voices and the RMC canon: what voices are not present in the canon? What is not present in media theory that we need to theorize religion and media? How do our guild practices form (and cement) different conversations and different publics?
We also invite critical reflections on the generations of digital religion and the role of the guild and the subfield in memorializing moments such as the Arab Spring or the promises imagined in the “Twitter Revolution”? How do scholars assess and think about this now?
The unit is also exploring the possibility of a roundtable discussion among panelists invited by a diverse group of units to respond to the 2020 US election. Persons interested in being considered for this panel should contact the unit's co-chairs.
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.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Elonda Clay, Vrije Universiteit, AmsterdamMember Since: 2017
Gregory Grieve, University of North Carolina, GreensboroMember Since: 2015
Margarita Simon Guillory, Boston UniversityMember Since: 2020
Dheepa Sundaram, University of DenverMember Since: 2020
Rachel Wagner, Ithaca CollegeMember Since: 2017
Kayla Renée Wheeler, Grand Valley State UniversityMember Since: 2017