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Religion and Media: No Longer a Blindspot in Korean Academia

TitleReligion and Media: No Longer a Blindspot in Korean Academia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPark, JKyu, Cho, K, Han, S
JournalJournal of Korean Religions

In contemporary social life, religion and media cannot be said to be separated. Contrary to the long-lasting understanding that the two are independent from each other, the spheres of religion and media are closely intertwined. Dynamic and increasing connections have been observed and reported by a range of scholars. Indeed, the scholarly interest in the relationship is a fairly recent one. Only thirty years ago, religion was just a blindspot within media studies (Hoover and Venturelli 1996). Similarly, media were an overlooked issue in religious studies. However, the new millennium witnessed a fast-growing attention to the interactions in both fields, demonstrated by two simultaneously released pieces of literature. On the one hand, Journal of Media and Religion was launched in 2002 by a community of media scholars who had investigated the religious dimension of media-related phenomena. In the preface to the inaugural issue, the respected media scholar James Carey noted that ‘‘[N]one of these religious phenomena can be understood without reference to media that organize religious community, transcribe and embed religious belief, and create both collective memory and modern politics’’ (Carey 2002, 3). On the other hand, a year earlier, a group of religion researchers collected twenty-five articles in an edited volume entitled Religion and Media. Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber, the volume’s editors, summarized their efforts as confronting ‘‘the conceptual, analytical, and empirical possibilities and difficulties involved in addressing the complex issue of religion in relation to ‘media,’ that is to say, ancient and modern forms of mediatization such as writing, confession, ritual performance, film, and television, not to mention the ‘new technological media,’ of which the Internet is the most telling example’’ (de Vries and Weber 2001, vii).