NMRDC helps sponsor ICA Preconference on Media & Religion

Philosophy, Theory and Critique Division of the International Communication Association ICA is sponsoring a preconference at the upcoming meet in Seattle Washington entitle “Media and Religion”: Betwixt and Between. The event is to be held 22 May 2014, 9:00 AM - 5 PM
at the Husky Union Building on the campus of University of Washington.

This preconference bring into conversation a variety of approaches common within the study of media, religion and culture, in order to showcase the diverse perspectives scholars of Communication have taken in the study of this interrelationship. “Media and religion” is a phrase used to describe a growing cross-disciplinary field of research. Communication scholars have noted interesting social and cultural implications of the intersection of media and religion on several levels. Given the complexity of the relationship between media and religion, we advocate moving beyond the simple questions of “How is religion represented in the media?” and “How to religions use media to promote their cause?” to consider broader and deeper theoretical investigations of this evolving interplay. We suggest media may evoke and create a sense of wonder, transcendence, and flow, which in many ways approach experiences often assigned to the religious realm. To put it with Victor Turner’s classical essay on Liminality, religious media events, as well as media as a religious event, call into question simplistic social ontologies by being “betwixt and between” purely religious and purely media contexts.

The goal of the preconference is to spotlight current scholarly methods within media and religion studies in order to highlight key theoretical concepts and problems – both for those working in the field, and for those who wish to gain first-hand insight into this area of Communication research. Through papers, panel presentations and shared conversation amongst participants this event aims is to draw scholarly attention to the relationship between media, religion and culture in its multiple intersections.

The preconference will consist of a morning session featuring two keynote panels of recognized scholars whose work intersects with the field of media and religion. The afternoon will involve two parallel panels of papers selected from abstract submissions, and a closing summary panel. Invited and confirmed speakers/respondents include:

Menachem Blondheim, Hebrew University
Heidi A Campbell, Texas A&M University
Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths University of London
Stig Hjarvard, University of Copenhagen
Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado-Boulder
Elihu Katz, Hebrew University/Annenberg-East
Mia Lovheim, University of Uppsala
Knut Lundby, University of Oslo
Paddy Scannell, University of Michigan
Günter Thomas, Faculty for Protestant Theology-Ruhr-University Bochum

The preconference is supported by generous contributions from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, Routledge and the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies.

It is also supported by the Media and Religion Temporary Working Group of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) and The International Society for Media, Religion, and Culture.

Further details and registration information is found at http://www.icahdq.org/conf/2014/preconferences.asp