CFP: Media, Religion and In/vulnerability

The Mediating Religion Network ( aims to contribute several sessions to the 2013 Annual Conference of the Centre for Research into Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). This year’s CRESC conference title is "In/vulnerabilities and Social Change: Precarious Lives and Experimental Knowledge". We believe that scholars of religion and media can make a valuable contribution to academic discussion of this important theme.

Abstract Deadline: April 8 2013

Contributions may take historical and/or ethnographic perspectives and may approach the concept of media broadly to include either a direct focus on specific media or a wider theoretical focus on mediation as a problematic of social theory in which religion and its (in)vulnerability to processes of rapid social change is a recurring question.

Specific topics could include:
- Migration, Diaspora and Identities: What kinds of vulnerabilities are religious groups exposed to as a result of migration and living in diaspora? How are media used to strengthen or to weaken diasporic religious identities, networks and practices? How are narratives of blame or trust, prejudice or persecution directed at religious and non-religious groups represented, promoted or contested?
- Transitions across media and public spaces: What kinds of in/vulnerabilities do religious groups experience as they embark on transitions from occupying (often marginalized) diasporic public spheres/spaces into more mainstream public spheres? How do religious ideas and organisations make the transition into the public spotlight following blameworthy allegations of fundamentalism, corruption, sexual abuse and how does this alter understandings or involve risks? Are some religious groups more invulnerable than others in these transitions, and if so, what kind of social and cultural capital is involved in tackling blame and establishing trust?
- Authority and Power: How do print, electronic and digital media strengthen or undermine religious structures of control? How are threats, risks and dangers associated with religion represented and mediated? Who/what is represented as blameworthy or trustworthy?
- Knowledge and Memory: How do religious communities use media to (re)construct their past and future and address issues of risk, blame and trust? How are media used religiously in times of conflict, death and disaster? How do religious and non-religious media reinforce or contest “orthodox” religious knowledge? What forms of experimental knowledge are mobilised by religious groups?

Proposals for papers should include a title, a 200-word abstract and a very brief statement of the applicant’s affiliation and research interests. We would like to keep a focus around issues of blame and trust in our explorations of in/vulnerabilities.

Submissions should be sent to Dr Tim Hutchings (CRESC Research Fellow) at Please feel free to contact Tim or to discuss paper proposals.

Further information:

Mediating Religion is an international network of academics and interested associates working in the area of religion, culture and social change. If you would like to join the network or find out more, visit