Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Blog 5- Considering the Relationship between Online & Offline Authority in Shaping Meme Messages

This week in class we are looking at understandings of religious authority within digital culture. We discussed Bruce Lincoln’s approach to authority, which he defines as  an “effect of a posited, perceived or institutionally ascribed asymmetry between speaker and audience that permits certain speakers to command not just the attention but the confidence, respect, and trust of their audience,- or an important proviso- to make audiences act as if this were so.” (Lincoln, 1994, p. 4) This draws us to look at how religious authority is created through distinctive relationships between religious leaders and community members. This authoritative relationship is based on the leader’s ability to cultivate and maintain trust and respect with their congregation or community, which provides them with a platform for influence.

In this week’s blog you are being asked to reflect on how your collection of memes speaks to issues of religious authority. In other words you are being asked to consider how the specific religious issues/actors/community you are studying are presented and in what ways religious authority are being undermined or affirmed through your sample. 

Please respond to the following questions;

In light of Aguilar’s work describe in detail which Internet meme GENRES AND religion FRAMES are evidenced in your sample?  

What specific religious issues/actors/community are being undermined or affirmed? What does this tell us about how the authority of this religious group is being interpreted? (Provide concrete evidence to support these claims)

How might aspects of religious authority discussed in this week’s readings and in the class lecture, inform the way someone would read your collection religious internet memes or understand the influence their messages may have within digital culture?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blog 4-Comparing Perceptions of Religion Online and Offline

This week in class we are exploring the theme of community in digital culture. Specifically we have discussed the ways in which religious communities has been presented and acts online, and considering that extent these expressions differ from offline religious communities. Exploring the relationship between offline and online community is very important when considering how religion is framed and read through internet memes. We need to consider if the messages communicated about religious beliefs and practices expressed in these memes correspond to the traditional understandings of the religious community’s from which they emerge.  Or, could it be that the message meanings and humor in these memes emerge from outsider perceptions of these religious groups or personal interpretation of religious practice that might be considered unorthodox within their given community?

This week you are asked to consider how the framing of specific religious practices, values or actors observed in your meme collection correspond to the broader religious community and tradition from which they emerge.  In your blog carefully restate your case study topic focus. Then provide an overview of the key messages about the issue, symbols or actions that you are study that are being communicate. Using the two new memes you have collected for this week illustrate in detail to common assumption, typecasts or labels that emerge under these themes.

Then respond to the following questions:

-In what ways do these message and representations match or conflict with the official beliefs/rituals/understanding of the religious community you are studying?

-How does the scholarly article you read this week substantiate your claims above?

-What seems to be the popular assumptions or stereotypes about this religious group that are being promoted through your memes?  In what ways do you find this interesting and/or problematic?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blog 3- Reflection on Presentations of Religious Identity in Internet Memes

This week we are exploring how religious identity is presented and negotiated in digital culture.  In the class lecture we discussed identity as process where an individual develops capacity to grasp meaning about themselves and their position in everyday life. Online identities refers to the strategies individuals use to present their self-reflection in the digital environment by drawing on a variety of selected content, images,  symbols  to visualize their identity.  Religious identity focuses on how individual understand their relationship to a given religious or spiritual context and seek to express this in visual and verbal ways.

In this week’s blog you are asked to reflect on how the memes you are studying represent the religious identity of the specific group you are studying.  Attentions should be paid to the images, symbols and dominant ideas that are spotlighted in these memes and how these highlight certain dominant characteristics or assumptions of this religious community.

Please respond to ONE of the following questions:

-What are the common and prominent images or symbols highlighted in these meme that are highlight as key markers of this religious group?


-Are there certain ideas that are accentuated in these memes that speak to the perceived beliefs of this community?


After you share your observations, please answer BOTH of the following questions:

-Why do you think these are highlighted in these memes? What messages are being communicated by the ways these are presented?

-How do your observations relate to claims about how religious identity is presented and negotiated in digital culture as express in the class lecture and readings this week?

Happy blogging!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blog 2-Considering how memes present features of religion

In you second blog post you are being asked to focus your attention and offer some initial reflections on how the specific religious group you are studying is being framed by the memes you have chosen to analyze.  Your analysis should come from a sample of 4 memes, the two you identified in your initial post and two new ones selected this week and posted below.

In blog two, begin by offering a 2-3 sentence description of the strategy you are using to select memes for study?  Where are you gathering these memes from?  What criteria are you using for selection?  How do these kinds of memes help you address your specific research theme ?
Nest turn your attention to our class discussion regarding  the three key characteristics of religion we are focusing on. As previously stated we see religion as (1) based on a specific notion of transcendence or the divine, (2) this creates a set of myths that establish key truths or belief they seek to live by, and (3) these beliefs are lived out through a set of connected cultural practices also described as rituals.  This week you are asked to describe what messages about notions of transcendence, beliefs and practice are featured in your memes. 
Your analysis should address at least 3 following questions.
- What seems to be the central understanding of this religion or where to members seem to derive their meaning?  
- What messages do your memes communicate about the belief system  you are studying?
-Which specific beliefs and/or practices are highlighted?
-Why do you think these are being emphasized?
-What kind of humor is used in these memes and how does that influence the framing of religion in your memes?

After sharing your detailed response to these questions please sum up your analysis of how religion  you see is being presented in your case study in general in one or two sentences.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Blogging About Memes in COMM 480-Fall 2017

In the Fall 2017 Religious Communication class we will spending the second half of the semester exploring the topic of Tolerance and Incivility in Religious Internet Memes. Each student will engage in an independent research study on how a specific religious tradition (outside their own) is portrayed through a set of Internet memes. This is done order to analyze how religion may be presented and framed within digital culture.

As part of this assignment each student will set up an individual blog focused on their particular case study.  Students are expected to post at least once a week from weeks 7-11. This is a pass/fail assignment. Posts should be at least 300 words in length, link to assigned question and course readings, highlight concrete examples with hyperlinks. All posts are due by noon on Friday of the corresponding week to receive full credit.

Your first blog post should clearly identify and describe your chosen case study related to topic of Tolerance and Incivility in Religious Internet Memes. It should state which religious tradition you will explore and what assumptions about this religion you want to focus on. Please explain your rationale for selecting this case study topic and what issues of religious understanding/stereotypes you wish to explore through this study.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Atheist Meme Base: Summary Meme

For this entry, I will be sharing a meme I have created that generally summarizes the messages and ideas presented by the meme sample and community I have been studying.

As stated in my first entry, I have noticed that the Atheist Meme Base community of Facebook regularly uses science to debunk or highlight contradictions in the Christian faith and in the Bible. I later narrowed my sample group down to memes that either pointed to contradictions in the Christian faith (in the Bible or in lived religion) or that use science to dispute Christian beliefs. I created this meme because it references the idea that Christianity ignores logic and science, which leads to it often contradicting these two areas. My meme also uses the forms of referential and phatic communication seen in my meme sample to provoke communication within their community and the outside world (basically, with any and all readers of the memes). This summary meme also highlights the irony of contradiction and uses this incongruity to create humor as demonstrated by the memes displayed by the Atheist Meme Base community.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Final Meme Blog: Reading Religion in Memes

For your final meme blog you are tasked with two reflections.

First you are asked to create a meme that summarize your key findings related to what messages and ideas about religion your study of  Internet memes has revealed. Your meme should express in a succinct how your specific case study frames popular understandings about religion or the specific religious community under study.  You should post your meme and then offer a 150-200 word explanation of what your summary meme seeks to express.

Second you are asked to compare your findings with one or two similar case studies from among your classmates to reflect on to what extent your findings echo or contrast their own and why you think this is so. This portion of the post should be 100-200 words and provide concrete examples/explanations to back up your claims.

Happy Blogging!