Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Networked Religion Through Devotional Twitters

My case study looked at daily devotions on Twitter. I wanted to learn what types of tweets were best received by the followers of the account for Our Daily Bread. In terms of Networked Religion, devotions on Twitter can be classified as Storied Identity. "The social sphere offers individuals various resources and meanings from which they can select, assemble, and present a sense of self" (Campbell, 2011, pg. 8). Our Daily bread offers a variety of tweets that cater to all of their followers. Followers choose which devotion best suits their life, and respond and react to those tweets; followers gain a sense of identity through the tweets they choose. Storied identity offers new possibilities for assembling a religious identity for those lacking opportunities offline. Interactions between Our Daily Bread and the account's followers not only provide a spiritual message, but also create a religious identity. As mentioned previously, Our Daily Bread provides a variety of tweets spanning from a broadcast type tweet to a more personal level tweet; "Here the self may be assembled through a variety of different resources that create a distinctive narrative" (Campbell, 2011, pg. 8). Followers are given the chance to not only live their religion online, but also create a religious identity. Storied identity is constructed and performed online and encourages a malleable self-presentation. The account's interactions with followers, most importantly the tweets they send out daily, have proven to be an influential performance of religion. The findings from this research proved that Twitter is a popular place for religion, and that it is being used for different meanings. The devotional Twitter accounts allow followers to express their religious views to their own followers, but even more so,use the religion to get through their own lives. Provided is an example of the various types of tweets I observed during the case study research; tweets included scripture based devotions, broadcast devotionals, and short inspirational messages (which proved to be the most effective and well received).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Storied Identity in Instagram

My case study was about the use of the hashtag, “blessed” on Instagram. This study was aimed at looking at the ways that individuals are expressing lived religion in their lives and whether or not they intended for religious meaning or secular meaning to be drawn from the ways they were posting. This case study revealed a heavy emphasis on “storied identity”, which Campbell identifies as acknowledging “that while identity construction is a process lived out online and offline and mirrors the understanding that while people often play with multiple identities, there is still often a push to unify them.” (Pg. 11). This shows that people have multiple aspects of their identities that can be very unique from each other. However, storied identity says that these forms of identity can be melded together to make the whole identity of the individual.  The people that I studied were using social media to construct an image of themselves through the picture and words that they posted. While one post can only reveal one part of the person’s identity, a lot can be gathered about what they think about certain things as well as what they value from one post. For example, one user posted “blessed” as well as the terms “cleaning” and “offday”. Through this, different parts of this man’s identity are revealed. He values the time off he has from his job, and enjoys the accomplishment that cleaning brings. These two terms add to his feeling of being blessed. However, that is only my interpretation of the post. Others could analyze it in a different way, which adds to the idea that use religious words, such as blessed, in a fluid way. They can mean that they feel happy or they can mean that they actually feel blessed. The bottom line is lived religion is growing through the various ways that a person can now express themselves.

Campbell, H. A. (2012). Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society. Journal Of The American Academy Of Religion, 80(1), 64-93.

Networked Religion, Non-Denominational Churches, and Facebook

My case study looked at how non-denominational Christian churches used Facebook to spread their interpretation of the Christian message to their members and followers. I wanted to see how Facebook was used to spread these messages as well as how members responded to the Facebook posts. Non-denominational churches are very big into allowing their members to make their own interpretations of the message by allowing them the freedoms that are not offered to them through traditional christian churches.
       In lecture, we learned that "Networked religion represents a loosening or re-presentation of traditional boundaries of religious communities to reflect more dynamic and fluid forms of affiliation and practice". The way these non-denominational churches use their Facebook page reflect this idea in several ways.One way that these churches do this is they include their interpretation or what they believe the take away message from different media content about Christianity with their posts. This not only provides the traditional message, but it also offers these church's re-presentation of the content that is being presented so that followers can understand that their is different interpretations of the traditional content, and they are able to make their interpretations as well.
     Another aspect of Networked Religion that these non-denominational churches portray is that of Multi-site Reality or embedded online to offline connections. One church in particular that I observed was Riverpointe Church of Richmond, TX. This church uses media content to portray their message very often, and everything that they include in their sermon, they also post online in case some members were unable to make it to church on Sunday. This not only includes different youtube videos that they have either made themselves or have found online, but this also includes podcasts of the sermon that was presented that Sunday. This brings the sermon found offline at church on Sunday online for those members that may have been out of town that weekend or just weren't able to make it in time for the offline sermon.
    Another aspect of Networked Religion that these non-denominational churches have used is that of a Networked community, or loosely bounded social networks. This can be seen through the use of hashtags that encourage members to participate and discuss particular content that is posted, and allows these members to share their voice with each other. Through these hashtags, members are talking directly to each other, but they are still very loosely connected through the one linked hashtag. When you click on the hashtagged message, you are able to see all of the different messages that have been posted by members based off of the one message that was posted originally by the church.
       Facebook is one of the top social media sites for a reason, and these non-denominational churches have taken advantage of this in several ways. They have brought their message from offline to online, and have allowed members to connect with each other as well as with other christians by allowing them to share their own interpretations of the message posted by the church. This is only one way these churches have been using social media to communicate and build a network within their religion, and has technology continues to grow and evolve, I believe it is only a matter of time before we start seeing certain churches that operate solely online.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Networked religion: Storied Identities on Pinterest

Throughout this semester I have studied how religion is lived out through media. Specifically I have conducted a case study to answer the research question, “How Muslim women are utilizing the images on Pinterest to alter preexisting stereotypes about women within the Islamic religion”.

Muslim women have utilized the characteristic of networked religion termed as “storied identities” Campbell (2011). Campbell wrote, “Anthony Giddens (1991) argues that identity is a highly malleable form, rather than something that is fixed and simply accepted or rejected.” (p. 4) Much of the western society has created a “fixed” notion of the identity of a Muslim woman. The western perception of a Muslim woman is exactly what Muslim pinners have sought to alter. In a generalized sense, westerners tend to categorize Muslim women in three common misconceptions; one, Muslim women are forced to dress modestly and it is physically unattractive; Two, that Muslim women are oppressed and forced into the Islam faith; And finally, the mentality that Muslim women are incapable of participating in activities that non-Muslim women are. One specific example is the pin I previously analyzed of an image of three young women holding up poster boards that read, “Islam is my liberation, my source of empowerment, my equality.  So we won’t be needing any of that ‘white non-muslim-women-saving-muslim-women-from- muslim- men crap.’ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/131237776614566315/  Simple and straight forward, this is an example of how Muslim women are trying to collaboratively create their “true” identity while simultaneously counteracting preexisting ones. Using Pinterest as a medium, Muslim women have rejected these negative stereotypes and through their pins have attempted to re-mold their perceived identity. It is evident that Pinterest can be utilized as a tool for Muslim women to “select, assemble, and present a sense of self” (Campbell, p. 8) It is also evident that Pinterest is being used as a self-identity reconstruction tool by Muslim women, directed toward non-Muslims.

Networked Religion in Advocacy Groups

In my case study involving how Facebook Advocacy Groups use narratives such as comments in the form of posts to show spirituality, there was a distinct sub group of Networked Religion. Within the research of the case study I was able to see Networked Community within the sub group of Support and Prayer. This sub group was one that showed narratives of positivity and support within subjects such as needed prayer and dead. A particular group Christians for Christian was an Advocacy Group that followed the journey of a young boy diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The group and its followers were emotionally invested in the boy’s story, progress, and eventually death. When the young boy passed there were several posts offering condolences and prayers to the family of Christian.When talking about Networked Community you look at social media sites that can offer loosely-bound community. In a sense this group became a supportive community themselves, investing their time, words, and love to a family in a time of need. The comments seemed as though they were coming from a personal loss rather than just a loss of a boy whom they had never met in the real world. These types of Advocacy groups show that even when there are no person to person interactions there can still be a type of emotional community connection within the group.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Facebook and Networked Community

For my case study I chose to answer the following question, “When using Facebook, what strategies or trends work best when trying to frame the Christian faith on a social media platform and promote its core beliefs and values?” During my research, one of the strategies that the three Christian pages I chose to study employed was the establishment of online communities in order to more easily evangelize and promote their core values and beliefs. After reading the networked religion article I began to understand why this trend was taking place.
One of the characteristics of networked religion fits in nicely with the findings of this case study. The concept of networked community works because the establishment of community is a trend that has been repeated throughout this study. A key component to networked community is that religious practice emerges within a distinctive social sphere constructed of networked interactions. Networked community is characterized by loose social networks with varying degrees of commitment. This commitment could range from only participating in the online community to using the online community as a supplement to their church home. This case study showed examples of networked community because the pages’ followers sought to establish these loose social networks by interacting with their fellow Facebookers. This was illustrated through the prayer requests, narratives, and responses that were typical of these Facebook pages.

The picture above is a prime example of networked community because a prayer request was made and the page’s creator as well as other followers responded to it. Prayer or intercession is typically reserved for those who are trusted or for someone you identify with. So the fact that she was able to ask for it on a public site such as this one just goes to show the shared identity and trust that has been established on these Facebook pages. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lived Religion in Memes

My case study was studying the question: how does Catholic Memes expresses lived religion through language and narratives and what is the purpose of reinterpreting these memes in a Catholic context? I observed the memes from the Catholic Memes website and looked at how they changed the usual narrative of the meme to fit a Catholic connotation.
The characteristic of networked religion most clearly seen in this case study is that of convergent practice, which is combining traditional religious rituals with outside sources to create a new form of spiritual practice. Catholic Memes uses convergent practice to mix “institutional religion with forms of popular piety, combining the sacred and the profane into personal forms of religious expression” (Campbell, 2011, pg 15). By taking a popular meme platform and combining it with a Catholic message, Catholic Memes is creating a new expression of lived religion and a new reinterpretation of social media to express faith. “Convergent practice highlights that the internet offers a tool box of new possibilities for religious expression and connectedness that enhance individuals’ religious lifestlyes…” (Campbell, 2011, pg. 16-17).
 For example, taking the bear from the meme Confession Bear and placing him in the confessional from the TV show The Simpsons with the priest checking his watch illustrates that even Confession Bear goes to confession, and since his meme is so popular, it would probably take a while! Combining a popular TV show, a known meme character, and the Catholic sacrament of confession, a humorous narrative is created and put forth to be enjoyed by the community
Another example of this is taking the popular meme platform of the "Hey Girl" Ryan Gosling meme and having him suggest reading a Catholic teaching on love and marriage. By combining the idea that Ryan Gosling is the perfect man that the "Hey Girl" memes portray and editing it to fit a Catholic image the meme has now been transformed into that of the perfect Catholic man and is now a sign of religious expression.

Networked Religion--Twitter and Catholicism

My case study focused on lived religion within the realm of Twitter. The research question for this study was what is the role of religious narratives created on Twitter by Catholics?

The trait of networked religion that is seen most clearly in this study is storied identities. The concept of storied identities states that identity is enacted through personal process of self-identification and negotiation online. Twitter has provided an opportunity for Catholics to express their belief and faith online. This leads to highly personalized religion. This is seen most clearly in a tweet by Ennie Hickman that reads, “When we fail, God doesn’t call us out. He calls us to supper.” This tweet contains no doctrine of explicit theology from Catholicism. It is simply a personal reflection on the love and acceptance of God. This belief that Ennie is expressing contributes to his own Catholic identity. He sees God as forgiving and accepting. Through the religious narratives created on Twitter, Catholics are able to personalize their faith and more readily apply their religion to their own lives. Twitter has become a space for Catholics to express ideas and broadcast sundry interpretations and reflections on religion. Within this Twitter realm, Catholic identity is being shaped and enhanced in individuals. Twitter provides a space for the processing and negotiation of religious ideas. In order to compose tweets containing religious content, Twitter users must first reflect on their own religious beliefs and faith. They can choose what to say in their Tweets, and they can also choose which users they will follow. They can both compose religious tweets and read religious tweets of other Twitter users. Through this process of participating in religious discussion and communication on Twitter, these individuals create and reshape their own identities that begin in Catholicism in the real world. Their Catholic identity that was likely grown and shaped within a Catholic church is enhanced and possibly negotiated through the process of living out religion on Twitter.

Christianity && Instagram

My case study is exploring the answer to the following question: how do Christians create or act out religion in their daily lives in the context of Instagram through the use of symbols and images measured by examination of their posts and how others respond to them? More simply, it is observing how Christians use Instagram as a platform to act out their spirituality. 

This case study observing networked religion on Instagram demonstrates the characteristic of networked community.  It illustrates the apparent shift that has taken place from a very tightly bounded community found offline to a community online with looser boundaries and “various levels of religious affiliation and commitment” (Campbell, 2011, p. 6). This is demonstrated in the level of interaction that Instagram users have with certain posts reflected religious ideals. Followers can simply “like” a post, write comments and engage in conversation, or they can post their own and initiate conversation and interaction with their followers. The level of depth and involvement with religion through Instagram is up to the user, “fluid and highly personalized” (Campbell, 2011, p. 8). 

An example from my case study is found in a post by the user jesuscalling. This user posts a daily devotional from a book called Jesus Calling. As can also be seen in the photo (posted below), this post received 819 likes. Beneath the photo, users comment with words of encouragement and gratitude to the user for posting. Also in the comments, users tag other users thus furthering the number of users that see this photo, increasing the web of believers that are interacting through this post. The user gets to decide how much they want to commit to this post and, by default, associating with Christianity. A user does not have to follow Jesus Calling, like the post, comment on it, or tag others to see it. It is up to them how much involvement they want to have. 

My case study proves that Christianity online is connected to offline Christianity as followers practice the same traditional rituals but modify them to fit the context of social media. Users are still forming and  engaging in community, but they get to choose how much and what that looks like specifically for them. This concept of networked community supplies a framework for revealing the function of community in an offline and online context, especially within today’s technology-savvy society. People are no longer simply participating in and committing to one bound religious community but are living in dynamic networks of communities that they form and interact with to fit their personal religious needs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Twitter and Convergent Practice

                  For my case study, I chose to answer the question, “How do prominent Christian authors construct their tweets in order to effectively evangelize to their online Twitter audience?” In my findings, I realized that most Christian authors are effective in evangelizing through their tweets, however the ways in which they choose to construct their tweets vary from tweeting direct Bible verses to sharing encouraging interpretive messages to asking thought-provoking religious questions. Overall, however, each author positively influenced their Twitter followers in that most tweets had over 100 re-tweets.
                  In relation to the concept of networked religion—a term illustrated in Dr. Heidi Campbell’s article Understanding the Relationship Between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society—the tweeting of religious messages online by Christian authors portrays the trait of “convergent practice” (2011, p. 13). Convergent practice is a form of networked religion that “allows and even encourages users to draw from traditional and new sources simultaneously” (Campbell, 2011, p. 13). Furthermore, it takes “traditional religious ritual[s]” and “adapt[s] [them] to fit within the technological structures and constraints of the Internet” (Campbell, 2011, p. 13).
                  This concept is most definitely seen in the tweeting of religious messages online in that tweeters—in this case, Christian authors—must take messages from their books, as well as the Bible, and converge them to fit within the 140 characters allowed by Twitter. For instance, in Jerry Jenkins book entitled I Saul, Jenkins writes about the life of a man who rejected and persecuted Christ, encountered a transformation, and became one of Christ’s disciples. To demonstrate this message through a concise tweet, Jenkins writes “Murder. Forgiveness. Redemption. Grace. #ISaul” (see Image 1). This tweet captures the premise of Jenkins’ book while also delivering a message of grace and redemption given through Christ. Jenkins takes the message portrayed through a traditional form of evangelism, book writing, and converges that message with the online medium of tweeting. This convergence with a form of modern-day interaction allows Jenkins to deliver his religious message to an audience that perhaps would not have the time or patience to purchase and read his 400-page book. Jenkins is not the only author or person using the online network to practice his religious beliefs, but this form of networked religion is instead seen through the tweets of many religious authors, pastors, and leaders today.

Campbell, H. (2011). Understanding the relationship between religion online and offline in a networked society. American Academy of Religion80(1), 64-93. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.lib-ezproxy.tamu.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3da7adf7-b86d-4870-af30-47983a195363@sessionmgr12&vid=2&hid=19
Image 1

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Twitter and Shifting Authority

There are five traits of networked religion.  The five are convergent practice: personalized blending of information and rituals; multi-site reality: embedded online-offline connections; networked community: loosely bounded social networks; storied identity: fluid and dynamic identity construction; shifting authority: simultaneous empowerment and challenge of authority (Networked Society).  
My case study was on the top 10 Christian leaders (Church Leaders).  I asked questions like: do the top 10 Christian leaders all tweet on the same topic?  Do they all tweet the same amount?  Are they all trying to tweet to a certain audience?  I believe that shifting authority best represents my case study.  Shifting authority focuses on the rise of new religious gatekeepers, spokespeople and authority structures online.  Twitter allows anyone to be a religious tweeter and to have authority online.  Shifting authority also says leaders seek to solidify their position in new sources like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest to legitimize and influence.  Twitter is a place that many people can put their beliefs about Christianity, or their religion online.   I think the best example of this is a tweet from Terry Storch on September 24th.  Storch tweeted, “The people you comfort determine the level of excellence you achieve.”@leadershipfreak - Removing the Lid on Your Org attached was a link to a lid.  Terry Storch is not very well known but is a top Twitter leader.  Like shifting authority says, Twitter can help bring a new religious gatekeeper.  Twitter can provide a place for people to tweet 140 characters to influence or legitimize people on their beliefs.  
Campbell, Heidi.  ( November 9, 2011).  Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society.  Oxford Journal.  Retrieved: November 18, 2013.  

Church Leaders.com Top 100 Christian Leaders to Follow on Twitter.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Network Religion

Within religion being online, there are some traits called Network Religion that can be identified on every platform and every environment that the internet has provided for this religion to act on. For my study of prayer on Facebook there is one of the traits from Network Religion that really sticks out to me and that is Network Community. The Network Community is the 'idea of network religion... emerges within a distinctive social sphere constructed of networked interactions" and it forms an online community (Campbell, p. 5). This trait has the idea around it that members of a certain platform or website can come together to create an online community being involved and getting to know other people. Though it can go deeper to see how people function offline as well, but my study does not go as deep as that does. My study looking at people all over the world coming together online, I have no way to prove how it can affect them offline. We can see though that the loose social boundaries set up on both of my sites allow anyone to join the group as long as they follow the rules that are set up by the director of the page. Even though the site itself is has loose boundaries, people have made the site fit their needs and they have give a few rules to play by so the community if formed around a few basic rules. An example from my case study that I have been looking into is that when people post on the wall, non are left unlike or uncommented upon. They have been a support group for anyone who has posted on the wall. The people who also post feel open enough to give updates and reports on how their prayer request is turning out. The community of back and forth conversation is encouraging to people who see the post and want to feel welcomed into the group as well.
Storied Identity is another trait that I can see being played out in the group. It is not as strong, but people that post on this Facebook pages are finding who they are and finding themselves in a group that has supporters for them. People that feel alone need someone to talk to and the group being open to anyone posting about anything needing prayer, you can see that a person could find themselves at peace, togetherness and in some senses a family. This are just a few traits that are brought up in the Network Religion, and we could probably find a little of each of the 5 network religion theories in every platform. But Network Community and Storied Identity is two of the strongest ones that I can tell from my observations.   

Friday, October 4, 2013

Focusing Observations and Looking for Trends in Lived Religion Online

In week 7 you are asked to identity and describe three more concrete examples of how religion is discussed and framed in your social media case study. Please describe these examples in detail and provide relevant links or image illustrations. Besides providing this description you should comparing and contrasting this week’s examples in relation to the observations and trends you have noted in week 6. Please respond to the following questions:
-          What seems to be the primary message/s about religion each of the examples you have chosen to study communicate?

-          What patterns do you note in relation to how religion and/or religious practice is performed or constructed based on these examples? 

-          How this is similar or different from the observations you noted in last week’s blog?  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Identifying trends in the performance and construction of lived religion online

In week 6 are asked to reflect on six examples of how religion is performed and constructed in the social media platform which is the focus of your case study.  Carefully consider what seem to be the similarities and difference in how religion is discussed, presented and understood in these examples.

- Can you identify some common trends or strategies used to talk about or visualize religion?
- What seem to be the common messages, stories or beliefs promoted or emphasized?
- Are their competing messages or ideas about religion communicated? 

See what trends or patterns you can identify amongst these specific example and then summarize your initial findings about how religion is generated and framed based on these six examples.

Based on this synthesis you should also identify and state your proposed research question or focus for the remainder of the blogging assignment.

What seems to be the key traits of lived religion online your research has uncovered? How do these findings inform and help you to focus your further study of user-generated religion in social media?

Friday, September 20, 2013

More Investigations in Lived Religion in Social Media

In week 5 you are asked to repeat the assigned blogging task, by identifying and

describing three additional example of how religion is lived out online in your chosen case study. This week place close attention not only how the technology of the social media platform may influence how religion is expressed and portrayed, but consider how individual users seem to adapt or personalize these technologies to express their religious beliefs. As you reflect on these three examples consider the following questions:

- How does this particular individual use social media to shape and present their religious beliefs? Is there anything unique in their use of social media? How does it compare to other users of this platform?

- How does the visual elements (i.e. images, site/post design & personalization, use of links) chosen effect the messages about religion communicated?

- What seems to be the central goal or aim of these examples studied? What ideas or understandings of religion do they seem to promote?


Friday, September 13, 2013

Mapping User Generated Religion

In week four you will begin collecting data for your case study investigation of user generated religion in social media. This involves doing online ethnographic research in a specific social media platform in which you will engage in a systematic observation of online practices and messages created and provide a “thick description” of your findings.  This first week of observation will help you to reflect on your chosen case and consider whether you might need to refine your chose topic or further clarify how you have framed and described your case in your proposal. 

Your task this week is to identify and explore three concrete instances of how social media user in your chosen platform perform or construct religion.  For each example you should look at the equivalent of one week or three distinct examples of content.  Through these observations you are being asked to reflect on a series of questions:

-What is unique about the style and form of communication the social media platform you are studying? How might this impact how religion is communicated in this context?

-What options or limits does this technology offer for those seeking to use it to perform or construct religious practices and/or content?

-What seems to be the primary message/s about religion each of the examples you have chosen to study communicate?

Please start your blog post with a 1-2 sentence summary of your chosen case study, and explain if you have made any changes since your initial proposal and why.  Then share you observations and response to the questions listed above.  Have fun and enjoy the process of online exploration.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Studying User Generated Religion

In weeks 3-9 students in COMM 480 will be conducting research online regarding how religion gets performed and/or constructed within various social media platforms.  The aim of this research and its related writing assignment is to teach students to conduct and report on  first-hand online.  Students will focus on a specific social media platform and expression of religion to study the ways digital media can be used to create, express, practice and spread what can be described as "lived religion" online.   Studying lived religion in this assignment means paying special attention to how religion is experienced and practiced online by particular individuals or a specific group.

This week students are asked to create their own research blog and make their first post.  This initial post is a "case study proposal" that outline what topic and context you hope to study.

This post should state:
- what social media platform you will investigate
- what religious context you will study
- why you have selected this particular case (both religious context and platform)
- and propose an initial research focus, discussing how to study the way religion is lived out in this example.

Students should also provide a hyperlink to their chosen case study. Posts should be at least 300 words and appear online by 10am Friday of the corresponding week to receive full credit.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reflecting on tension between Religion & Media

In this course we will be looking critically at the relationship between religious communities and the media. This includes identifying the assumptions different parties carry and promote both about the role media plays in society,  and how religion is conceived and understood. It is important that we when studying the relationship between media, religion and culture we carefully reflect on how media outlets promotes certain view about religion, as well as how religious groups may frame media with certain assumptions.

Potential conflicts between religion and media were exemplified in early August when Fox news aired an interview with Religious Studies Scholar Reza Aslan. While the interview was slated to be a review of his controversial new book "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" the encounter between Aslan and the Fox Anchor highlighted a number of tension and stereotypes about how religion is understood and should be communicated about in media culture.  Please review the article "Video: U.S. scholar Reza Aslan’s book no.1 after botched Fox interview" and its featured interview. 

Please watch the Fox interview and reflect on the following questions:

What assumptions does the Fox reporter have about religion and the field of religious studies?
What assumptions does Aslan stress about the role of religious scholarship in society?
What does this clip illustrated about the relationship and possible tensions between religion and media in popular culture?

Come prepared to discuss your observations in class on Wednesday.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome to Comm 480!

Welcome! This is the class blog for Comm 480: Religious Communication being taught at Texas A&M University in Fall 2013. In this class we will explore the relationship between religious communities and the media, and how media contribute to our understanding of lived religion. This will involve studying how religious communities and institutions respond to and utilize different forms of media, as well as how various media may shape ideas about popular religion. The blog will be used as a space to share general information about course assignments as well as to discuss issues raised in class.  I look forward to a great semester learning together about  how religious communities negotiate their use of media and how user-generated religion  is performed online. -Dr Heidi Campbell