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.