My principal area of research is ‘religion and media’. This is a rapidly growing field of interdisciplinary scholarship. It takes as its object of study a wide range of practices, discourses, and representations through approaches that challenge existing theoretical and methodological boundaries in communication studies, religious studies, cultural history, journalism, anthropology, sociology, art history, and other disciplines.
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, this project aims to reconstruct the history and examine the contemporary contexts of media technologies used by paranormal scientists, alternative health practitioners, and spiritual service providers, all of whom share an interest in trying to detect, visualize, and pictorially represent mysterious spiritual forces: specifically, the ‘vital energy’ that some claim radiates from our human bodies and is referred to as our ‘aura’.
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, this research project investigated the relationship between, on the one hand, the circulation of ideas and practices of spirit communication in the nineteenth century, and on the other hand, the institution and transatlantic spread of telegraphy, the first significant industrial application of electricity and a harbinger of our contemporary networks of global communication.
The Jews/Media/Religion Working group, founded in 2003 with the support of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University, comprises an international group of scholars dedicated to study, discussion, and debate about how uses of media figure in Jewish religious practices, how Jews discuss the opportunities and challenges new media pose to religious life, and how the engagement with media engenders new notions and experiences of Jewish community, continuity, and spirituality.