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.
More than simply the study of ‘religion in the news’, or of representations of religious figures on TV and film, research in the area of religion and media addresses the multiple, sometimes counterintuitive, and often paradoxical ways (ancient, modern, and contemporary) religions relate to processes, practices and technologies of mediated communication.
This field of study also opens up new opportunities for public debate, artistic expression, and inter-cultural exchange that are vital to the future of public life, in Canada and elsewhere in the world.
With the rising visibility of religious movements and proliferating conflicts over religious ideas, practices, identities, and adherences, there is an evident need for thoughtful engagement about the place of religion in social life.
Central to such an endeavour is the need to understand the historical processes that have shaped the ways ‘religion’ is deeply implicated in the modern media landscape, including its public-making practices, systems of economic and symbolic exchange, and technological conditions for action.
Scholars in religion and media are debating these questions in exciting new ways, showing the importance of media, and the very idea of mediation, for thinking about religion, and also things that tend to be categorized as the ‘other’ of religion, i.e., so-called ‘secular’ modes of identity, practice, and knowledge.