2010 Digital Religion: Transforming Knowledge and Practice

A two-day workshop March 25-26, 2010

NYU Center for Religion and Media
Organizers: Angela Zito, Faye Ginsburg
NYU Kimmel Buliding, 50 Washington Square South, Room 405

Funding for this workshop was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation’s Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs

Interaction with digital technologies expands the experience and reach of religious communities and their social networks across vast territorial space, generating new symbols and signifiers, and constituting new social networks. As the internet facilitates the swift spread of religious enthusiasms, knowledges and forms of practice across boundaries of nations, cultures and classes, it has also stretched and transformed the mediation of information about religious experiences and their politics in the public sphere. Reactions to such developments range from the suspicious to the celebratory as digital media also allow for new forms of transnational knowledge production and circulation. The Center for Religion and Media is using this workshop to help launch a multi-year project that will help us break new ground in understanding the implications of these distinct but interrelated changes for scholars, practitioners, activists and journalists. We ask:

  • How is religious practice being transformed and challenged by digital technologies across national and cultural boundaries?
  • How is knowledge about religion and its implications for international politics, diplomacy and human rights being transformed via online commentary/journalism?




Digital Religion Vimeo Links:

1: Digital challenges by and for religious life

Moderator: Faye Ginsburg (NYU CRM)

  • Ramesh Srinivasan (UCLA) Exploring How Indigenous Ontologies Are Refracted Via Networks and Databases
  • Brigitte Sion (NYU) Antisemitism 2.0: production, dissemination and agency
  • Gabriella Coleman (NYU) Old & New Net Wars Over Free Speech, Freedom & Secrecy or How to
Understand the Hacker & Lulz battle against the Church of Scientology
  • Elizabeth Castelli (Barnard College, Chair, Religious Studies) “First They Came for the Swingers”: Christian Warriors, Digital Surveillance, and Spiritual Mapping in the Texas Panhandle
  • Q&A Panel


Screening of BURMA VJ
Q & A w/, U Pyinya Zawta (All Burma Monks’ Alliance) and Sam Gregory, Program Director, Witness


Roundtable  on “Witnessing, reporting, and digital mediation of religious conflict: challenges for human rights”

Moderator:  Julie Sulc (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

  • Annabelle Sreberny, (SOAS, London) Iran eats its Greens.
  • Peter Manseau (Writer;  PhD candidate, Georgetown) “Turning the Law Wheel, Breaching the Green Dam: How a rag tag exercise group called Falun Gong got religion and might just change the world”
  • Robbie Barnett (Columbia University) Tibet, Buddhism and the desire for visible truths
  • Panel Roundtable


2:   Religious Practice Digitally Transformed

Moderator: Erica Robles (NYU Media, Culture and Communication)

  • Heidi Campbell (Texas A&M) Religious authority and the internet
  • Kristin Sands (Sarah Lawrence) Muslim and Sufi Anarchists on the Internet
  • Oren Golan (NYU CRM) Religious Communities Online: The (Re)Construction of Jewish Communities Over the Internet”
  • Lynn Schofield Clark (University of Denver U) Digital Storytelling and Religious Identification in the World of YouTube
  • Gregory Grieve (UNC Greensboro) Transforming Meditation: Second Life’s Zen Buddhist Community and the Ideology of Spiritual Cultivation
  • Rachel Wagner (Ithaca College) Me, Myself, And Ipod: Hybrid, Wired And Plural Selves
  • Panel Discussion


3:   Writing on religion in an online world  (10-15 min each, 45 min discussion)

Moderator: Brooke Kroeger (NYU, Journalism)

  • Jeff Sharlet  (Writer, Associate editor therevealer.org, and killingthebuddha.com)
  • Debra Mason (Director, Center on Religion and the Professions)
  • Peter Manseau  (Writer, editor at www.killingthebuddha.com)
  • Evan Derkasc  (Editor at Religion Dispatches)
  • Haroon Moghul (Columbia and NYU) contributor to altmuslim
  • Gordon Knox (Director, ASU Art Museum)
  • Panel Discussion


4:    Gathering threads, Future agendas: reports from workshop commentators

Our report-back scholars, charged with listening during the conference, will start off our final round of discussion with concentrated commentary and feedback.

Moderator: Angela Zito  (NYU, CRM)
Diane Winston  (USC, Knight Professor of Journalism)

  • Jeremy Stolow  (Concordia, Montreal, Director Deus in Machina Project)