Palacký University Olomouc
Workshop: Digital religion – online communities
Olomouc – Czech Republic – November 2. – 4. 11. 2023
In the present discourse about the development of digital humanities and digital religion, many questions are being raised in the research of digital religious studies and theology. While using technology as an educational tool and appreciating the pluses of digital culture, it is mainly the understanding of digital culture as a space for new spiritual and religious activities.
New communication technologies are now imposing new meaning-making schemes on religious entities (Tsuria, 2021; Campbell, Evolvi, 2020). Religious communities online transcended the lines between online and offline, as demonstrated by the diversity of sources and a very rigorous approach to treating a holy book or religious leader as an authority to discourse (Campbell & Tsuria, 2021; Guzek, 2015). Campbell (2012) introduced the theoretical concept of “online religion” and emphasized several basic features of how religion is done differently online and offline in the digital age.
The growing mediatization of religion is accelerating secularization by individualizing activities and fragmenting religious beliefs (Lundby, 2016) because the gap between offline and online religious practices is being bridged (Lövheim, 2012). The transformation of digital religion brings new convergent forms religious involvement among believers via social networks. Smartphones have enabled users to develop their online identities and perform traditional and new religious rituals through applications, digital games, and chat groups (Campbell & Vitullo, 2016; Hepp, 2019; Evolvi, 2022; Campbell, 2021). Not only followers but also religious authorities and spiritual gurus are interacting online today.
The workshop will feature, but is not limited to, the following three interconnected dimensions:
I) Digital religion: religiosity and spirituality online
II) Religious communities and religious practices in convergent culture
III) Religious influencers using digital communication
IV) Representation of spirituality and religion in media
The core of our interest is an analysis of the current relationship between technological progress, spirituality and sacred space. How do religious authorities reinforce their offline influence through social media presence? What are believers' new forms of religious involvement via social networks? And how are spirituality and religion represented in contemporary media?
The workshop aims to discuss the influence of new communication technologies on forming contemporary religious communities. It concerns an interdisciplinary area that examines to what extent traditional religious practice adapts to the digital environment and how aspects of digital culture form life patterns of offline religious groups.
We welcome postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and advanced scholars worldwide to share their ideas and findings on ongoing projects. Participants with various disciplinary backgrounds: religion studies, media and communication studies, sociology, cultural studies, film studies, anthropology, and theology are welcome. A maximum of 25 participants will be selected from the sent abstracts. We search for participants who will be able to represent their institution simultaneously and establish research networks in the future.
If you would like to participate in the workshop, please send us an abstract.
Abstract submission: ongoing
The presented papers could be published in a special issue of the journal Studia theologica.
The edited volume (monography) on Digital spirituality printed by Palacky University Publisher will be prepared from the selected papers, which will be reviewed by two independent reviewers. The editorial board of the Reader will apply for the volume to be indexed in Scopus. Deadline for chapters submission (if accepted): 31st December 2023.
Conference fee: 100 Euro all participants (organization of the conference and two dinners included)
We do not provide accommodation, but we offer you recommendations on where to stay and what to visit in Olomouc.