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Palacký University Olomouc

Workshop: Digital religion – online spirituality
Olomouc – Czech Republic – November 10. – 11. 11. 2022

Abstract submission: ongoing  

The program of the workshop will be published in October. 

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 appear to influence the relationship between the church authority and the community. (Müllerová, Franc, 2022)

Contemporary media culture and new communication technologies have shaped how religion and spirituality are understood in the digital context. 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 core of our interest is an analysis of the current relationship between technological progress and sacred space. Due to the Covid19 pandemics, empty churches have been replaced by religious expressions on social media. How do religious authorities reinforce their offline influence through social media presence? What are believers' new forms of religious involvement via social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? And how spirituality is represented in contemporary media?

The workshop aims to discuss and conceptualize the influence of new communication technologies on forming contemporary church communities and authorities. 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. It is evident that online religious practice influences the contemporary community of believers, and new unchurched receivers of the content and spiritual practice are impacted much more than ever before. (Campbell, Evolvi, 2020) The largest group of Twitter followers of Pope Francis are non-religious persons, while the smallest group are Catholics (Narbona, 2016).

The workshop will feature, but is not limited to, the following three interconnected dimensions:

 

I) Online spirituality: digital religious communities and religious practices online
II) Religious influencers online: changes in religious authorities in the time of new media
III) Ethics in media representation of spirituality and religion

 

 

The workshop aims to connect researchers who study changes in spirituality/religion in connection to online media, share their up-to-date research findings, and discuss possibilities for further joint research as the secondary aim is to create an international research network that could apply to Europe‘s research funding (e.g., Twinning projects), in the future.

The following (online) keynote speaker has been confirmed: dr. Paromita Bose (Mahindra University, Hyderabad, India). 

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 submited in a special issue of the journal Church, Communication & Culture. Besides, authors of selected abstracts will be asked to submit a full paper, which (after a vigorous review process) will be published in the edited volume (monography) on Digital spirituality printed by Palacky University Publisher or Cambridge Scholar Publishing will be prepared from the selected papers. The editorial board of the Reader will apply for the volume to be indexed in Scopus. Deadline for full-paper submission (if accepted): 31st December 2022.

Conference fee: CZK 2 000.

(organization of the workshop, dinner and lunch included)

We prefer payment in Czech crowns on the spot.