The Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet has published a special issue on Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses, edited by Simone Heidbrink and Nadja Miczek. As they describe in the intorduction to this special issue

For the academic study of religion, looking at religious websites has become a normal and within the scientific community widely accepted practice of research. The sources for research on religions and religious practices online are as manifold as the Internet itself. Especially during the last years with its rapid technological developments applications like online social networks or virtual 3D worlds have been gaining more and more popularity also for religious actors. When analysing religions on the Internet many academic researchers have until today drawn their attention mainly on questions like: if we look at religious web content, what are we actually seeing? And how can we interpret this? May I limit my analysis to the textual components? Or should I include pictures, music etc.? Do I have to include background colour, navigation etc, in my analysis?

In an attempt to rethink these questions much has been written about these matters from different academic perspectives during the last years.1 Even in disciplines with a traditionally pronounced focus on philological work (e.g. Religious Studies in Germany) there seems to grow a mutual consent that the Internet as a media compound must not be reduced to the textual contents. But overlooking many contemporary studies on religions and rituals on the Internet we nevertheless cannot help but notice a certain bias on referring mostly to visual aspects of Internet content. Other senses like hearing or touching are at the best mentioned briefly, but an elaborated analysis and considerations about their interconnectivity and their link to the visual dimension are mostly missing. Noticing this gap in recent research we decided to set up a special issue of this Online Journal which is dedicated to aesthetics and the sensual dimensions of religions on the Internet.

Publication Data

Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet. Vol. 04.1. Special Issue on Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses. Edited by Simone Heidbrink and Nadja Miczek, 2010. ISSN: 1861-5813. Available online: http://online.uni-hd.de/


Simone Heidbrink / Nadja Miczek
Introduction to the Special Issue: Religions on the Internet – Aesthetics and the Dimensions of the Senses

Louise Connelly
Virtual Buddhism: An Analysis of Aesthetics in Relation to Religious Practice within Second Life

Gregory Grieve
Virtually Embodying the Field: Silent Online Meditation, Immersion, and the Cardean Ethnographic Method

Tim Hutchings
The Politics of Familiarity: Visual, Liturgical and Organisational Conformity in the Online Church

Anna Piela
Challenging Stereotypes: Muslim Women's Photographic Self-Representations on the Internet

Paul Teusner
Imaging Religious Identity: Intertextual Play among Postmodern Christian Bloggers

Theo Zijderfeld
The Transformation of the Prayer Wall

Christopher Helland
(Virtually) been there, (Virtually) done that: Examining the Online Religious Practices of the Hindu Tradition: Introduction.

Phyllis K. Herman
Seeing the Divine through Windows: Online Puja and Virtual Religious Experience

Nicole Karapanagiotis
Vaishnava Cyber-Pūjā: Problems of Purity and Novel Ritual Solutions

Heinz Scheifinger
Hindu Embodiment and the Internet

The special issue of the Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet is available online.