Anonymous, 14 Jul 2020
Research on Middle East, Islam and digital media
keyword: ritual

New Book: Performing Piety: Singers and Actors in Egypt's Islamic Revival

The author offers a unique history of the religious revival in Egypt through the lens of the performing arts. She highlights the narratives of celebrities who retired in the 1980s and early 1990s, including their spiritual journeys and their influence on the “pietization” of their fans, among whom are the wealthy, relatively secular, strata of Egyptian society. Van Nieuwkerk then turns to the emergence of a polemic public sphere in which secularists and Islamists debated Islam, art, and gender in the 1990s. Finally, she analyzes the Islamist project of “art with a mission” and the development of Islamic aesthetics, questioning whether the outcome has been to Islamize popular art or rather to popularize Islam.

New Book: Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds

The book offers a critical and systematic survey of the study of religion and new media. It covers religious engagement with a wide range of new media forms and highlights examples of new media engagement in all five of the major world religions. From cell phones and video games to blogs and Second Life, the book considers the theoretical, ethical and theological issues raised.

New Book: Media and Ritual: Death, Community and Everyday Life

The author explores the interweaving of rituals, communication and community. She uses the tools of anthropological enquiry to examine a variety of media events, including the death of Michael Jackson, a royal wedding and the transgressive actions which took place in Abu Ghraib, and to understand the inner significance of the media coverage of such events. The book deals with theories of ritual, media as ritual including reception, production and representation, and rituals of death in the media.

Book: Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality

This book offers an engaging exploration of religious practice in the digital age. It considers how virtual experiences, like stories, games and rituals, are forms of world-building or "cosmos construction" that serve as a means of making sense of our own world. Such creative and interactive activity is, arguably, patently religious.

Technology and Religion: Special Issue of the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology

The special issue of the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology is out. As guest editors, Robert M. Geraci and I have tried to put together unique collection of articles on technology and religion. Three of the articles published deal with the production of Islamic knowledge for European Muslim minorities on the Internet – namely Carmen Becker’s article on German and Dutch Salafi online forums, Jens Kutscher’s article on online muftis, and my essay on marriage and divorce fatwas online.

Making the Internet Kosher: Orthodox (Haredi) Jews and their approach to the World Wide Web

This article surveys the approach of Orthodox Judaism – especially the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Judaism – to the Internet. In the introduction we compare the approach of the Abrahamic religions to the Internet. Then we focus on the Haredi community (especially in the contemporary State of Israel) and their specific approach to the Internet. This article argues that the use of the Internet, although officially banned by many Haredi Rabbis, is in fact tolerated on a pragmatic basis. We also survey which kind of “protection against secular threads” the Haredim use (filtering software, Holy Shabbat protection). In the last part of this article the role of the Internet in Israeli religious politics, and by its uses by fundamentalist and radical Jewish groups, is surveyed.

Summer School: Moving Images and Media Rituals

Summer School organised between 28 July and 8 August 2008 in Heidelberg by the Ritual and Media Working Group of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 619 "Ritual Dynamics" University of Heidelberg.
Heidbrink, Simone, Exploring the Religious Frameworks of the Digital Realm: Offline-Online-Offline Transfers of Ritual Performance. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Vol. 1, No. 2, 2007 abstract full text PDF
Radde-Antweiler, Kerstin, Cyber-rituals in Virtual Worlds: Wedding Online in Second Life. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Vol. 1, No. 2, 2007 abstract full text PDF
Miczek, Nadja, Rituals Online - Dynamic Processes Reflecting Individual Perspectives. Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Vol. 1, No. 2, 2007 abstract full text PDF
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