25 Jul 2012 New international society to support scholars of media, religion and culture
Dr Hoover was speaking at the society’s official launch during the 8th International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture, held in Eskisehir, Turkey, from 8 to 12 July 2012.
The conference was the latest in a series of gatherings that were initiated at meeting held in Uppsala, Sweden in 1994.
Hoover is a former member of WACC’s central committee – as the board of directors used to be called – and a long-time member of WACC North America.
He said he hoped the society would “offer a context where we can get acknowledgement and recognition for what we are doing.”
The Eskisehir gathering was hosted by Anadolou University and was directed by Dr. Nezih Orhon, dean of the School of Communication Sciences and a WACC personal member. In a keynote presentation, he discussed religious and social diversity in Turkey and the way this is covered by media.
|Dr Stewart Hoover at the launch of the society in Eskisehir, Turkey. (Photo: MRC Conference, Eskisehir.)|
The conference had strong participation from Turkey and the Middle East. Papers dealt with issues including the place of minbars (Mosque pulpits) in Iran, the identity of Iranian women in virtual spaces such as Google+, the popularity of Turkish films on Arab television, and televised religious discourse in Christianity and Islam.
Another focus for the five-day gathering was the place of digital media, with presentations on issues such as Evangelical blogs as “third spaces”, the efforts of the Vatican to respond to the digital society through its portal news.va, and networked individualism and religious identity.
Panels introduced the results of research on issues such as the media and religion in Europe; communicating research in media, religion and culture across contexts; Nordic perspectives on the mediatization of religion; finding religion in the media; and the intersection of music, social media and Evangelical Christianity.
According to Hoover, WACC has been involved in the Media, Religion, and Culture process since the first public conference held in Colorado, USA. At the conference, WACC sponsored a panel of international representatives. WACC’s President Dr Dennis Smith was also instrumental in initiating the 2008 meeting in São Paulo, Brazil.
“Several of us who have been involved in the conferences and now the Society, trace our interest in scholarship on media and religion to WACC’s own Forum activities of the 1980s and 90s,” said Hoover. “Many media scholars are also WACC members including five members of our new board and two additional members of the former Steering Committee.”
The next International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture is scheduled for Canterbury, England, in mid-2014.
More information on the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture:
Dr. Stephen Brown (Geneva, Switzerland), Vice-President of WACC-Europe and a member of WACC’s Board of Directors, represented WACC at the Eskisehir conference.