The Center for Media, Religion and Culture is pleased to launch the Third Spaces Blog as a place to survey and reflect on contemporary mediations of religion and spirituality. Much of what we know of the “religious” is at least present in, if not actually generated in and by, the media and processes of mediation. The media landscape is rich with examples of religion and things that are charged with religious meanings. Film, music, gaming, television, smart phones and social media are significant spaces where the “religious” is produced, consumed, negotiated and remediated. As such, we are not interested in the study of religion solely in terms of the technical properties of the media and their impact on the religious experience. We look at these media as complex texts of social practice that produce their own spiritual repertoire, discursive logics, aesthetics of persuasion and architecture of circulation. In doing so, we go beyond the study of religion solely in terms of the technical properties of the media and their impact on the religious experience.
We called our blog Third Spaces as a reference to a working theoretical concept our center is developing to understand better the particularities of the lived and mediated experience of religion and spirituality today. The blog highlights how meaning is made, manifested and re-made through the affordances of changing media technologies. These spaces that allow for interrogation outside of fixed boundaries of the offline or online allow for negotiation of religions practice. Our group research blog explores these fascinating concepts while paying attention to the way religion and media migrate into new realms.
We hope this blog will become a dynamic discussion forum where research fellows of our center share examples of case studies and key findings from their research projects. We also hope to engage the larger community of scholars, religion practitioners and media professionals who are interested in the growing and creative intersections between religion and the media.