Sarah Banet-WeiserSarah Banet-Weiser is Professor and Director of the School of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.  She is the author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity (1999); Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (2007); and Authentic™: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture (2012).  She is the co-editor of Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting (2007) and Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times.  She is currently finishing a book on the dynamic relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny, Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny in an Economy of Visibility (Duke University Press, forthcoming), as well as a co-edited anthology on post-race and cultural politics.  She is currently the co-editor of the journal Communication, Culture & Critique.  


Anthea ButlerAnthea Butler is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the author of Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World with The University of North Carolina Press.

Professor Butler’s career as a scholar, public intellectual, and professor embraces academy, the public and the church in various forms. From starting her public writing as a blogger for Religion Dispatches, she now writes opinion pieces on contemporary politics, religion, and race at The Guardian, Washington Post, and the New York Times. She has also been a media commentator on religion politics and race on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, and ABC. She has also served as a consultant to the PBS series God in America and  the American Experience on Aimee Semple McPherson. A historian of American and African American religion, Professor Butler’s research and writing spans religion and politics, religion and gender, African American religion, sexuality, media, religion, and popular culture. She is currently completing a book on Evangelicals, Politics, and Race, and is starting work on a project on reading, race and religion in the 19th Century.

NABIL ECHCHAIBINabil Echchaibi joined CU in 2007. In 2014, he won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Teaching.

He specializes in identity politics among young Muslims in the Arab world and in diaspora. His work on diasporic media, Islam and modernity has appeared in a number of scholarly books and research journals such as Javnost, International Communication Gazette, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Nations and Nationalism, Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research, Media Development. His articles have also been featured in the Guardian, Salon Magazine, USA Today, The Huffington Post, GEO and Religion Dispatches.

Echchaibi is currently writing his book Unmosquing Islam: Muslim Media and Alternative Modernity. Drawing from a multidisciplinary theoretical literature in sociology, history, anthropology, media studies, religious studies, this book seeks to analyze the impact of Muslim popular and everyday narratives of and responses to modernity in a larger context of how Muslim subjects imagine and deploy multiple frames of reference in their path toward an “authentic” and “purposeful” modernity. His book Voicing Diasporas: Ethnic Radio in Paris and Berlin Between Culture and Renewal (Lexington Books) was published in 2011. His co-edited book International Blogging: Identity, Politics and Networked Publics (Peter Lang) was published in 2009.

Echchaibi recently directed a project funded by the Social Science Research Council, which compiled a cultural history of Muslims in the Mountain West region. The project has produced an interactive Web resource, and a documentary film will be released in 2015.  He previously taught at the University of Louisville, Indiana University-Bloomington and Franklin College in Switzerland, where he helped set up the international communication department.  A native of Morocco, Echchaibi earned his BA from Mohammed V University in Rabat and his MA and PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington. 

Christopher HellandChristopher Helland is Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion at Dalhousie University, Canada. Helland's research focuses upon religion in contemporary culture from a sociological perspective. His primary work examines the impact of the Internet and World Wide Web on a variety of religious traditions and practices. This research examines the role of new media in relation to issues of religious authority and power, religious information seeking behavior, ritual practices, and even changing belief systems. His most current research project is investigating the effects of computer-mediated communications on diaspora religious groups. Helland has also been active in studying online gaming and the cultural aspects of this new form of social activity. He is currently a co-investigator for a multi-year study examining religion and diversity in Canada. 

Some of his current publications include: Virtual Religion: A Case Study of Virtual Tibet. Oxford Handbooks Online. Oxford University Press; "Virtual Tibet: Maintaining Identity through Internet Networks" in Gregory Grieve and Danielle Veidlinger (Eds.)The Pixel in the Lotus: Buddhism, the Internet, and Digital Media. Routledge; "Ritual" in Heidi Campbell (Ed.) Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds. Routledge; "Online Religion in Canada: From Hype to Hyperlink" in Lori Beaman (Ed.). Religion and Canadian Society: Traditions, Transitions, and Innovations. Canadian Scholar’s Press.

Stewart M. HooverStewart M. Hoover is a professor in the Department of Media Studies and professor adjoint in the Department of Religious Studies and is director of the Center for Media, Religion and Culture.

A specialist in media audience studies, he is an internationally recognized expert on media and religion and has consulted, lectured or conducted research in eleven foreign countries. His research ranges from legacy to digital media and across a wide range of cultural and social effects and uses of contemporary media. He is author or editor of 12 books and numerous articles and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on contemporary media cultures, media history, theory and research.

Hoover holds a master’s and PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and has received awards for his scholarship, service and teaching.

Marwan KraidyMarwan Kraidy is the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture and Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication, at the Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, he was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow for ongoing work on war machines in the age of global communication. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEH, ACLS, Woodrow Wilson and NIAS fellowships, Kraidy has published 120 essays and 10 books, including Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization (Temple UP, 2005), Reality Television and Arab Politics (Cambridge UP, 2010), which won three major prizes; and The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World (Harvard UP), Global Media Studies (w Toby Miller, Polity), and American Studies Encounters the Middle East (w Alex Lubin, University of North Carolina Press), all in 2016. Kraidy has been the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut, the Chaire Dupront at the Sorbonne, and the Bonnier Professor at Stockholm University. A frequent media contributor, Kraidy tweets at @MKraidy.

Mirca MadinouMirca Madianou is Reader (Associate Professor) in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London where she works on the social uses of communication technologies in a transnational and comparative context. Her work makes theoretical and substantive contributions to the areas of migration, disaster recovery, humanitarian relief and their intersection with digital technology. She has directed two ESRC grants: Humanitarian Technologies and Migration, ICTS and transnational families which have led to several publications on the social consequences of new communication technologies among marginalised and migrant populations. She is the author of Mediating the Nation: News, Audiences and the Politics of Identity (2005) and Migration and New Media: Transnational Families and Polymedia (2012 with D. Miller) as well as editor of Ethics of Media (2013 with N. Couldry and A. Pinchevski). From May 2017 she will be Chair of the Philosophy, Theory and Critique division of the International Communication Association (ICA).

Peter ManseauPeter Manseau is the Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. He is the author of six books including the memoir Vows, the novel Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, the travelogue Rag and Bone, and the retelling of America's diverse spiritual formation One Nation, Under Gods. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.   





Nathan ScNathan Schneiderhneider is a scholar in residence of media studies and a reporter who writes about religion, technology and resistance. His current project is an exploration of models for democratic ownership and governance for online platforms in the wake of a major conference he co-organized at the New School in 2014, Platform Cooperativism.

He is the author of two books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, both published by University of California Press. His articles have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The Catholic Worker, Religion Dispatches and other outlets. He writes a column for America, a national Catholic weekly, as well as a finance column Vice magazine. Media appearances have included The Takeaway, Democracy Now, On Being, HuffPost Live and The Brian Lehrer Show.

As an editor, Schneider co-founded the news website Waging Nonviolence and helped relaunch the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha. He has also helped organize projects with the Social Science Research Council about religion and media since 2008, including The Immanent Frame and Frequencies.

Schneider holds two degrees in religious studies, a master’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Jenna Supp-MontgomerieJenna Supp-Montgomerie is an assistant professor of religion and media jointly appointed in the departments of Religious Studies and Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research examines the appearance of religion in the negotiation of technological change. She is currently working on a book about the vital but obscured role of disconnection in network infrastructure. Her study focuses on the dramatic failure of the first attempt to build a global electric communication network. In 1858, the Atlantic telegraph cable was strung across the ocean and went dead in less than a month. During the transatlantic telegraph’s short life, Americans issued enthusiastic, religiously inflected declarations of a world unified by communication despite overwhelming evidence to contrary. This persistent imaginary of network connection animates American dreams of global community to this day.


Sarah McFarland TaylorSarah McFarland Taylor is an associate professor of Religious Studies and award-winning author, specializing in the study of media, religion, and culture; religion and the environment; and American culture and consumerism. Taylor also teaches in Northwestern’s Program in Environmental Policy and Culture and in the American Studies Program. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Brown University, a Master's degree from Dartmouth College, and she earned her doctorate in Religion and American Culture from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has recently completed an additional advanced degree in “Media History, Philosophy, and Criticism” in the Graduate School of Media Studies at The New School for Public Engagement.

Her second and most recent book, Ecopiety: Green Media and the Dilemma of Environmental Virtue (NYU Press November 2019) analyzes diverse representations of environmental moral engagement in contemporary mediated popular culture. Taylor identifies and explores intertwining, co-constitutive, yet contrary, stories of what she terms “ecopiety” and “consumopiety” as they flow across multiple media platforms.

Taylor's project for the interdisciplinary working group focuses on research for her third book project, Selling Planet B: Marketing Mars, Migration, and Manifest Destiny. This book explores and analyzes mediations of extraterrestrial earth escape fantasies in the contemporary media marketplace. In particular, the project examines billionaire technocrats who have tapped into both historically embedded narratives of “manifest destiny” and contemporary otherworldy popular apocalyptic narratives that currently thrive in U.S. culture.  Taylor intervenes in the "earth escape" rhetoric that pervades Mars marketing and argues instead for "reinhabiting" alternatives that spark greater civic and earthly planetary engagement.   

Deborah WhiteheadDeborah Whitehead is assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  She holds a doctorate in religious studies from Harvard University (2006) and MA and BA degrees in religious studies and philosophy from Florida State University. She is author of William James, Pragmatism, and American Culture (Indiana University Press, 2015).  Her research interests include the work of William James, American philosophy and theology, U.S. religious history, religion and media, religion and popular culture, and religion, gender and sexuality. She is author of several articles on these topics and is currently at work on her second book, Christian Evangelicals and Digital Media: The Mediated Gospel in America, with Routledge.  She is co-chair of the Women and Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion, steering committee member for the Religion, Media and Culture and Pragmatism and Empiricism in Religious Thought Groups at the AAR, and editorial board member of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.