The Center for Media, Religion and Culture and the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder will host the 11th biennial conference of the International Society for Media, Religion, and Culture (ISMRC), which will explore the relationship between media, religion and public scholarship. This conference will be held August 8-11, 2018 and will bring together international scholars from various disciplines including media studies, journalism, politics, religious studies, the anthropology and sociology of religion, history, the study of literature and public policy. The conference, since its first meeting in 1996, has become the leading international gathering for the discussion of research in religion, media and culture. We invite proposals for panels, workshops and/or roundtable sessions as well as for individual papers. View the Call for Papers »
Following the success of the first doctoral student pre-conference at the 2016 ISMRC conference in Seoul, we will also host a workshop for PhD students on Tuesday, August 7. Participants will be notified of their acceptance to the pre-conference after review of paper proposals. View details about this workshop, along with the Call for Papers »
The International Academy for the Study of Religion and Video Gaming (IASGAR) is hosting a post-conference event on Sunday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. View details about the IASGAR post-conference “LEVEL UP” First IASGAR conference on video gaming and religion and the call for papers.
Village Center Dining and Community Commons
University of Colorado Boulder
500 30th Street
Boulder, Colorado 80303
Conference registration is open – full registration is available for all conference days, or day passes are available. Please complete conference registration online; credit card payment is preferred. Full registration includes light refreshments during conference breaks, all lunches, field experiences on August 10, and a banquet dinner. Membership in the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture is also included. Day passes include attendance at all conference sessions for the day, as well as lunch and light refreshments. Please note that purchasing a day pass enables you to attend the conference on either August 8, 9, or 11 - you do not need to select the day you will attend during registration but instead will check-in upon arrival at the conference. On-site registration will also be available. If you wish to register for more than one day, please let the conference organizers know and payment arrangements can be made for additional days.
$65 before August 1 / $75 after August 1for non-students
$40 before August 1 / $50 after August 1 for students
$290 for scholars from OECD countries
$190 for scholars from non-OECD countries and students
A limited number of scholarships were available to support PhD students from non-OECD countries who have been accepted as conference participants; these scholarships fund conference registration fees. For consideration, please submit a short letter detailing your situation/need by Friday, April 13. Applications should be in PDF format and emailed.
Each conference registrant may appear twice in the program booklet; this includes paper, panel and roundtable presentations as well as respondent/commentator roles (please note that this does not include chairing of sessions/panels).
Anthea Butler is Graduate Chair and Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Butler’s research and writing interests cover religion and politics, religion and media, African American religion, sexuality, gender, and popular culture. She is the author of and Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World on The University of North Carolina Press. She is currently completing a book project on religion, politics, and evangelicals from 2008 to the 2016 election which will be published with The New Press.
A sought-after media commentator on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN and other media outlets, Professor Butler also provides op-ed on contemporary politics, religion, and race at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. She has also served as a consultant to the PBS series God in America and the American Experience on Aimee Semple McPherson.
Merlyna Lim is a Canada Research Chair in Digital Media and Global Network Society and Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University. Prior to joining the Carleton University, she held research and teaching positions at Princeton University, Arizona State University, and the University of Southern California. In 2016, Lim was named a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s New College of Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.
Lim’s research and teaching interests revolve around social and political implications of media and technology, especially digital media, in relation to issues of justice, democracy and civic/participatory engagement.
Lim’s current research attempts to analyze specific roles of digital media in the politics of transformation, identify regional patterns and constellations of digital media as an instrument for protest and mobilization, and examine how regional and national contexts may define and/or shape mobilizations and social movements. She is currently completing a book on on/offline spaces of global protest movements and another book on the socio-political history of digital media and activism in Indonesia.
John Durham Peters is María Rosa Menocal Professor of English and of Film & Media Studies at Yale University.
A media historian and social theorist, he has authored a number of noted scholarly works. His first book, Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication, traces out broad historical, philosophical, religious, cultural, legal, and technological contexts for the study of communication. His second book, Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition, updates the philosophy of free expression with a history of liberal thought since Paul of Tarsus. His most recent book, The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media, radically rethinks how media are environments and environments are also media. He has held fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Leverhulme Trust.
Peters received a PhD in Communication Theory and Research from Stanford University in 1986. He taught at the University of Iowa for 30 years, and began a position at Yale University in 2017.
Tuesday, Aug. 7
12 to 5 p.m.: Doctoral student pre-conference workshop
7 p.m.: Opening reception, Koenig Alumni Center (1202 University Ave, Boulder, CO 80302), for registrants only
Wednesday Aug. 8
9 to 10:30 a.m.: Plenary session 1
10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Panel session 1
12:15 to 2 p.m.: Lunch
2 to 3:30 p.m.: Panel session 2
5 to 6:30 p.m.: Keynote, Old Main Chapel (1600 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO 80302); free and open to the public
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.: Reception, Koenig Alumni Center (1202 University Ave, Boulder, CO 80302)
Thursday, Aug. 9
9 to 10:30 a.m.: Panel session 3
10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Panel session 4
12:15 to 2 p.m.: Lunch
2 to 3:30 p.m.: Panel session 5
4 to 5:30 p.m.: Plenary session 2
Friday, Aug. 10
All day: Field trips to religious and cultural sites
Saturday, Aug. 11
9 to 10:30 a.m.: Panel session 6
10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Panel session 7
12:15 to 2 p.m.: Lunch
2 to 3:30 p.m.: Plenary session 3
4 to 5:30 p.m.: Business meeting
7 to 8:30 p.m.: Banquet, Glenn Miller Ballroom, University Memorial Center (1669 Euclid Avenue, Boulder, CO 80302), for registrants only/RSVP event
*Unless otherwise noted, all events will be in the Village Center Dining and Community Commons.
Following the tradition begun at the 2016 ISMRC conference in Seoul, South Korea, three field experiences have been planned that will expose conference participants to the unique religious landscape of Colorado and the Mountain West region of North America. Participants must register by Wednesday, August 8 for these trips, either online or at the onsite registration table.
Indigeneity and Representation in the American West
This field trip takes participants to two Denver locations to learn from and about the indigenous experience in the American West. The morning begins at the University of Denver, located on Southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe lands, with a short film about indigenous history and then a discussion with Mary Bowannie, an indigenous journalist who writes about Native issues. She will set the cultural and historical context for a panel discussion on the contemporary indigenous experience. In addition, faculty and staff from the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology will discuss how the universities participate in and respond to indigenous issues. Following lunch, the group will travel to the Denver Art Museum, which has a world-renowned collection of Native American art and artifacts.
A “Pilgrimage” to Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city, is internationally known both as a religious tourism destination, and as the headquarters of major Evangelical Christian organizations, institutions, and ministries. Participants will begin in Boulder with a brief introduction to the history and location, followed by a trip by coach through the front range of the mountains to Colorado Springs. Participants will stop at the unique and world-famous “Garden of the Gods,” a large alpine park featuring fascinating natural rock formations, for lunch. Following lunch, participants will travel a short distance for a guided tour of the headquarters of Focus on the Family, one of the most politically and socially influential of the American evangelical organizations. The tour will also include a brief stop at the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel.
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in Red Feather Lakes, CO
This field trip will visit the largest Stupa in North America, the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes. This trip will give participants a sense of the influence of Tibetan Buddhist traditions in the Mountain West region—one of its most important locations in North America—and how these traditions have evolved and adapted with local cultures. Participants will have the chance to explore the grounds of the Shambhala Mountain Center before having a lunch in the dining hall. After lunch, participants will take a guided tour of the Great Stupa.
Have questions about the conference or registration? Email us.