This three-day symposium will gather an international group of both emerging and established scholars for an intensive and first-of-its-kind forum of interdisciplinary exchange on the theme of global Catholicism and media technologies. The symposium will define a new field of study and practice: Global Catholic Media. At the interface of various fields of expertise (including anthropology, religious studies, theology, media studies), the scholars intend to identify and explore new theoretical and methodological approaches to research, teaching, and writing on Catholicism as a world religious form. The symposium will examine not only Catholicism’s various confrontational, reciprocal, and contested relationships with media technologies, but also Catholicism itself as a form of mediation—a religion through which views and experiences of the world are shaped, substantiated, and made accessible to people in a range of social and cultural settings. This event will highlight the dynamic re-workings of Catholic practice that are today taking place not in churches but in diverse media locations: on the web (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), in podcasts, blogs, and in film, television, and radio production studios. Not only is Catholicism in the media (as seen, for example, in the constant international media presence of the Pope); Catholicism is itself a medium, one that influences the world in uniquely powerful ways.
Funding for the conference has been provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, American Academy of Religion, the McGill Centre for Research on Religion, University of North Carolina Charlotte's Department of Religious Studies, and Catholics & Cultures.