A BEA Division Focus: Religion and Media
Meet one of the two new Divisions, Religion and Media and seek a sense of the Division’s purpose from three leaders.
Dr. Paul A. Creasman, the incoming Division Chair thinks the division could help wider audiences better understand the role religion plays in everyday life. It’s not just for Sundays. Religion is a central force in social life and I think the division could help audiences understand the diversity of contexts in which religious practice shapes our experiences.
Mediated religion in particular is fascinating to me, added Creasman, as it can often disrupt the religion experience, rather than facilitate it as so many practitioners believe. Rather than religious worship being a direct experience (parishioner to God), media insert themselves into that process (along with their various ecologies and epistemologies) and religious practice becomes something else. I would want the division to host papers and panels that explore that idea a bit more. Along those lines, Dr. Creasman indicated he’s interested in forms of religious expression via media (those that work and those that don’t).
Carey Martin, Division Vice Chair believes a primary purpose of the division is to increase the numbers and strengthen the overall excellence of productions with a spiritual or religious theme. With that in mind nd as a long-time member of the Writing Interest Division as well, I believe the old show biz adage, “If it isn’t on the page, it isn’t on the stage” applies just as much to religious media as to Hollywood blockbusters. Therefore, I am especially interested in encouraging scriptwriters who want to tackle such themes in their own work.
Andrew Bolin, Division Secretary added Religion and Media are perhaps two of the biggest influences on society today. This Division of BEA strives to better understand the role and impact both religion and religion in mediated communication has on individuals and various people groups. Christian Communication scholar, Quentin Schultze writes that when we communicate, we co-create culture. Research, presentations, and publications in this division should seek to identify ways in which religion influences mediated communication; demonstrate how religious institutions and/or religious people groups use media and technology; or identity and discuss religious subtext in media and culture.
Dr. Paul A. Creasman is Communication Department Chair at Arizona Christian University, Professor Carey Martin is at Liberty University and Assistant Professor Andrew Bolin is at Kentucky Wesleyan College.