Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Religion in the Digital Age II: Mediating ‘The Human’ in a Globalizing Asia


This conference explores religious and ethically-driven digital mediations shaping and shaped by globalization in Asia, from documentary and feature film, to innovations in digital storytelling and online activism.

In ethnically diverse Asian countries, religion and politics are deeply intertwined. We will concentrate upon the question of “the human” in various forms, including political and economic movements to garner “human rights”; discourses on human difference and identity (race, class, sexuality, gender, ethnicity) that play out in the mediation of religious theologies and cosmologies, creating or destroying sense of community and personal agency; and regimes of the mediation of the senses in which the digital has a role. We hope especially to explore the relationship of human embodiment in its vulnerability to violence and its attendant suffering as a kind of liveness that is constantly mediated, especially through various forms of virtual circulation. Ethically engaged work that is not so named as “religious” but takes into account calling out the deeper categories of our humanity would be welcome.

We will include the various “geographical Asias:” East, South and Southeast and their diasporas, that is, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and so forth. But we are not tying ourselves necessarily to physical locality. In fact, “Asianess” itself seems to be a problematic and interesting issue in the digitally virtual, yet politically powerful, sense we hope to explore.