The Immanent Frame needs no introduction. A publication of the Social Science Research Council, TIF has been one of the most innovative born-digital publications out there. In addition to hosting a number of scholarly exchanges on everything from the Arab Spring to sex abuse in the Catholic Church, The Immanent Frame has also been central to the emergence of secularism studies.
Well beginning yesterday, TIF has launched another series of essays that seeks to explore the relationships between the study of religion and digital culture. As the series's announcement reads:
The task before us is to reconsider how we think about religion and the secular in a world that claims to have put everything on the Internet, that takes what goes viral as true. The study of religion might be thought of as a quintessential hack—a practice of exploring, of taking apart, of using whatever means are available for revealing how the machine works, and maybe even of grasping the ghost inside. But the presumed authority in a hacker’s hubris, an academic’s credentials, or an interview’s virality can be as deceptive as it is alluring. The insights that technological metaphors might bring to our understanding of religion must be considered alongside what looking only through the lens of technology leaves out.
The series will run over the next month and a half, and will feature articles from not only scholars in the field, but also journalists and other writers whose work has been transformed by the Internet. I'll have an essay myself in the series later in February. But the first essay comes from Kathryn Lofton, where she writes about the religious underpinnings of a paperless society. You can find Lofton's essay here, and follow all of the essays here. And as you read them, consider contributing to the conversation both at the TIF, as well as on Twitter via the exchange's hashtag, #digitalreligion.