[FoME] Call for Papers_ International Conference in Abuja, Nigeria

Petra Stammen Petra.Stammen at CAMECO.ORG
Do Jan 17 11:22:55 CET 2008

AFRICA An international conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of
African Culture and Communication ABUJA, NIGERIA   JULY 11-13, 2008
OBJECTIVE OF CONFERENCEThe main goal of this conference is to cast a
critical look at Africa's rapidly evolving religious media scene.  It is
particularly interested in the challenges of balancing freedom of
expression and freedom of religion and belief in Africa’s fast-growing
media sector. Since the early 1990s, following political liberalization
in Africa, the media landscape has altered radically due to deregulation
and the emergence of new communication and informational technologies.
There has been a rapid increase in the numbers of radio and television
stations, newspapers and magazines, computers, and mobile phone
networks.  With this media diversification have come new opportunities
for ownership, production, and participation.  Religious leaders and
activists in particular have appropriated these new media outlets for
strengthening and expanding their communities, and gaining public
recognition for their organizations.  In some, more competitive, public
spheres, the media may also be used to defame or marginalize religious
others, which can lead to conflict, and even, violence.  In rarer cases,
the media have developed programming to promote interreligious dialogue.
  SCOPE OF CONFERENCEThe conference aims to encourage the study of the
expanding range of religious media, as well as coverage of religion, in
a globalizing Africa:media types may include: audio- and
video-cassettes, films, CDs, DVDs, loudspeakers, pamphlets, posters,
flyers, banners, billboards, telephony, photography, radio, television,
and computer-mediated communication and information (websites, emails,
blogs, listservs, discussion boards)studies could range from formal and
large-scale, to informal and small-scale, media forms and
technologieslevels of inquiry could be on media creation, circulation,
and/or consumptionfocus could be on a particular locality,
denomination/organization, media type or technology, national, regional,
or transnational context studies could also address some thematic or
problematic, or theoretical or methodological issue (or combination of
issues), such as ethnicity, gender, conflict and peace, mediation,
authenticity, representation, commodification, censorship,
(de)(re)regulation, media convergence, etc. diverse disciplinary
perspectives (e.g. media studies, communications, journalism,
advertising, public relations, religious studies, sociology and
anthropology, history, law, cultural and literary studies, linguistics,
political science, visual/oral/aural and performing arts, etc.) are
welcome FOCUS OF CONFERENCEThe conference will have two major areas of
analytical focus, namely transformation and differentiation. Since the
media are not just neutral vehicles of expression, it is important to
consider how the institutional forms, messages, experiences, values, and
practices of religious individuals and communities are being transformed
by greater media use and presence.  Likewise, how is this increased
media participation by religious actors and organizations contesting
media policy and practice?  In terms of differentiation, how do the
newer forms of (mass) mediated religious expression encourage
cooperation within and between religions, as well as between religions
and the state, or conversely, heighten old or introduce new cleavages?
How do the new media generate new patterns of social inclusion or
exclusion? CONFERENCE STRUCTUREThe conference will be divided into two
parts.  The first, the academic part (July 10-12, will precede the more
public, second half of the conference (July 13).  In the public forum,
political and religious leaders, media professionals, and civil society
leaders will discuss current issues pertaining to religious broadcasting
policy and practice in Africa today.  A pre-conference workshop on
research methodology and work in progress is envisaged, along with
visits to local media houses and religious institutions.  These will
include licensing, programming, transmission, and media ethics, for
example.  Optional excursions will be available on the final day (Sunday
July 14). QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATIONHow is Africa’s religious landscape
being changed by the new religious media? How are the modern media
generating new religious communities and publics? How might these new
publics challenge or complement pre-existing religious actors and
organizations?In what ways are newer religious organizations, such as
the Pentecostals, using the media to advance political and economic
agendas?Are we witnessing the development of new forms of religious
activism and proselytism in Africa today due to the upsurge in media
growth and diversification?Which religious groups benefit most or least
from Africa’s more liberalized and mass-mediatized public spheres?How
have traditional forms of communication or notions of power been
incorporated into the new religious media?What is the impact of the new
religious media on popular culture and the entertainment industry, and
vice versa?Can we now talk about manifestations of religion as media,
and media as religion?How might the conventional divisions and
differences between state-run and independent media be reconfigured by
new religious media?   OUTCOMESThe outcomes will include new and
much-needed historical and empirical data, as well as theoretical and
methodological reflection on the growing intersections of religion,
media, and culture in the African context.  More generally, they may
supplement or even challenge prevailing or emergent theorizing of these
interactions.  Selected papers from the conference will be published in
a book which will contribute to and have comparative value for the
burgeoning field of religion, media and cultural studies.  A conference
report, which will contain a summary of the proceedings, as well as
recommendations for policy-makers, media professionals and users, will
also be produced (online). GUIDELINES FOR PAPER AND PANEL
SUBMISSIONSAbstracts for either individual papers or panels of not more
than 300 words, along with a 100-word summary, should be submitted to
both conference directors: Professor Rosalind I. J. Hackett, University
of Tennessee, USA rhackett at utk.edu  Dr. Benjamin Soares, African Studies
Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands bsoares at fsw.LeidenUniv.nl Deadline for
abstracts: March 31, 2008 (successful applicants will be notified during
April 2008)Deadline for full papers: June 30, 2008All participants will
be expected to pay a conference registration fee of $40 or 5000 Nigerian
naira.  Some funding may be available to help defray travel and
accommodation costs of participants.  However, participants are
encouraged to obtain financial support from their host institutions.
Petra Stammen
Africa Desk
P.O. Box 10 21 04
D- 52021 Aachen
Tel.: ++49 (0) 241- 70 13 12 16
Fax: ++49 (0) 241- 70 13 12 33
EMail: Petra.Stammen at cameco.org 
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