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Mediated Spirituality: On and Offline Discourses on Religious Values

Friday 23 June 2023
Universiteit Utrecht
Janskerkhof 15a
3512 BL Utrecht

Registration is mandatory.


About the masterclass

This masterclass offers insights derived from the cross-roads of digital anthropology, media anthropology and the anthropology of religion. Many modern thinkers envisioned secularization as a gradual but progressive process of religious decline and/or as a form of governance that guaranteed the boundaries between religion, politics, science, and the economy. Contrary to these expectations, religious groups, practices and ideologies flourish around the world and we witness new political, cultural, and economic constellations in which religions takes center stage. Meanwhile, the mediatization of societies has spurred new cross-fertilizations between religion and media and has made (old and new) media the subject of anthropological inquiry. These developments call for critical tools to unravel questions such as: how is religious authority constituted in relation to (new) media; how are religious traditions changing; what new forms of spirituality emerge? This masterclass offers analytic insights to begin answering such and other questions.

Aims of the class

  • Refined understanding to religious processes and their effects.
  • Insight into how modern media are part of religious mobilization and revival.
  • Insight into the way in which religious movements and cultural processes interact.
  • Insight into the mediated processes that reproduce group boundaries.
  • Refined understanding of the relation between religion and globalization.

Preparations prior to class

Please read the three texts below and prepare a text of 400 words that explains how your PhD research benefits from an exploration and analysis of digital media and how it benefits from an exploration and analysis of religious practices, and/or religious media, and/or religious ideologies.

Required readings

  • Ali, Aleeha Zahra. 2022. Conjuring Karbala Online and Offline: Experiences of the ‘Authentic’ in Shiʾa majalis. Journal of Muslims in Europe 11(1): 124-145.
  • Geismar, H., & Knox, H. (2021). Introduction 2.0. In: Digital Anthropology, edited by H. Geismar and H. Knox. Routledge. Pp. 1-18.
  • Meyer, B. (2020). Religion as mediation. Entangled Religions 11(3): 1-21.


This masterclass is part of the course Contemporary Anthropology of the Netherlands School of Anthropology. Each masterclass takes 3-4 hours and offers a combination of a lecture and a seminar.

The NESA masterclasses are for all Cultural Anthropology PhD students from Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Radboud University and Leiden University. 

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