Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion
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When: 05/24/2019
10:00 AM
Where: Washington Hilton Hotel
Washington, District of Columbia 
United States
Contact: Stewart M. Hoover

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A Pre-conference on Media and Religion
International Communication Association Annual Meeting
Washington, DC, USA  24 May, 2019

Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion

The “new era” of politics in the North Atlantic West that has followed the Brexit vote in Britain, the Trump election in the U.S., and political upheavals elsewhere in Europe challenges settled ideas about media, politics, and culture. Emergent populist movements in the West but also in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa increasingly use symbols and tropes drawing on remembered, repressed, contested, implicit and explicit valences of “the religious.” The persistent power of religion to mobilize new populism confounds expectations that religion would fade in significance as we moved further into the new century. Among the most vexing—and least understood—questions are those surrounding the role of religion in these developments and how media and systems of mediation—particularly digital mediation—make religion’s new participation possible. Religion has persisted, grown in influence, and moved well outside our received categories of analysis; it is expressed in a variety of registers and contexts that defy traditional framings. This is nowhere more critical than in the ways religious symbols, interests and claims are deployed in the evolving new populist politics. Scholars of media have a special interest and expertise in addressing phenomena such as this, yet the field often struggles to incorporate serious scholarship of religion into its work. This pre-conference is intended to begin a conversation about this lacuna even as it addresses its overall theme.

This pre-conference will feature a morning expert panel including John Jackson of the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, former U.S. Congressman Tom Perriello (tentative) and Agnieszka Stepinska, Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland).  The afternoon will be devoted to two panels made up of submitted proposals and papers and a final, wrap-up round table discussion.

Relevant papers and proposals for the afternoon that address the rise of new politics and the role of religion and of media in it will be welcomed.  Proposals may also address broader questions of the challenges religion poses to media scholarship.

Preconference organizers and contacts:

Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado; Johanna Sumiala, University of Helsinki; Heidi Campbell, Texas A&M University; Sarah McFarland Taylor, Northwestern University; Jenna Supp-Montgomerie, University of Iowa; Corrina Laughlin, Loyola Marymount University;

Endorsing Divisions:  Philosophy, Theory, and Critique; Popular Communication; Global Communication

Papers or abstracts of 250 words maximum should be submitted to the organizers at by December 15, 2018.  Acceptances will be emailed at the time of the overall ICA acceptances in January.