Religion Beyond Memes: Enhancing Public Discourse about Faith and Practice

Location: Notre Dame Keough School of Global Affairs, Washington Office 1400 16th Street, Suite 120 Washington, DC 20036

Beyond Memes Ansari Web 1

The Conference

In a world where communications are based on 280-character counts, influencer posts, and memes, how can reporters and educators effectively explain the complexities of religion? How can understanding of faith be expanded beyond generalizations and stereotypes? Can academics, practitioners, and journalists collectively change the conversation about religion? 

Join us for a free conference that brings together leading experts in media and higher education to discuss these and other important questions.

Third in the Contending Modernities series on Changing the Conversation about Religion.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Notre Dame Keough School of Global Affairs, Washington Office
1400 16th Street, Suite 120 
Washington, DC  20036



9:00 a.m.       Welcome and overview

9:05 a.m.       Session 1: Mapping the Mediation of Religion
Who are the consumers of religion around the world? Who provides the material consumed and in what kinds of settings and formats? Can we map different institutional sources of information and interpretations of religion? 

10:15 a.m.     Session 2: The Geopolitics of Representing Religion
Both majority and minority religions within a given state typically complain that their religious beliefs and practices are willfully misrepresented by hostile state media, hostile secular actors, and other religious actors. This panel explores various motives, incentives, and means of representing religion, as well as platforms that seek to counteract what is perceived as the distortion of religion. 

12:00 p.m.     Lunch

1:15 p.m.       Session 3: Religion Beyond Memes 
What are the challenges in “getting religion right” for non-specialist audiences? How can educators and media representatives respect and convey the vivid and distinctive dimensions of religion without exoticizing it beyond recognition? In short, what must educators and media take into account when handling this subject?

2:00 p.m.       Session 4: Best Practices 
Commentators and interpreters of religion share best practices, concerns, and pitfalls in explaining how to convey complex topics to non-specialist audiences.

3:30 p.m.       Session 5: Enhancing the Discourse/Changing the Conversation
This open session features all the conference speakers for a conversation with the audience about specific recommendations and summary reflections on the themes of the day.

 4:45 p.m.      Closing Remarks

Featured Speakers

Tariq Ansari, Next Mediaworks Ltd.

Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame

Daniel Burke, CNN

Heidi Campbell, Texas A&M University

Robert Costa, The Washington Post

Nichole M. Flores, University of Virginia

Emma Green, The Atlantic

Todd Green, Luther College

Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept 

Mahan Mirza, University of Notre Dame

Jolyon Mitchell, The University of Edinburgh

Ebrahim Moosa, University of Notre Dame

Michael J. Murray, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

Atalia Omer, University of Notre Dame

Stephen Prothero, Boston University

Zeenat Rahman, The Aspen Institute

Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now!