Much of the recent coverage of the newly named Pope Francis I has focused on his role as a reforming pope for a church in crisis (e.g. this and this). It struck me that the “reforming pope” seems like an easy narrative to tell about a new pope so I did a quick search of the Making of America digital archive for “new pope” during the nineteenth century.
From the August 1846 issue of The American Whig Review regarding the new Pope Pius IX:
It is hoped, and confidently predicted, that he will administer the Papacy with moderation and discretion, and that he will introduce into the Papal states some of the reforms which have been so long and so greatly needed…
Caution and sou discretion, as well as boldness and vigor, will be required to introduce a new order of things.
From The Atlantic Monthly May 1878 regarding Pius IX’s successor Leo XIII upon his election:
Leo XII is certainly no fanatic, nor is he ignorant of the times in which he lives…Whatever the ends he may propose to himself, he will not seek to meet political antagonism by organizing medieval crusades; nor will he attempt to resist Protestantism or to put down infidelity by decreeing new honors to saints in paradise, or by accumulating new dogmas upon an already seriously overladen faith…
[If he] is to be an ecclesiastical reformer, as so many hope, he is not the name to make effusive announcements of his designs to the world beforehand, nor prematurely to arouse the violent resistance of the ultramontane party and the Jesuits by abrupt innovations or startling reversals of the measure of his predecessor.”
My point with these two examples is not to say anything about these popes and their status as reformers, but rather to highlight how American observers are always imaging and hoping for a reforming pope. For
Protestant non-Catholic American observers, the new pope is always hoped to be a reformer, whatever that may mean at the time.
Twitter is shutting down the development of any more 3rd party client apps. Has Twitter gone to the cool kids?
Maybe Twitter’s not really for free-form posting anymore though. Maybe what Twitter leadership really wants is to create a Hollywood-glossy, TV-comfy place for “mainstream users” to read Tweets from famous people and big media brands. Maybe they’re too cool for school and don’t need the earnest nerds that built their ecosystem in the early days anymore. Now they’ve got Charlie Sheen. If you want to build an app that helps big brands figure out how to give Charlie Sheen money to post a photo holding up your product – more power to you. If you thought Twitter was a place for outlaws, for free thinkers, for innovators – you need to tuck in your shirt, cut your hair and get a clue. Stop even risking confusion on the part of mainstream users. If that’s not the message, Twitter sure didn’t make much effort to avoid sounding that way.
It’s like when the X-Games made skateboarding cool, all over again.
If you’re in Boston or headed to Boston for the AHA be sure to come check out my panel on Methodist media. I’m talking about representations of Hinduism in the Methodist Christian Advocate and Emory’s own Russ Richey will be responding to the panel. It should be a great time.
Methodist Media: Comparing Means of Communicating the Message
American Society of Church History 26
Saturday, January 8, 2011: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
St. George Room C (The Westin Copley Place)
Chair: Richard P. Heitzenrater, Duke University
Evangelical Encounters: Authenticity in Early Methodist Worship
Erika K. R. Hirsch, Boston University
An Evangelical Public Relations Campaign: The Methodist Episcopal Church and Print Culture, 1792–1834
Elizabeth A. Georgian, University of Delaware
“The Spirit-Filled Teacher”: Methodist Educational Missions in Nineteenth-Century Asia
David W. Scott, Boston University
Methodists and India: Mapping, Contact, and Travel in the Christian Advocate, 1860–90
Michael J. Altman, Emory University
Russell E. Richey, Emory University
I’ve got a new post up at Religion Dispatches where I present a different Hanukkah TV clip for each night of the holiday. If you haven’t seen the Hanukkah episode of The Nanny than you have missed out.
Check out the videos here.
Shariah-Approved Sex Aids, Abstinence-Only Goes to China, and Abercrombie Hijab…The Week in Religion, PoeticallyPosted: September 10, 2010
Ramadan is not only a time for fasting, it’s also a time for the best television around the Muslim world. A television serial in Egypt has stirred controversy: The Group explores the world of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition movement. Similarly, a Syrian serial, What Your Right Hand Possess (it sounds better in Arabic) has drawn furiouscriticism for allegedly distorting Islam. A Malaysian TV station has axed a commercial wishing Muslims a happy Eid al-Fitr because viewers complained the commercial was too Christmas-y.
In France, halal food is going upscale.
Christian morality meets communist population control: evangelical group Focus on the Family has partnered with Chinese officials to bring its abstinence program to Chinese teens. Muslim couples can find “shariah-approved” products for “sexual health” at El Asira—an online shop attracting 30,000 visits a week.
Teetotaling Mormons in Idaho grow barley for beer brewers.
A Muslim mason who worked to rebuild the Saint Jean Cathedral in Lyon, France, has been immortalized as a winged gargoyle on the facade of the church. The inscription beneath his stone image reads “God is great.” In Germany, a team of researchers have built digital models of synagogues destroyed by Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938.
This is the third of four posts which include my various exam lists for my preliminary exams. This exam is in my “outside area” of Media studies. There’s some great theory on here as well as a lot of stuff dealing with ethnography and representation. It is a little light on the religion side but that’s the point of the “outside” in the title, I guess. The anthropological emphasis of the exam really pushes it into a true “outside area” for a historian like me. As before, if you’re interested in conversation about something you see here, let me know.
Michael J. Altman
Outside Area Exam- Media Studies
Adorno, Theodor W, and M. Horkheimer. 1977. “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as mass deception.” Pp. 350-383 in Mass Communication and Society, edited by James Curran, Michael Gurevitch, and Janet Woollacott. London: Edward Arnold.
Appadurai, Arjun. 1991. “Global Ethnoscapes: Notes and Queries for a Transnational Anthropology.” Pp. 191-210 in Recapturing Anthropology, edited by Richard G. Fox. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.
Baudrillard, Jean. 1980. “The Implosion of Meaning in the Media and the Implosion of the Social in the Masses.” Pp. 137-148 in The Myths of Information: Technology and Postindustrial Culture, edited by Kathleen Woodward. Madison: Coda Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature / Re Bourdieu ; Edited and Introduced by Randal Johnson. edited by Randal Johnson. New York: Columbia University Press.
Fairclough, Norman. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language / an Fairclough. London: Longman.
Fowler, Roger. 1991. Language in the News: Discourse and Ideology in the Press. London: Routledge.
Goffman, Erving. 1981. Forms of Talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hall, Stuart. 1980. “Encoding / Decoding.” Pp. 128-138 in Culture, Media, Language, edited by Stuart Hall, Dorothy Hobson, Andrew Lowe, and Paul Willis. London: Hutchinson.
McQuail, Denis. 2010. McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. Sixth Edition. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Spitulnik, Debra. 1993. “Anthropology and Mass Media.” Annual Review of Anthropology 293-315.
Spitulnik, Debra. 1999. “Media.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 9:148-151.
Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. edited by Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Foucault, Michel. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge ; and, The Discourse on Language. New York: Pantheon Books.
Richardson, John E. 2007. Analysing Newspapers: An Approach from Critical Discourse Analysis. Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wodak, Ruth. 1999. The Discursive Construction of National Identity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Woods, Nicola. 2006. Describing Discourse: A Practical Guide to Discourse Analysis. London: Hodder Arnold.
Karp, Ivan, and Steven Lavine, eds. 1991. Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display / Ed by Ivan Karp and Steven D. Lavine. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Lutz, Catherine, and Jane Lou Collins. 1993. Reading National Geographic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
MacCannell, Dean. 1992. Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers. London: Routledge.
Pratt, Mary Louise. 2008. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
Tomlinson, John. 1991. Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction. London: Pinter Publishers.
Hoover, Stewart M. 2006. Religion in the Media Age. London: Routledge.
Richardson, John E. 2004. (Mis)representing Islam: The Racism and Rhetoric of British Broadsheet Newspapers. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub.
Rothenbuhler, Eric W. 1998. Ritual Communication: From Everyday Conversation to Mediated Ceremony. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Rothenbuhler, Eric W, and Mihai Coman, eds. 2005. Media Anthropology. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
Silk, Mark. 1995. Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Walton, Jonathan L. 2009. Watch This!: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism. New York: New York University Press.
V. Ethnogprahy / Anthropology
Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2005. Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Couldry, Nick. 2007. Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention. New York, N.Y: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dornfeld, Barry. 1998. Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
Hannerz, Ulf. 2004. Foreign News: Exploring the World of Foreign Correspondents. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kosnick, Kira. 2007. Migrant Media: Turkish Broadcasting and Multicultural Politics In Berlin. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Mankekar, Purnima. 1999. Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press.
Peterson, Mark. 2003. Anthropology and Mass Communication : Media and Myth in the New Millenium. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Radway, Janice. 1974. “Interpretive Communities and Variable Literacies.” Daedalus 113:49-73.
Radway, Janice. 1988. “Reception Study: Ethnographyand the problem of disperesed audiences and nomadic subjects.” Cultural Studies 2:359-376.
Spitulnik, Debra. 1993. “Anthropology and Mass Media.” Annual Review of Anthropology 293-315.
Spitulnik, Debra. “Thick Context, Deep Epistemology: A Meditiation on Wide-Angle Lenses on Media, Knowledge Production, and the Concept of Culture.” in Theorising Media and Practice, edited by B. Brauchler and J. Postill. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Spitulnik, Debra. 1998. “Mediated Modernities: Encounters with the Electronic in Zambia.” Visual Anthropology Review 14:63-84.
Spitulnik, Debra. 2002. “Mobile Machines and Fluid Audiences: Rethinking Reception through Zambian Radio Culture.” in Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain, edited by Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Tacchi, Jo. 1998. “Radio Texture: Between Self and Others.” Pp. 25-45 in Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter, edited by Daniel Miller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
VI. Post-Print Media
Baron, Naomi S. 2008. Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.
Morley, David. 1980. The Nationwide Audience: Structure and Decoding. London: British Film Institute.
Tolson, Andrew. 2006. Media Talk: Spoken Discourse on TV and Radio. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
This morning a couple of weird thoughts began to criss-cross in my mind that linked ‘punk’ academics, jam bands, and Theodore Adorno. In the end, I began to see the political edge of the digital humanities in opposing what Adorno and Horkheimer call the “culture industry.”
To start off, I was reading Adorno and Horkheimer’s “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as mass deception” essay and thinking about ways for humanist academics to fight the totalizing power of late capital and the culture industries in the age of new media. Not too heavy, huh?
Then I noticed a great link on twitter about an archive of electroacoustic music being distributed via torrent. I replied that etree.org is another great site that is distributing music via torrent for all sorts of bands in the ‘jam music’ scene, most notably Phish but also Dave Matthews, String Cheese Incident, etc. All of these bands have a liberal taping policy that allows fans to tape their live performances and the distribute them non-commercially. (Another example of this is the Live Music archive over at archive.org, also run by etree.org)
The combination of academia and music reminded me of once hearing about the Do-It-Yourself culture of ‘punk academics.’ Now, I don’t really know that much about punk academics–I did spend most of my teen years listening to punk bands like NOFX, the Descendents, and the Dead Kennedy’s–but thinking about them alongside the open access taping policy of bands like Phish prompts this question:
Don’t we need some ‘jam academics’?
I gave the following paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion to the Religion and Popular Culture Group in November of 2008. This is the first in a series of old conference papers I’m putting on this blog in order to open the up to a larger audience. The full text of the article I discuss is available through the Making of America Collection by Cornell University here .
As many of you may know, this year’s AAR conference here in Chicago coincides with the 115th anniversary of the World’s Parliament of Religion held in this same city. And while there are probably papers being given this weekend championing the importance of the Parliament and what it meant for American religious history, I take a little different perspective. Contrary to the popular narrative that the Parliament served as America’s great introduction to Asian religions in America, my most current and ongoing research project has been to delve into sources prior to the World’s Parliament of Religion in order to build a history for Hinduism in America that precedes, and in some ways preconditions, the World Parliament of Religion.
Today, I would like to use one example from that research to explore two inter-related points regarding colonial knowledge, popular culture, and American religious history. First, as I have partly revealed, I challenge the “great event” history that locates the beginning of Hinduism in America with the World Parliament of Religion. Second, I explore how colonial knowledge seeps through leaks in the colonial project and finds its way into popular culture. I address these points through the example of an 1878 Harper’s New Monthly Magazine article entitled, “Juggernaut.” So, I will begin with a brief background of Harper’s New Monthly . Next, I will move through a close reading of the article, and finally, I will conclude with some thoughts as to how this article addresses these points.