Exploring the Digitalization of Religion: New Research Explores Virtual Belonging and Religious Practices, Germany

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The digitalization of religion is a topic that is still relatively unexplored in academia despite its profound impact on society. Recognizing the need to investigate this evolving phenomenon, the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics has announced its annual theme for 2023/24, which will focus on the exploration of the digitalization of religion.

Professor Dr. Angelika Lohwasser, an Egyptologist and the coordinator of the annual theme, emphasizes that digitalization has the power to transform various aspects of society, including religion and research on religion. From October 24, the Cluster of Excellence will offer a range of formats to shed light on how digital tools can revolutionize religious research and delve into the realm of religion in digital worlds.

Traditional religious communities are already adopting digital platforms, such as web and social media, apps, and artificial intelligence, to explore new forms of religious expression, including digital prayers, online confessionals, and web-based fatwas. Simultaneously, ideological movements are utilizing the internet to propagate conspiracy theories intertwined with religious themes. However, there has been a dearth of comprehensive studies examining these forms of affiliation and mobilization.

To address this gap in research, the annual theme will showcase current studies conducted at the Cluster of Excellence through workshop reports, webquests, lecture series, film screenings, and panel discussions. The intention is to foster interdisciplinary conversations among researchers from various disciplines, as well as engage religious communities and the general public in understanding the digitalization of religion.

Developed in collaboration with the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) at the University of Münster, the annual program, titled The digitalization of religion: Participation and belonging in a networked world, was curated by Professor Dr. Angelika Lohwasser, Professor Dr. Jan Keupp, Dr. Marcel Bubert, Professor Dr. Thorsten Quandt, Professor Dr. Dorothea Schulz, and Dr. Jan Horstmann.

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The annual theme will commence on October 24 with a public lecture by Protestant theologians PD Dr. Frederike van Oorschot and Dr. Christopher Nunn. Their lecture, titled Sidetrack or fast lane? Theological research in the tracks of the Digital Humanities, will explore the implications of digital tools for theological research. Subsequently, starting from November 7, a series of workshops will be conducted where Cluster of Excellence members will present their projects, including eminent scholars such as Prof. Dr. Hubert Wolf, Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf, Prof. Dr. Lutz Doering, Prof. Dr. Ines Weinrich, and PD Dr. Felicity Jensz.

The annual theme for the winter term of 2023/24 will concentrate on the utilization of digital tools for religion and research on religion. According to Professor Dr. Angelika Lohwasser, digital humanities (DH) tools offer ground-breaking possibilities for indexing, editing, and analyzing historical sources, religious writings, and cultural materials. Furthermore, when combined with geographical, personal, and cultural data, DH has the potential to establish a global network of knowledge.

In the summer term of 2024, the annual theme will shift its focus toward exploring diverse religious practices in digital worlds. Professor Dr. Thorsten Quandt highlights that various religious organizations, authorities, and groups have approached the opportunities provided by digitalization differently. Some remain steadfastly analog, while others actively embrace social media, apps, and artificial intelligence. Lectures, discussions, and a film series titled Digital and transhuman? will delve into topics such as religion and gaming and Islamic social media practices in Southeast Asia.

In conclusion, the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics is embarking on a deep exploration of the digitalization of religion. Through its annual theme for 2023/24, the Cluster aims to uncover new insights into the impact of digitalization on religious practices and research. By engaging researchers, religious communities, and the general public, the Cluster hopes to shed light on this evolving phenomenon and its far-reaching consequences.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the annual theme for 2023/24 announced by the University of Münster's Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics?

The annual theme for 2023/24 is The digitalization of religion: Participation and belonging in a networked world.

Who is the coordinator of the annual theme?

Professor Dr. Angelika Lohwasser, an Egyptologist, is the coordinator of the annual theme.

What is the objective of investigating the digitalization of religion?

The objective is to explore how digital tools can revolutionize religious research and delve into the realm of religion in digital worlds.

How are traditional religious communities utilizing digital platforms?

Traditional religious communities are adopting digital platforms like web and social media, apps, and artificial intelligence to explore new forms of religious expression, such as digital prayers, online confessionals, and web-based fatwas.

What will the annual theme showcase?

The annual theme will showcase current studies conducted at the Cluster of Excellence through workshop reports, webquests, lecture series, film screenings, and panel discussions.

Who has collaborated with the University of Münster for this annual program?

The Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) at the University of Münster has collaborated for this annual program.

When will the annual theme commence?

The annual theme will commence on October 24 with a public lecture by Protestant theologians PD Dr. Frederike van Oorschot and Dr. Christopher Nunn.

What topics will be explored in the annual theme's workshops?

The workshops will cover various topics including indexing, editing, and analyzing historical sources, religious writings, cultural materials, religion and gaming, Islamic social media practices in Southeast Asia, among others.

What possibilities do digital humanities (DH) tools offer for religion and research on religion?

DH tools offer ground-breaking possibilities for indexing, editing, and analyzing historical sources, religious writings, and cultural materials.

What will the summer term of 2024 focus on?

The summer term of 2024 will focus on exploring diverse religious practices in digital worlds, including topics like religion and gaming and Islamic social media practices in Southeast Asia.

What is the aim of the Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics through this annual theme?

The aim is to uncover new insights into the impact of digitalization on religious practices and research, and to engage researchers, religious communities, and the general public in understanding this evolving phenomenon.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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