|Religion Counts: Demographic Technologies and the Politics of Surveillance|
The Religion and Media Workshop, one of the most popular sessions at the AAR annually, was a resounding success in 2009, inspiring new conversations and collaborations in the study of religion and media. The 2010 Religion and Media Workshop promises to be equally rich.
This year’s workshop takes its cue from the 2010 United States census. This classic procedure for enumerating and defining the national population (and, indeed, the nation itself) will be reenacted via a novel assemblage of information technologies and other media. Although the 2010 United States Census cannot include mandatory questions about religion, it nonetheless raises a set of critical questions about the relationship of religion to population, politics, state surveillance, and the media technologies that bind these together — questions that resonate well beyond the American context. The political technologies of “number” affect religious minorities in Europe, South Asia, and elsewhere; they articulate the contours of religious populations in diaspora; and, via the circulation of religious texts and objects, they hail imagined communities and counter-publics that undermine the boundaries of the nation-state. This year’s Religion and Media Workshop will foreground the question of when and how religion counts — how religion relates to the technologies of number, how religious groups become visible as enumerable “populations,” and how certain kinds of religious collectives remain both uncounted and uncountable.
We invite you to join a discussion of these themes with leading reporters, performers, and academics. Our unique three-part workshop includes panels, multimedia presentations, and small group discussions. Our morning program features a series of interdisciplinary panels on surveillance, demographic technologies, mapping, and governmentality across religious traditions and in a variety of geographic contexts. In the afternoon, an intensive discussion of how these themes articulate the knowledge produced by the U.S. Census will amplify the critical vocabularies developed throughout the day. As always, there will be ample time for small thematic lunch-time conversations around issues of urgent relevance to the study of religion and media.
You may register for the Workshop through the Annual Meeting registration system at www.aarweb.org/Meetings/Annual_Meeting/Current_Meeting/registration.asp.