Digital Media and Sacred Text: Call for Papers

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Digital Media and Sacred Text: Call for Papers

Monday June 17th, Open University (Camden), London

Keynote Speaker: Professor Heidi A Campbell (Texas A&M University)

The first attempts to use computers to analyse sacred texts began in the 1950s. Over subsequent decades, religious believers have developed their own handheld e-readers, mobile apps, sophisticated software analysis tools, libraries of old and new commentary, and online discussion communities. Groups from many different religious traditions have been forced to consider new norms for the digital storage of sacred texts and for the appropriate use of e-readers in places of worship.

The academic study of digital religion has grown into a thriving field, but we still know very little about the impact of digital media on sacred text and audiences. This one-day conference will bring together academics interested in the study of digital sacred text from a wide range of religious traditions, including sociologists, ethnographers, media scholars, computer scientists, digital humanists and theologians. We also welcome religious practitioners and publishers engaged in creating digital sacred texts.

Possible topics include:

– How can digital media affect the relationship between a religious reader and their sacred text?
– Does digitisation influence the interpretation of a text?
– What norms are emerging to guide the use of digital sacred texts, and how are those norms being negotiated?
– How can digital sacred texts be designed to meet the needs of religious readers?
– What challenges does the process of digitizing sacred text raise for religious communities?

If you would like to present a paper at this event, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words by April 15th to Tim Hutchings (

Thanks to generous funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we are able to offer a small number of bursaries to cover travel expenses for PhD students. Contact Dr Hutchings for further details.

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