Religionswissenschaft und Religionsgeschichte



Imagining Europe. Normativity, Identity and Diversity in Visual and Material Culture

International Exchange on Media and Religion



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Religion, Media and Normativity

The new project of the International Exchange on Media and Religion focuses on a theoretical question that has so far been neglected in research on media and religion. We are interested in deepening the normative dimension of (audio-)visual and material communication within religious traditions and in exploring their influence on broader cultural contexts. The theoretical reflection about the normative significance and impact of (audio-)visual and material communication is articulated on different levels:

  • the normative dimensions in theoretical approaches to religion in visual and material culture from different disciplinary perspectives;
  • the normative dimensions on the empirical level within historical and / or contemporary sources as well as in transmission processes within religious traditions and cultures;
  • the normative dimension in the hermeneutical reflection that links theoretical frames with empirical aspects of research in religion.

These general questions will be discussed dealing with a selected, concrete question: the representation of Europe with a particular focus on material and visual culture.

Imagining Europe

In the contemporary society, “Europe” is a broadly debated concept. The project focuses on the normative aspects and impacts of (audio-)visual and material communication that shapes general ideas of Europe as a common, yet ambivalent and contested frame for identity processes. Particularly, we are interested in the role of religion in visual and material culture and the related practices that produce an idea of Europe as a common ground, in a spatial, temporal, or societal sense. By considering the religious dimensions of historical or contemporary aspects of European culture, the case studies could focus on questions like:

  • material, visual, or medial representations of Europe and their normative performance,
  • the relationship between dominant and subversive medial representations of Europe,
  • dynamics of and transformations in representing of Europe,
  • the negotiation of diversity and equality in representing Europe,
  • localisation and specificity of different representation of Europe and their norma-tive agendas in European countries,
  • localisation and specificity of different representation of Europe and their normative agendas in countries in other continents,
  • identity processes linked to representations of Europe.