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Religion and Media IV: Performances

Session Chair: N.N. | Friday, August 28, 1:30-3 p.m. | Venue

Kathrin Kohle

Modern Revivalists on a Mission. Televangelism, Media and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism

American Televangelism is as old as the widespread use of television itself. From the 1930´s until today two aspects characterize(d) this phenomenon: the strong links to 18th and 19th century Revivalism and the ability to progress and advance simultaneously to the enhancements of media. This paper seeks to present a short history of American Televangelism by describing these two aspects by means of revealing different approaches of central Televangelists. It will focus on questions such as: Which are central narratives that are common? What role does the so called “prosperity gospel” play? How can viewers relate to Televangelists and connect to their ministries? It will be shown how the activist/missionary component of evangelicalism and modern media such as television and internet (homepages, Facebook etc.) establish ties between tradition and invention and how ideas are represented and reframed over time.

Chikas Danfulani

“Godfession Tunes:” An Analysis of Religious Caller Tunes and Messages of MTN Nigeria

Subscribers of Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) in Nigeria are increasingly experiencing a daily influx of text messages from their service provider. A number of these messages are advertisements for customers to subscribe to certain products. Recently, emphasis is shifting from pure commercial products to include a catalogue of religious products presented as caller tunes, prayers, and specialized sermons. Responses to such advertisements are apparent in the use of religious caller tunes by subscribers. This raises questions bothering on why MTN, a purely commercial organization provides religious services and what could account for the growing interest by subscribers. Using the market theory and the concept of everyday life to analyze data from text massages of subscribers and interviews with selected consumers in Jos, the paper demonstrates that the emergent interest in consuming religiously based MTN products is a response to increasing religiosity of Nigerians due largely to a number of factors.

Giulia Giubergia

Religious motifs, signs and symbols on the walls of Cairo after 2011

On January 25, 2011, the streets and squares of Downtown Cairo became sites of multiple discourses, which were contested, embraced, transformed and often translated in visual form. Posters, installations, graffiti appeared in the Cairo’s public space, delivering a multiplicity of messages and engaging in a dialogical interaction with the streets and within themselves. The aim of this paper is to unpack the different levels of meaning of this variety of images, focusing on religious motifs, signs and symbols and how they are articulated, interpreted and contested on the walls and in the streets. Moreover, I will analyze how these visual signs transform Downtown Cairo in a material, performative and symbolic sacred space. In particular, I will focus on Mohammad Mahmud Street where Ancient Egyptian deities, Koranic verses, angel-looking martyrs, and many other images share the same physical space (the wall) making this street an exemplary place of negotiation and contention.


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Open Sessions

Thematic Outline

University Map (pdf, 192 KB)