Call for Papers on Digital Religion

The Donner institute will arrange a Symposium
13-15 June 2012 in Åbo / Turku, Finland
Digital religion

Place: Åbo Akademi University
Asa Fänriksgatan 3 / Vänrikinkatu 3
Åbo / Turku/

The theme we have chosen for the Donner Institute 23rd Symposium is Digital Religion. The conference “Digital Religion” aims to explore the complex relationship between religion and digital technologies of communication. Digital religion encompasses a myriad of connections between religion and digital technologies of communication and the goal of the conference is to approach the subject from multiple perspectives.

Developments in digital technologies are having a noticeably growing impact on the very character and nature of contemporary religious life and practice across the globe. Digital technologies of communication – epitomized in the continuing development and proliferation of the Internet and online modes of communication – are providing religious communities of virtually all strands with new means, environments and arenas within and through which to interact, express, and communicate their message in ways unknown to previous generations.

For many religious communities, this development has undoubtedly brought a whole host of challenges. Many religious communities today find themselves struggling with how to come to terms with a rapidly expanding Internet-based communications environment that challenges traditional understandings of religious mediation and religious authority.
Nevertheless, there are also religious communities that have faced the challenges head on and come to thrive thanks to the new technologies or whose very existence is dependent on e.g. the Internet.

From a scholarly perspective, this development is intimately connected to ongoing debates about the impact of accelerating processes of mediatization and digitalization on contemporary religious life and practice. Though religion has colonized many different forms of digital media, it has also doubtlessly been altered by the media. This process is, however, complex and moves in several directions. Though digital technologies no doubt transform religion and the contemporary religious landscape, religion too can be argued to have an impact on the digital world.

Subjects for papers include but are not limited to the following:

– Theoretical, methodological and historical approaches to “digital religion”
– Empirical studies of “religion on line”, “online religion”, and the relation between “online” and “offline” religion
– New media and transnational religious networks
– Challenges and/or opportunities for religions by digital media
– The Internet as an arena for religious/spiritual community
– Authority and legitimacy in digital religion
– Technological development and religious change
– Religion and digital media: appropriations, configurations, impacts
– Digital religion: generational, demographic, and geographical aspects
– Religious communicational strategies and digital technologies

Keynote speakers:
Ass. Prof. Heidi Campbell, Texas A & M University, Texas
Prof. Mia Lövheim, Uppsala University, Sweden
Prof. Jolyon Mitchell, University of Edinburg, UK
Dr. Marcus Moberg, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
Dr. Alexander Ornella, University of Hull, UK
Prof. Michael Pye, Phillips-Universität Marburg, Germany
Dr. Sofia Sjö, Åbo Akademi University, Finland


Please send your application to give a paper, with a short abstract included, to the Donner Institute no later than February 15 2012.

20 minutes will be reserved for your lecture followed by 10 minutes for discussion.

Finally, we would like to inform you that the lectures will be published, in English, French or German, in volume 25 of the Donner Institute series Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis. The published version of your lecture may be longer than the one you present at the symposium. We will be happy to receive a digital and publishable version of your lecture already at the symposium but no later than October 31 2012.


The registration fee is 150 €. (75 € for accompanying person)

The fee should be paid by the end of April 2012.
Account number: Nordea FI 12 20571800020055  NDEAFIHH
Name of the accountholder: Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi (Foundation of Åbo Akademi University)

The registration fee includes an excursion and a banquet organised in connection with the symposium.

Please indicate in your registration whether you wish to participate in the excursion and the banquet.


Donner institute
PB 70
FIN-20501 Åbo / Turku
Tel.: +358 20 786 1450


Tore Ahlbäck, Joakim Alander, Björn Dahla,
Ruth Illman and Anna Nyman