Prof. Dr. Heidi A. Campbell
Professor and Presidential Impact Fellow, Texas A&M University
Fellow am CAIS von Januar 2020 bis März 2020
This project investigates how digital media shapes public perceptions of the “religious other” online by studying dominant messages Internet memes communicate about religious minority groups online. Internet memes are visual-textual, communication tools using ideas from global popular culture to present distinct assumptions about people and events. My previous research on 500+ religious internet memes found memes tend to primarily present negative framings of religious people’s beliefs and practices. This study extends this work by comparing and contrasting dominant stereotypes memes promote about Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons and Catholics. This leads to critical reflection on how digital discourses shape conceptions of religion within a technological society. By drawing Martin Buber’s ethics of the ‘other’ into conversation with Feminist Standpoint Theory, I seek to develop an ethical approach for responding to religious bias in Internet memes. Specifically I ask, can we turn mean memes into caring conversation in a digital age?