Religion, Media & Culture: Constituting transnational Chinese NGO Work

The A.T. Steele Lecture, ASU's Center for Asian Research

Dr. Pauline Hope Cheong, Associate Professor with the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, will present recent research findings from a multi-method funded research project, on one of the largest Chinese spiritual NGOs in the world with more than 10 million members worldwide. Contrary to the predictions of secularization theory, various religious organizations in Asia have grown in tandem with modernization and the vertiginous rise of digital and social media.  This presentation will discuss their growing significance and influence by addressing the communicative dynamics that constitute their local and transnational organization. In particular, attention will be paid in examining the changing nature of spiritual authority and community, in light of strategic and interactive digital technology appropriation. Multiple communicative practices and paradoxes in religious organizing will be discussed, with implications for how digital media can facilitate new faith networks, aid global humanitarian outreach and environmental care, and thereby improve human well-being in Asia and across the world.

Dr. Cheong serves on the Executive Committee of the Center of Asian Research at ASU. Her research interests cover the interrelations between digital media and culture, including how religious communities appropriate various media for identity, authority and community building. She has published over 60 books and articles, and has also served as lead editor for Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture: Perspectives, Practices, Futures, and New Media and Intercultural Communication: Identity, Community and Politics.

April 5, 2016
12:00 to 1:30 p.m.