Archive for 2019

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[Commlist] New book: Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural

Fri Oct 18 19:43:30 GMT 2019

It's my pleasure to announce the publication of the book "Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural," edited by Simone Natale and Diana Pasulka and published by Oxford University Press.

Believing in Bits advances the idea that religious beliefs and practices have become inextricably linked to the functioning of digital media. How did we come to associate things such as mindreading and spirit communications with the functioning of digital technologies? How does theinternet’s capacity to facilitate the proliferation of beliefs blur the boundaries between what is considered fiction and fact? Addressing these and similar questions, the volume challenges and redefines established understandings of digital media and culture by employing the notions of belief, religion, and the supernatural.

“Human beings and their technological creations, including and especially their modern digital technologies, reflect, express, and intensify their fundamental strangeness. Scholars have long known that the history of religions is intimately related to the history of technology, from the ancient practices of agriculture, writing, the domestication of the horse, and the forging of iron, to the more recent invention of the printing press and the telegraph and telephone. This book takes that key insight into the present and near future, to the cell phone in your pocket, the computer game on your screen, and the VR system strapped around your skull. This book takes that key insight into the human-techno cyborg that is you.”

Jeffrey J. Kripal, author ofSecret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions

“Believing in Bitsis a guide to why media technologies are magical: they create beliefs, manipulate thoughts, make us see things. After reading this wonderful collection of essays, you realize why the most natural thing about media is that they are supernatural. This book is full of media archaeological joys and insightful contemporary readings.”

Jussi Parikka, Professor of Technological Culture & Aesthetics, University of Southampton

Simone Nataleis a Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, UK.

Diana Pasulka is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington,and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

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