Call for Papers
Islam and the Media
January 7-10, 2010
Submission Deadline: May 15, 2009
The Center for Media, Religion and Culture
School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado, Boulder
The events of September 11, 2001 have unleashed an unprecedented period of global re-thinking of issues in media and religion. Islam has emerged as a major focus of inquiry and debate, but the interaction between contemporary Islam and the media has rarely been addressed. This conference will thus engage a set of questions on the place of Islam within global, regional, national and local media.
If we believe the torrent of popular headlines on Islam today, it seems that only Muslim extremists are talking about their religion, pursuing a project that claims to defend it from “secularized” Western culture. From Bin Laden’s call to jihad to the angry reaction of Muslims to the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, Muslims are portrayed in the media as irrational followers of a religion adamantly out of step with modernity. In the face of this, and perhaps in order to balance their coverage of Islam, Western journalists, pundits, and others have been asking “where are the moderate Muslims?” But few true moderates have emerged. Instead, some Western media have turned to another extreme: Muslim secularists or “Muslim non-believers”–voices which deserve media attention, but which arguably stand at the opposite fringe, rather than nearer the center of how Islam is lived and understood today.