Media Ideologies, Contested Authenticities, and Socality Barbie by Travis Cooper, Indiana University
This month the Religion and Culture Web Forum turns its gaze toward the social media phenomenon @socalitybarbie. In his paper "Media Ideologies, Contested Authenticities, and Socality Barbie," Travis Cooper explores the evangelical Christian roots of this selfie-taking sensation, showing how an Instagram account can contribute to scholarly discussions of taste regimes, religious authenticity, and creative self-fashioning.
Travis Cooper is an associate instructor and graduate student in anthropology and religious studies at Indiana University. His research interests include method and theory in the study of religion, language communities, discourse analysis, new media, critical ethnography, and social theory. He's currently conducting fieldwork for his dissertation project among emerging evangelical communities in the North American Midwest.
The Martin Marty Center's Religion and Culture Web Forum is an online forum for thought-provoking discussion on the relationship of scholarship in religion to culture and public life. Each month the Marty Center, the research arm of the University of Chicago Divinity School, invites a scholar of religion to comment on his or her own research in a way that "opens out" to themes, problems, and events in world cultures and contemporary life. Scholars from diverse fields of study are invited to offer responses to these commentaries.
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The Religion and Culture Web Forum is edited by Emily D. Crews, Divinity School PhD student in the History of Religions.