Religious Studies


International Society for Media, Religion and Culture

4-6 August 2014 / post-conference workshop 7 August 2014

Over the past decade the study of media, religion and culture has broadened out from interests in media representation to thinking about the religious uses and aesthetics of media, the significance of media for religion in public life, and the role of media technologies for new forms of religious life and practice.

Building on this, this conference will explore how we can understand societies in which much public encounter with religion takes place through media and in which religious life takes place through a multiplicity of mediated practices and networks. It will explore questions such as what difference do media content, aesthetics, technologies and networks make to the ways in which religion is understood and practiced? And how do we understand the nature of power in relation to these mediated networks and practices?

Keynote speakers will include Professor Jonathan Walton (Harvard), author of Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism, and Professor Kathryn Lofton (Yale), author of Oprah: the Gospel of an Icon, with an address also given by the inaugural President of the society, Professor Stewart Hoover (Colorado).

The conference programme can now be download in PDF format from here. Abstracts for conference papers are also available for download in the following three separate files:


Canterbury is one of Britain’s oldest towns, with settlements dating back before Roman times. It has a long religious history, from its role in the spread of Christianity through England in the sixth century to the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, in the Cathedral in 1170 which led to Becket’s shrine becoming one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in medieval Europe. The city centre still contains a number of historic buildings, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Britain. The city is still relatively small, and a wide range of shops, restaurants, parks and museums are all within easy walking distance of the conference venue and hotels. Canterbury also has the main ground of the Kent County Cricket team, for those curious to learn more about England’s main summer sport.

The county of Kent is a largely rural part of England, with a wide range of beaches, outstanding countryside and major historical sites. For anyone wanting to extend their conference into a longer holiday, more information about Kent as a holiday destination is available at

Cafes and Restaurants

As a popular tourist and holiday destination, Canterbury has a wide range of cafes and restaurants. You’ll find plenty of good restaurants here run by national chains mostly along the main High Street (like Prezzo, Wagamama, and Carluccio’s), but we would also point you towards some of the independent, locally-run places:

  • Deesons Less than two minutes walk from the Cathedral gate, Deesons offers British cuisine, with the menu mainly taken from produce sourced from the owner’s own small-holding outside Canterbury.
  • The Goods Shed Housed in an old rail building next to Canterbury West station, the Goods Shed combines a farmers market, stalls for other small food producers (including take-away food), and a restaurant which offers British cuisine with the menu largely taken from the stalls in the farmers market. Well worth a visit.
  • Café Mauresque Again, only two minutes walk from the Cathedral Gate, Café Mauresque offers a wide range of food from Spanish tapas to North African and Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • The Veg Box cafe Located above Canterbury’s main wholefoods shop, the Veg Box café offers a range of vegetarian and vegan food (note closes at 6pm).
  • Kitch Healthy-eating café serving breakfast/lunch, as well as teas, coffees and cakes, with good vegetarian and vegan options.

There is a wide range of cafes available in town as well, and some of the best independent ones are The Chocolate Café (Guildhall Street), Brunch (High Street), Cucina Carraccio (Palace Street), Chives café (above the Waterstones bookshop on Margarets Street) and Willows Secret Kitchen (Stour Street) which can make you an excellent coffee with a vintage vaccum coffee machine. Madame Oiseau’s (8, The Borough – just beyond Palace Street) should also be mentioned if you like home-made chocolates.


Religious Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Religious Studies

Last Updated: 31/07/2014