Friday, December 12, 2008

Digital Islam

I just joined Digital Islam: Research on Middle East, Islam and Digital Media. I am expecting to be happy I did. It looks like an amazing site and community of scholars and resources. One thing that stuck me is the long list of video games dealing with images of Islam and the Middle East. The above image is taken from Kuma War - Battle in Sadr City. Kuma, the company making the game, is affiliated with Stars and Stripes magazine and Military Spot, the US army's web portal. The critical reading of such games should be an essential skill developed in language and cultural studies education today.
The reason behind my contact with Digital Islam is the submission of an abstract for a paper (Digital Space and Religion: Representing the Sacred in 3D Virtual Worlds) for the conference “Changing Societies – Values, Religions, and Education” here at Umeå University next year (June 9-13). I recommend it to anyone interested in the subjects:

At present societal changes take place in societies worldwide. As a result of this, issues related to value changes surface. Issues related to democracy, to identities, cultures and ethnicity are brought to the fore. Through migration, the patterns of religious activities are also changing. The presence of citizens with more varied religious affiliations, some with new understandings of the role that religions play in society, poses new questions to respond to. Gender relations are another societal area where changes are taking place. The roles of women and men – or girls and boys – and equity between them have become crucial issues and are nowadays complexly interwoven with the others mentioned above.

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