Research Focus

Technology, Religion, Spirituality and the Sacred

Stephen Petrina and Franc Feng, Principal Investigators
Yu-Ling Lee,  Graduate Researcher

How does the technological enter into the spiritual? How does the spiritual enter into the technological? Or is it already there, as Latour contends, preserved in premodern consciousness and cosmology, always already manifest? Conventional, specialized treatments of technology, religion, spirituality and the sacred allow for in-depth exploration but do not account for recent transformations. Hence, we acknowledge a new imperative for re-mapping of technology, religion, spirituality and the sacred rooted in what Heidegger and Arendt might call our techno-onto-theo-eco-logical condition— to include everyday encounters with technopaganism, transcendental materialism, technosecularism, technoexistentialism and technosectarianism. There are various dimensions to these encounters, indicating coexistence, continuities and continua rather than oppositions. This research project is generative, providing in-depth analyses of specific trends accented by and through technology, religion, spirituality, and the sacred.

learning, new media, and curriculum as theological text

Yu-Ling Lee, Graduate Researcher

I conducted a year long ethnographic research project in the lives of Christian undergraduate students on a lower mainland campus. My findings suggest that Christian students use the Internet as extensions of their lives. Online technologies are used for leisure, gathering information, and enhancing spirituality. They may experiment with their faith online, but ultimately find their primary spiritual experiences through embodied activities together: attending church, sharing meals, communal bible studies, and living together in communal housing.

Building on this, I am proposing to examine the complex relationship between learning, new media, and curriculum as theological text. I will investigate how religious communities have adopted online technologies, and explore how online practices pose new challenges and opportunities to offline religious community and culture. Of particular interest is how youth are using new media for their personal, communal, educational, and spiritual development. My study focuses on Christian youth and new media by examining how they construct knowledge, discover meaning, and develop values that inform their faith. The knowledge advanced will help update our understanding of curriculum as theological text as first posited by Pinar (2008). My study will offer a substantive contribution by exploring the interrelationships between theological text, curriculum, and new media.

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