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Global Sceptical Publics

From nonreligious print media to ‘digital atheism’

Edited by Jacob Copeman and Mascha Schulz

ISBN: 9781800083448

Publication: November 01, 2022

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Diverse media ranging from print publications and TV series to ‘new’ forms of social media are crucial for producing and participating in nonreligious publics, debates, controversies and activism. Notably, different media forms can result in distinct dynamics. With some chapters focusing on locations hitherto barely considered by scholarship on nonreligion, Global Sceptical Publics places in comparative perspective the diverse ways in which a variety of religious sceptics, doubters and atheists engage with different forms of media as both means of communication and forming nonreligious publics.

Extending insights from studies of nonreligion to media contexts and vice versa, the volume asks questions such as: what means do nonreligious people employ to publicise their scepticism? What kinds of publics are thereby created? Are such publics directed primarily at educating ‘the public’ or are they instead means for seeking like-minded individuals for community creation? How do mediated nonreligious publics and publicity vary depending on the location and time? Might the internet, in markedly religious countries, have a community-building function in allowing formerly isolated individual atheists to locate and interact with likeminded persons?

With authors from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, the book contributes new insights to the growing field of nonreligion studies, showing in particular how ‘sceptical publics’ can unsettle the often self-evident construction of ‘the public sphere’.

Jacob Copeman is Research Professor, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Distinguished Researcher (Oportunius).

Mascha Schulz is a postdoctoral research fellow on the ERC project ‘Religion and its Others in South Asia and the World (ROSA)’ and based at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Germany).

List of figures
Notes on contributors
Acknowledgements

Foreword
Joseph Blankholm

Introduction: Nonreligion, atheism and sceptical publicity
Jacob Copeman and Mascha Schulz

Part I Aesthetics and visual culture of nonreligion
1. Rationalist camera: Nonreligious techniques of vision in India
Jacob Copeman and John Hagström

2. Performing the secular: Street theatre and songs as ‘secular media’ in Bangladesh and West Bengal
James Bradbury and Mascha Schulz

3. ‘There is no god, Summer’. A critical evaluation of Rick and Morty’s approach to atheism and nihilism
Frank Bosman

4. Aesthetics of the secular
Stefan Binder

5. Gender, affect and atheism on Arabic media
Natalie Khazaal

Part II Mediated scepticism: Historical and contemporary trajectories
6. ‘Apostates’: A new secularising public in the United Kingdom
John Hagström

7. Satan, sex and an Islamist zombie apocalypse: Nonreligion and blasphemy in Turkish cartoons and comic books
Pierre Hecker

8. From campaign and dispute to ‘public service broad/narrow casting’: Secularist and atheist media strategies in Britain and America – A contextual history
David Nash

Part III Atheism and scepticism in a digital age
9. Intimate deconversions: Digital atheist counterpublics on Reddit
Eric Chalfant

10. Pumpkins at the centre of Mars and circlejerks: Do atheists find community online?
Evelina Lundmark

11. From ‘talking among’ to ‘talking back’? Online voices of young Moroccan nonbelievers
Lena Richter

12. Ungodly visuals: Confrontations, religion and affect in the everyday lives of atheists in India
Neelabh Gupta

Afterword
Johannes Quack

Index

Format: Open Access PDF

357 Pages

11 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2022

ISBN: 9781800083448

Publication: November 01, 2022

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