When Internet Memes are Mean: Reading and Responding to Religious Bias in Memes
This project investigates how digital media shapes public perceptions of the “religious other” online by studying dominant messages Internet memes communicate about religious minority groups online. Internet memes are visual-textual, communication tools using ideas from global popular culture to present distinct assumptions about people and events. My previous research on 500+ religious internet memes found memes tend to primarily present negative framings of religious people’s beliefs and practices. This study extends this work by comparing and contrasting dominant stereotypes memes promote about Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons and Catholics. This leads to critical reflection on how digital discourses shape conceptions of religion within a technological society. By drawing Martin Buber’s ethics of the ‘other’ into conversation with Feminist Standpoint Theory, I seek to develop an ethical approach for responding to religious bias in Internet memes. Specifically I ask, can we turn mean memes into caring conversation in a digital age?
Main Research Topics
- Digital Media/Internet Studies
- Digital Religion Studies
- Ethics in Technology & Communication
- Media, Religion & Culture
- 2019–present: Presidential Impact Fellow, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas (USA)
- 2018–present: Professor of Communication, Department of Communication, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas (USA)
- 2018: Harron Family Endowed Chair in Communication, Department of Communication, Villanova University, Villanova, PA (USA)
- 2011–2018: Associate Professor of Communication, Department of Communication, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas (USA)
- 2012: Senior Co-Fund Fellow (2012), St Johns College, University of Durham (UK)
Lectures and Publications
- Campbell, Heidi A. (forthcoming). Digital Creatives and the Rethinking of Religious Authority. London: Routledge.
- Campbell, Heidi A. & Evolvi, G. (2019). Contextualizing Current Digital Religion Research on Emerging Technologies, Journal of Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies. 1(3): 1–13. URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/hbe2.149
- Campbell, Heidi A. (2018). Religion and Internet, Vol. 1-3, Mapping the Rise of the Study of Religious Practice Online, London: Routledge.
- Campbell, Heidi A., Joiner, L. & Lawrence, S., (2018). Responding to the Meme-ing of the Religious Other, Journal of Religion and Communication, 14(2): 27-42.
- Campbell, Heidi A., Arredondo, K., Dundas, K., & Wolf, C. (2018). The Dissonance of “Civil” Religion in Religious-Political Memetic Discourse During the 2016 Presidential Elections, Social Media+Society, https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305118782678.
- Campbell, Heidi A. (2017). Religious Communication and Technology, The Annals of the ICA, 41(3-4).