The July issue of the South Asian Popular Culture journal has two essays related to religion online. I copy their abstracts here and hopefully I can access the full articles soon.
Desktop deities: Hindu temples, online cultures and the politics of remediation
Pages 109 – 121
This study examines Hindu temples on the Web by focusing on three key types, the temple homepage, the commercial puja site and the Hindu discourse site. It argues that Hindu temples sites demonstrate the emergence of what I call ‘desktop deity culture,’ constituted through the practices of digital darshan, online rituals and virtual Hinduism. These Web practices in turn exemplify the ‘remediation’ (Bolter and Grusin) of new media conceptualizations of digitality, network capital flows, hypertextuality and virtuality as they are articulated to ideas of the Hindu image, embodied ritual practice and the temporal and spatial logic of the temple as sacred place. Remediation in Bolter and Grusin’s influential theorization of new media is a refashioning characterized by a ‘double logic’ whereby new media ‘remediate and are remediated by their predecessors’ (55). Hindu temple sites, I argue, are repurposing ‘older’ media forms such as photographs of deities, Hindu calendar art, the analog sacred texts and temple books, audio tapes of religious discourse through their textual and discursive practices of representing online temples. Likewise, aspects of digital media such as hypertextual connectivity, virtual forms of dis/embodiment and im/materiality and mobile flows of capital and culture are deployed to pay service to place-centric, embodied and material practices shaping Hindu temple cultures. In this remediation of Hindu representational forms and material practices with new media ideologies and practices, both Hindu temples and new media as cultural forms are reinvented as ‘desktop deity cultures.’
Muslim punks online: A diasporic Pakistani music subculture on the Internet
Pages 181 – 194
This article seeks to explore how Internet media is shaping transnationally-mediated South Asian music subcultures. Rather than serve as a literature review of new media and South Asian popular culture, this paper is especially interested in how particular music websites, discussion forums, social networking sites, and IP-based technologies in general are facilitating the creation of progressive South Asian virtual spaces. One particular South Asian musical scene, ‘Taqwacore’, a transnational Muslim punk music scene, is used as a case study. Reference is made to other non-Muslim diasporic South Asian musical scenes including Asian electronic music and Bhangra as well to contextualize Taqwacore. Ethnographic research (participant observation and interviewing) was conducted both online and offline using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs, discussion groups, and face-to-face meetings.