SHANNON TROSPER SCHOREY
SHANNON TROSPER SCHOREY
I am a researcher, writer, teacher, and Ph.D. Candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thanks to the generosity of the UNC Dissertation Completion Fellowship, I am currently finishing my dissertation “The Internet is Holy. Code is Law.” Religion and the Fight for the Future of the Internet. My teaching, speaking, and publication record are all reflective of my deep interest and training in the ways in which culture, religious thought and practice, and technology shape one another. For more about this work, see below.
"The Internet is Holy. Code is Law." Religion and the Fight for the Future of the Internet ties three content chapters on hacking and open source programming, surveillance technologies, and Transhumanism together by contextualizing the ways in which technological cultures have been historically informed by Western religious values. This project is a contribution to the "material turn" in Religious Studies, and seeks to draw attention to the ways in which technological mediums are never apolitical nor neutral, but are instead structured by, and structuring of, the cultural context from which they emerge. This project is also a contribution to the study of secularism, as it investigates the historical particularities and contributions of religion to the continued development of secularism in the United States since the mid-twentieth century.
Academic publications about the study of religion and media, new religious movements, theories of information, the philosophy of information technologies, hacktivism, open source, and surveillance appear in ASRR, Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, Oxford Handbook of Scientology and Finding Religion in the Media: Work in Progress on the Third Spaces of Digital Religion.
Online writing for public and general audiences about pedagogy, Religious Studies, and religion and technology appear in Religion Dispatches, Studying Religion in Culture, Bulletin for the Study of Religion and Third Spaces: Media, Religion, and Culture.
My research has benefited from presentation at national and international venues, including the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2010), and the International Society for Media, Religion, Culture (2014, 2012).
My graduate work has also been generously supported by the UNC Dissertation Completion Fellowship, the Future Faculty Fellowship Program, the Miller Travel Award, the Eaton Travel Grant, the Garner Fellowship, and The Best Should Teach Silver Award for Graduate Teaching.
Religion and Media
Religion and Secularism Studies
Science and Technology Studies
Philosophy of Technology
Philosophical Approaches to Religion
As an educator my classrooms are fundamentally informed by my positionality as a researcher at the intersection of the fields of religion, science, and media. This does not mean that the content of my courses is restrained to the materials of my immediate research, but rather that my courses and my research are driven by the same core questions and concerns. In both ventures I am committed to thinking through the ways we use both language and things to build and demarcate our social worlds. That is, I want to teach students to engage with the world around them in such a way that they begin to identify and question not only the power of language and categories (what is religion? what is the secular?) but also the structuring power of technologies and science -- those artifacts that seem divested of meaning and inherently neutral but that are actually the results of specific historical, cultural, and geographical locations. My goal as a teacher is to think alongside my students about how the world around them gets made, maintained, and extended through relations of power that work both through and between ideas and material things. In short, my classes ask my students to think with me about one fundamental question: what kinds of worlds are we making through our words (language, categories), things (materials), and the relations established between them?
(RELI 325) Religion, Magic, and Science: Monstrous Hybrids
Syllabus here. This course serves as a critical exploration of the ways in which religion, magic, and science have been constructed as distinct domains of knowledge in the West since the late 19th century.
To guide us we will focus on the hybrid forms proliferating at each intellectual and practical attempt to purify nature from society, the natural from artificial, human from nonhuman, living from dead, animate from inanimate, and religion-from-magic-from-science. Very often these hybrids have been cast as monstrous -demanding dread, control, and anxiety in exchange for the boundary work that they themselves necessarily defy. As a class we look at a few of these hybrids in order to ask how the act of classification is entangled with the production of monsters.
(RELI 135) Technology, the Self, and Ethical Problems
Syllabus here. This course serves as an introduction to the academic study of religion as well as the methodological and theoretical approaches of Cultural Studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS).
The first half of the course will ask: What is religion? What is technology? We will focus on different ways to conceptualize religion, agency, technological determinism, politics, materiality, and the secular. What is at stake in each of these analytics? Who gets to decide?
The last half of the course will survey case studies that work to 1) orient students to the contemporary state of the field of religion and media studies, and 2) provide an opportunity to "test out" the major theories covered in the first half of the semester. Each week we will come to the question of ethics via the negotiation of Enlightenment values and their critiques.
Courses Taught/ Instructor of Record
UNC Chapel Hill (Religious Studies)
Northern Arizona University (Religious Studies)
FIND ME AT THE AAR
FIND ME AT THE AAR
The AAR is a major professional organization for Religious Studies in the United States. Read their mission statement here. Find regional conferences near you here. The annual CFP for the national conference can be found here. In addition to yearly panel participation and paper presentations, you can find me at the AAR in the following venues:
RELIGION AND MEDIA WORKSHOP, Steering Committee Member
The Religion and Media Workshop is a day-long seminar designed to foster collaborative conversation at the cutting edge of the study of religion, media, and culture.
NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS UNIT, Steering Committee Member
The NRMs Unit supports and encourages research on all aspects of the study of New Religious Movements. Presenters in our sessions study marginal, minority, new, and alternative religions, past and present, from a variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives. Our sessions and additional meetings are intended to create opportunities for dialogue among academics who share a passion for understanding NRMs, and to make known to a broader audience the importance of such movements for understanding issues of religious difference, community building and maintenance, ritual and doctrinal innovation, and other aspects of religious life.