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October 23, 2008
6.00 p.m. Opening reception
6:30 p.m. Public roundtable with Brian Larkin, Charles Hirschkind, Birgit Meyer and Peter Redfield


The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY




The SSRC and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life

Contemporary activist groups saturate our worlds with images and sounds. Seeking solidarity with different movements and publics, some groups use media complexes to generate outrage and others to invoke sympathy; some seeking to minimize religious, national, and regional differences and others working to intensify them.

While distinctions between religious and secular activist media often seem self-evident, this panel asks what they might share. How do religious and secular forms of activism overlap? How do contemporary humanitarian and activist movements use complex networks of mediation? How do visions of suffering function when mediated and deployed globally? How do the formal properties of media signs and symbols constitute humanitarian and activist movements?

Brian Larkin (Barnard College)

Charles Hirschkind (University of California, Berkeley)
Birgit Meyer (VU University Amsterdam)
Peter Redfield (University of North Carolina)