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“TV Series and Religion” : religion in TV-series

« Religion en séries » : la religion dans les séries télévisées

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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

Comme toute production culturelle, les séries télévisées ont quelque chose à dire des religions, d'autant que la forme sérielle est à rapprocher des pratiques religieuses occidentales par la ritualisation horaire du format épisodique, la narration de sagas familiales, ou les communautés de spectateurs qui se créent. La série télévisée, par son format même et son mode de consommation, a quelque chose de religieux. Chaque production, du fait de sa longévité potentielle et de la multiplicité de ses créateurs susceptibles d’être renouvelés, ne fait-elle pas l’objet d’une « bible », document nécessaire à sa cohérence globale ?

 

 

Announcement

Argument

As Western Europe is distancing itself from its Judeo-Christian traditions and practices, religion and spirituality remain very central to American culture, as illustrated by popular culture in general, and TV series in particular.  While 95% of Americans say they believe in God, such consensus should not hide the immense diversity of practices which the TV series format, with its multiple episodes featuring  numerous characters over long periods of time, can portray.  The way TV series are watched by the audience could also be seen as a ritual following a regular schedule that mirrors the way most Americans practice their religion. The well-known phenomena of strong identification and intimate knowledge of TV series, akin to addiction, is comparable to the study and knowledge of religious texts and their discussion, both being meant to raise and solve issues of everyday life. Televangelism, in that respect, is similar to TV series with narratives supported by a charismatic Pastor returning every week. Whether in the US or abroad, TV series, because of the broadcasting schedule and mode of consumption, seem fashioned after Western religious rituals. As a matter of course, each production, because of its potential life-time and the multiplicity and expendability of its creators, draws up a “bible” to ensure coherence over the years.

Series that immediately come to mind are ones set at the heart of religious institutions (The Borgias), whose main characters are ministers of the faith (Father Murphy, Sarge, The Father Dowling Mysteries, 7th Heaven, Sister Kate, Nothing Sacred),which feature mythological characters (an angel in Touched by an Angel or Highway to Heaven), or tackle issues of faith and spirituality (Six Feet Under). An upcoming series entitled The Bible is planned to air in 2013. While some series, especially in sci-fi and fantasy, rely on strong biblical references (Lost, Battlestar Galactica), others feature a recurrent religious issue, such as Mormon polygamy in Big Love (2006-2011), the conversation with God which opens each episode of The Cleaner (2009-10), or the interfaith marriage of the two protagonists in Bridget Loves Bernie (1972-3). Last but not least, many subversive TV series strongly attack religious institutions (True Blood) and create fantastic spiritual worlds (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) that are also a mark of their times. Presentation on non-US series are equally welcome.

Submission guidelines

Please send a 300-word abstract and a 100-word biographical note (in English or in French) to Donna Andreolle (dandreolle@gmail.com) and Anne Crémieux (anne.cremieux@u-paris10.fr)

before 01/09/2013

The conference will take place at University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre, October 18, 2013.

Evaluation

Proposals will be peer-reviewed by the editorial board of TV/Serieshttp://www.univ-lehavre.fr/ulh_services/Commission-editoriale-Editorial.html

Places

  • Nanterre, France (92)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, September 01, 2013

Keywords

  • séries, télévision, média, religion

Contact(s)

  • Anne Crémieux
    courriel : anne [dot] cremieux [at] u-paris10 [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Anne Crémieux
    courriel : anne [dot] cremieux [at] u-paris10 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« “TV Series and Religion” : religion in TV-series », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, https://calenda.org/254185

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