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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO3000 Religion and Media

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Jasjit Singh

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Media and communication issues are central to the operation of religious groups, the everyday lives of religious people and the transmission of religious beliefs and practices. Furthermore, religion is a key subject for media portrayal, whether in newspapers or magazines, on the web, on TV, film and radio. This level 3 module will examine the interrelationship between religion and the media, including how religion is mediated and how the media portray and represent religion in general and different religious traditions. You will learn about research on religion in the media, and about the analytical methods that researchers use, including trying these out for yourselves. There are two assessments: 1) a set essay based on an essay question, 2) a research essay based on an ongoing journal of religion related stories appearing in media which you will collate during the duration of the module and reflect on what you have learnt. The research essay will consist of EITHER an analysis of articles about a religion related topic across media during the duration of the module OR an analysis of religion related output from ONE mainstream media source (magazines, newspapers, TV, radio). Seminars will include discussions on key themes on religion and media, group work on religion online, and discussion of the ongoing journal in in preparation for your research essay. This is a practical module which will be useful for those hoping for a career in media, religion or research.


Students will:
- learn about and be assessed on your knowledge and analysis of the relationship between religion and media;
- learn about how the portrayal and representation of religion in the media is researched and analysed, and have an opportunity to develop and practise relevant research skills;
- To reflect on the way religion is currently presented in the media (and the way religion responds to or utilises media);
- To discuss and debate your ideas on religion and media in a seminar setting.
- To examine the interrelationship between religion and a range of mediated forms of communication, including magazines, newspapers, the internet, TV, film and radio.
- To examine the form and content of different ‘media artefacts’ which report about religion.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes
On completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Understand the various ways in which religion and media co-exist and interact, including religion as media and the mediatisation of religion, the portrayal and representation of religion/s in the media, religious broadcasting, and religion online.
2. Critically evaluate the representation of religion in media.
3. Effectively use discourse and/or content analysis to research media portrayals of religion.
4. Critically discuss the evolving and contextual nature of religious debate, interpretation and positioning within media discourse.

Skills outcomes
Independent research and writing skills; ability to organise time; critical thinking skills (e.g. challenging the appropriateness of taken for granted distinctions such as 'secular' and 'religious' as uniform and universally applicable); ability to apply critical theories to practical contexts; to absorb and filter complex information; to access and make effective use of bibliographical and electronic sources of information; to argue effectively and persuasively in a written form; to communicate and argue effectively in an oral form, through a general contribution to small group discussion; to study independently; to meet deadlines and work under time constraints; begin to think about ways in which academic research can be translated into policy (impact and knowledge transfer).


The study of religion and media including: the mediatisation of religion; religion and everyday media practices; globalisation, religion and the media; the analysis of media content (including introduction to content, discourse, frame and visual analysis); media portrayals of religion and their reception; religious broadcasting and televangelism; the secular, secularism and the media; representation and the media; religion and social media; religion and media in the Global South; religion media in diaspora; religion online and cyber-religion.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

• Students will be required to spend 2 hours doing background reading for each lecture (2x11) = 22 hours and 3 hours a week preparing for each seminar (3x10) = 30 hours.
• Each student should spend 2 hours per week maintaining their journal of religion related stories which will feed into the individual research essay assignment.
• Each student should spend approximately 55 hours working on the completion of the individual set essay assignment, and 55 hours on the individual research essay assignment.

The instructor will support students’ private study and independent learning through the active use of VLE capabilities (e.g. by posting resources, encouraging online exchange on key themes/topics, etc.)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress in reading for comprehension and critical analysis will be monitored in seminars. Their progress with the journal will be checked throughout.
- The development of practical and analytical skills will be monitored in small group sessions on content, visual/frame, ephemera and website analysis, and in the essays via essay plans.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words (Set Essay)40.00
EssayResearch Essay 1 x 3,500 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resits: For Essay 1: students will choose from the list of essay questions in the module handbook. For Essay 2, they will need to agree an appropriate research question with the module leader.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/08/2019


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