A first-ever symposium, "Mormon Media Studies: Across Time, Space and Disciplines," will be held at the Brigham Young University Conference Center Thursday and Friday, Nov. 11-12, in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of BYU Broadcasting and the 10th Anniversary of BYU Television. The symposium is free to the public and is sponsored by the BYU Department of Communications, BYU Broadcasting and BYU Studies.
The keynote speaker will be Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond, who will speak on “Fraud, Philanderers and Football: Negotiating the Mormon Image” Thursday at 11 a.m. Plenary speakers include Daniel Stout, graduate coordinator in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and co-editor of the Journal of Media and Religion; and Sterling Van Wagenen, co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, former director of content for BYU Broadcasting and an executive producer with the Audio Visual Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints.
The conference also will feature more than 30 academic paper presentations on Mormons and the media; panel discussions on LDS bloggers, Church public relations, Mormon film and more; and film screenings, documentaries and discussions. “Lunch and a Movie” and “Night at the Movies” film screenings will be held at noon and both evenings featuring rare and unique Mormon-themed films.
There is no charge for the conference and no preregistration is required. BYU’s Conference Center, the site of the symposium, will have vending snacks available, or a full lunch can be ordered and purchased in advance by calling (801) 422–8925 or by ordering online at the symposium website, ce.byu.edu/cw/mmstudies/.
The idea for the symposium grew out of the increasing visibility and involvement of members of the Church in the media, particularly in recent years, said Sherry Baker, a BYU communications faculty member and an organizer of the conference.
“This first-ever interdisciplinary Mormon Media Studies Symposium will focus on the academic study of all aspects of Mormons and the media, in the present as well as the past,” she said.
Communications Department chair Brad Rawlins said, “Because the media is such a powerful force in shaping societal perceptions, it is vital to explore the interconnection between the media and Mormonism. We look forward to hearing from media experts across the academic and professional worlds as they share the importance of this relationship in the past, and explore its possible direction in the future.”
For more information on the Mormon Media Studies Symposium, visit the symposium website at ce.byu.edu/cw/mmstudies/.
Writer: Kary Daley