Prior to Nomos Journal shutting down at the end of 2019, I started a column there that explored topics and ideas related to my dissertation project. The column, Remixing Religion, was meant to serve as a companion to my dissertation, testing out developing ideas and concepts I’m working through in the larger project, highlighting topics or examples that might not be making their way into it, and addressing current cultural trends and happenings that are particularly timely and worth noting sooner rather than later. In its initial context, the column only contained two posts, but I’m continuing it here in a more informal blog format (those two posts have been reproduced here as well). In brief, Remixing Religion was and is an exercise in applying remix theory to various phenomena and developments recognized in the Western world as being “religious.” Using concepts found within the growing field of remix studies, I critically examine “religion” in a way that raises questions regarding traditional notions of authority, authenticity, and originality.
Disney’s new Zenimation series is more than just a themed collection of soothing vignettes. The mashup project is an extension of trends and processes characterizing both Buddhist Modernism and twenty-first-century Western mindfulness sensibilities.
Han Solo’s remarks in The Force Awakens (2015) about the true existence of the Force and Jedi signal an interplay between canonical and non-canonical material that taps into an even broader concern over authority and canonicity among traditions outside of the Star Wars universe – in particular, the world’s religions.
The White Walkers and wights in Game of Thrones critically remix Haitian zombie lore as they push the inhabitants of Westeros to build a better world.
Remix theory uniquely allows for the consideration of broader cultural practices and productions outside of image and sound as “remixes,” opening them up to examinations that shift how they are viewed and understood amid new terminology and conceptual framing – including religion.