Be it through the depiction of religious themes, communities, or character types, film and television is one of the primary places where people come to understand and conceptualize religious groups, particularly those with which they are not personally familiar. As such, entertainment media has unparalleled sway over the ways in which real-life communities and people are perceived, treated, and discussed, on levels ranging from the individual to the structural. However, due to the tacit acceptance that it is impossible to cover the topic with a level of nuance and sensitivity given the time and resources available, religion as both a sociopolitical phenomenon and facet of identity remain under-discussed. The result of this omission becomes not a lack of religious content writ large – as it continues to be produced, with or without intentional discussion – but rather, content that occasionally lacks nuance and misses opportunities to shape public narratives for societal betterment. To bridge this gap, we want to think more critically about how religion may be portrayed, especially in unexpected ways.
In partnership with Harvardwood and the Faith and Media Initiative, please join us for a training and discussion led by Lindsey Smith, the Co-Founder of DeeperDive and Deputy Chair of DC’s Harvardwood chapter, on the presence and portrayal of religion, belief, and spirituality in entertainment media, and its role in shaping public perceptions of religious groups and individuals. Light appetizers and drinks will be served.
About the speaker:
Lindsey Smith HDS ’20 is the Co-Founder and Lead Trainer for DeeperDive and Deputy Chair of DC’s Harvardwood chapter. She received her Master of Theological studies with a focus on Religion, Ethics, and Politics in 2020, where she studied the evolution and appeal of apocalyptic narratives in the United States and their effect on sociopolitical (in)action.
Increasingly interested in the power of stories to shape public narratives – particularly surrounding religion – she co-founded DeeperDive in 2020 with Harvard Divinity School Fellows and Alumni to lobby for increasingly nuanced and non-stereotype-driven depictions of religion, belief, and spirituality on screen.
About our co-sponsors:
DeeperDive is an initiative of KC Social Impact Lab specializing in depictions of religion on screen. Spearheaded by Harvard Divinity School alumni and fellows, DeeperDive provides trainings and produces research on religion’s presence in entertainment media to shift public attitudes and improve general knowledge related to religion, faith, and spirituality specifically and social justice more broadly.
Harvardwood is a nonprofit organization for members of the Harvard University community who believe in the power and purpose of the arts, media and entertainment. By providing professional resources and service opportunities, Harvardwood strives to utilize the creativity and leadership of our diverse members as forces for positive social change.
The Faith and Media Initiative is a nonprofit that connects and provides resources to a global, diverse network of media members, content creators, faith leaders, and community members to ensure accurate, balanced representation of all faiths in entertainment and journalism.