Current Research

Much of my recent work engages the emergent field of remix studies with a particular focus on forms of remix that are critical and subversive, but also the metaphorical extension of the concept outside audio-visual applications into cultural at large. This has informed work I've been doing on new religious movements like The Missionary Church of Kopimism that embrace remix as a sacred act, and trends in certain religious traditions that aim to get back to an "original" form. This is also the focus of my dissertation: in brief, I'm developing a conceptual metaphorical model of remix for studying religious traditions, their developments, and practices. The project is currently titled, "Righteous Remixes, Sacred Mashups: Rethinking Authority, Authenticity, and Originality in the Study of Religion."

I write on topics and ideas related to my dissertation project in a column at Nomos Journal (an online magazine I also edit): Remixing Religion. The column largely serves as a companion to the 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.

I am also currently working on a chapter to be included in the forthcoming The Routledge Handbook of Digital Humanities and Remix Studies: "Versioning Buddhism: Remix and Recyclability in the Study of Religion." Here is a preliminary abstract of the chapter:

As part of his larger body of work concerning early Buddhist texts and their contemporary relevance, Buddhist writer and teacher Stephen Batchelor conceived of a basic “software” analogy to distinguish between and categorize the varying forms of Buddhist thought and practice. This chapter builds upon and extends that initial analogy as it further frames the development and evolution of Buddhist traditions through notions of remix, recyclability, and versioning – indicating how Buddhist “programs” interact with each other in an “operating system” to create different and future iterations. While this analysis more narrowly concerns Buddhism, the framework presented here can be ported to other religious traditions as well. Thus, this chapter 1) emphasizes how inherently dialogic developments are within religious traditions, and that points of origin must be reconsidered in light of such cultural dialogue; 2) shows how authenticity within traditions is measured based on what has been legitimated with cultural value and cycled back into an archival space of acceptable remixable data; and 3) indicates how authority operates in relation to ideas of originality and authenticity, and how such operative authority might be challenged when these two concepts are problematized and subverted. Rethinking the development of religious traditions in terms of datasets being remixed and versioned as they evolve and manifest in different times and places demonstrates not just a unique application of remix theory to the study of religion, but how the networked processes underlying cultural traditions at large can be more clearly and critically recognized through concepts and tools unique to a digital age as well.