On the 16th of May 2021, Lee Scharnick-Udemans, Senior Researcher, presented a paper at the annual conference of the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS). Due to COVID restrictions the conference was hosted entirely online. ACLARS is a collective of scholars from the continent and beyond who are interested in how religion, law, and issues of justice intersect and imbricate in African contexts. Scharnick-Udemans is also the media officer for the organisation.
This year’s conference theme was “Law, Religion and the Family”. Alongside colleagues from Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Scharnick-Udemans participated in a panel on the “Mediatization of the Family” and presented a paper entitled, “Reflections on the Mediatisation of Religious Freedom through Religion Education in South Africa.” In this paper Scharnick-Udemans provided an empirically substantiated discussion that explored how issues around religion, religious diversity, and freedom are depicted and negotiated within the context of a children’s television program produced by the national broadcaster. The presentation raised questions about the potential and limitations of projects in mediatised religious pluralism especially in light of complex issues related to representations and representivity within media logic dominated milieus.
As a Thuthuka grant holder for a project on the mediatization of religious diversity and religious pluralism, Scharnick-Udemans’ participation is important for developing additional critical and creative avenues for engaging mediatisation of religion and for contributing to ongoing explorations on the potential and limitation for and of religious freedom within multi-religious and multi-cultural contexts.
Watch the presentation here.