[ Modiya ]
The MODIYA Project is an open source resource for exploring the interrelation of Jews, media, and religion as an area of research and teaching. Within this wide-ranging field, the MODIYA Project addresses such issues as: how uses of media figure in Jewish religious practices, how Jews discuss the opportunities and challenges new media pose to religious life, and how the engagement with media engenders new notions and experiences of Jewish community, continuity, and spirituality. We believe that attention to this field of inquiry will enhance the study of Jewish religion, history, and culture, as well as make valuable contributions to the fields of religious studies, communications, media studies, ethnic studies, and cultural studies, among other disciplines.
The MODIYA Project combines a contemporary perspective on the uses of new media with an historical perspective on how a diasporic people, over the course of more than two millennia, has used media, broadly defined, to constitute, sustain, and mobilize itself across wide geographic areas. In addition to considering works of mass communications media (newspapers, radio and television broadcasts, films, sound recordings), the MODIYA Project considers other forms of mediation ranging from manuscripts to modern analog and digital technologies, including amateur photographic documentaries of community and life cycle events, as well as mediating practices encountered in live performances, philanthropy, museums, and tourism. Similarly, the MODIYA Project defines Jewish communities broadly to include everything from ultra-Orthodox to ardent secularists. It considers not only the role of media within Jewish community life, but also the role of media in Jewish/non-Jewish relations.
An organizing principle of this wide-ranging inquiry is the interrelation of media and religion. Here, too, the MODIYA Project includes multiple possibilities. In addition to considering more obvious interrelations--use of media in the study of sacred texts or to facilitate worship--the project explores examples of Jewish civil religion (exemplified by Holocaust remembrance and support for the State of Israel) as well as engagement with media as a kind of devotion akin to religion (as in the case of people who characterize their attendance of Jewish film festivals as the equivalent to going to synagogue).
The MODIYA Project is organized as a series of units, each of which deals with a different subject. These subjects include genres (music media, texts, the Internet), issues (Holocaust, Kabbalah, Jews and Christmas, anti-Semitism, ecumenism), and communities (Lubavitcher hasidim, young hipster Jews). The units are designed to provide teachers and scholars with a set of conceptual possibilities and rich resources for pursing the given subject as part of a course of study or as a basis for further research. Each unit begins with an introductory statement of its subject and lays out key questions for study. These are followed by one or more topics, specific case studies or aspects of the larger unit. Each topic includes annotated sources: readings, media works, websites, etc. Wherever possible, links to websites, online media works, and downloadable texts are provided. Each topic also includes one or more objects, selected images, texts websites, video clips, sound files, accompanied by information on its provenance and suggestions for how it might be analyzed. Each topic offers suggestions for implementation in the classroom or individual research, as well as opportunities for posting queries, suggestions, and feedback.
Each topic offers suggestions for implementation in the classroom or individual research, as well as opportunities for posting queries, suggestions, and feedback.To do so, please REGISTER as a MODIYA user.
These units are designed to continue to grow as new resources are located, new questions for inquiry are formulated, and new ideas for their study arise. We invite users to offer their own thoughts, resources, and other feedback, particularly in relation to their efforts to teach this material. Feedback can be submitted regarding a particular unit by registering as a MODIYA user and entering the COMMENTS section of each unit, located on the right-hand column.
In addition, we solicit sightings of interesting phenomena related to the MODIYA project that are not yet included in the site. We encourage visitors to the website who note an interesting image, radio or television broadcast, film, magazine article, advertisement, sound recording, website, review or article, to send us their sighting (or a description of it). To submit or view recent sightings, please REGISTER as a MODIYA user and visit SIGHTINGS, located on the left-hand column.