80: Heidi Campbell

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Manage episode 263829190 series 2312064
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My guest this week is Heidi Campbell, Professor of Communications at Texas A&M University where she has been based for the last 15 years. Originally from Michigan, Heidi trained as a journalist and then morphed into a Religious Studies scholar where she does some pioneering, interdisciplinary work in media, religion and culture.
Heidi has just edited an online collection on the coronavirus pandemic, Religion in Quarantine: The Future of Religion in a Post-Pandemic World (https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/188004), and she talks about churches which are streaming services and asks how people are adapting their use of technology. We learn about the rationale and the findings of her project, including whether religion needs to be embodied or disembodied and the relationship between events and communities. What does it mean for a Muslim, for example, who can’t practice their religion in a physical mosque?
Heidi reflects on her career and talks about the role of classical music when she was growing up. She focuses on the time when the space shuttle Challenger blew up and how it was a traumatic experience to watch live on TV as well as the impact that 24 hour news on CNN had on her mother and how this has in turn influenced Heidi’s own understanding of media consumption.
Heidi talks about the different ways news is presented in the US and UK in a post-truth era and concomitant questions around who owns the news media and how it is agenda-driven with multiple stories competing for attention. She reflects on how it is different from when she was a journalism student where the role of interpretation wasn’t countenanced.
Towards the end of the interview we learn why her memories are mainly positive and we find out that she is back in touch with many high school friends via Facebook. Heidi discusses the different political sensibilities she has experienced and the culture shock she had when she moved to Texas from Edinburgh. She reflects on the cosmopolitanism of living in Edinburgh and how her students today have never heard of Robbie Williams and she reveals why she had to let go of The Matrix in her teaching.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Heidi Campbell and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.

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