New York University’s Center for Religion and Media, which seeks to develop and broaden interdisciplinary and cross-cultural scholarship, pedagogy, and public knowledge of religion and media, has received a renewal grant of $1.5 million from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The center is one of 10 U.S. Centers of Excellence funded by Pew.

In renewing the grant, Pew cited the center’s work in the two years since its creation:

  • a major international conference, titled “Religious Witness: The Intimate, The Everyday, the World”
  • a public interdisciplinary symposium, “Who Owns ‘The Passion’?,” discussing Mel Gibson’s controversial film
  • a two-day workshop for scholars and journalists, titled “War, Religion, and Spectacles of Suffering”
  • eight Distinguished Lectures, including international scholars such as Bruno Latour, Geoffrey Hartmann, and Hent de Vries
  • “Lights! Reverence! Action!,” a symposium exploring the unexpected intersections between independent media and faith communities
  • creation of a web magazine, The Revealer: A Daily Review of Religion and the Press (
  • creation of “Modiya,” an online curriculum project on Jews, Media, and Religion

The center was conceived and founded by NYU Anthropology Professors Faye Ginsburg, director of the Center for Media, Culture, and History, and Angela Zito, director of NYU’s Religious Studies Program, who co-direct the Center, along with Barbara Abrash, director of Public Programs.

In addition to Journalism, Religious Studies, and the Center for Media, Culture, and History, the center draws upon faculty from NYU’s Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Culture and Communication, History, Middle East Studies, and Performance Studies departments. The center functions simultaneously as a space for scholarly endeavor, a stage for public educational events, and an electronic interface with media specialists and the public.

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