Distinguishing between the Religious Study of Film and the Academic Study of Religion and Film

By William L. Blizek.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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The purpose of this presentation is to clarify the nature of religion and film studies. Religion and film studies include two quite different approaches to the study of religion and film. One approach is the religious study of film. The other is the academic study of religion and film. The religious study of film begins by adopting a particular religious perspective and then applying that perspective to the analysis, critique, or investigation of particular films. The academic study of religion and film investigates particular films without adopting a particular religious perspective. Since the religious study of film often provides interesting insights into religion in particular films and since the academic study of religion and film often provides an analysis of film that is of interest to those with a particular religious perspective, there is an overlap between these two approaches to the study of religion and film that creates confusion about the nature of religion and film studies. By distinguishing between the religious study of film and the academic study of religion and film, I hope to bring clarity to the nascent and burgeoning field of religion and film studies.

Keywords: Religion, Film, Religious, Academic, Confusion, Clarity

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.39-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 340.211KB).

Dr. William L. Blizek

Professor of Philosophy and Religion, The College of Arts & Sciences, The University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Dr. Blizek is Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Founding Editor of the Journal of Religion & Film at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he has taught for forty years. Dr. Blizek teaches courses on religion and film, atheism, and ethics and has taught courses on human values in medicine, self-deception, and ethics and film. He is the editor of The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, as well as Justice and Punishment, and The Humanities in Public Life. Dr. Blizek is the winner of the Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award for the University of Nebraska system, the Chancellor's Medal for service to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Outstanding Contributions to the Status of Women on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus.