Department of Communication
College of Liberal Arts
Heidi Campbell’s research focuses on the intersection of digital and mobile media, religion and digital cultures. Her expertise is in the social shaping of technologies approach and digital religion studies related to how religious groups negotiate their use of new technologies.
Campbell’s project will produce a book and video illustrating how memes communicate, the common messages of bias they spread about religion and how they can engage in ways that encourage open dialogue about religious and cultural diversity. Her research asserts that messages communicated online by Internet memes, can encourage hostile discourse about religious groups that need to be investigated. Internet memes are digital images or photos, overlaid with quotes, used to create characters, which promote “humorous” messages about individuals, events or beliefs. Campbell’s research on memes about minority religious groups in America—such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus—shows such memes often promote troublesome biases online. A comparative study of popular religious memes shows they typically amplify offline stereotypes.