Seeing and Believing: Religion, Digital Visual Culture, and Social Justice (Paperback)

Seeing and Believing: Religion, Digital Visual Culture, and Social Justice By Ellen T. Armour Cover Image


Social media platforms are often denounced as "bubbles" or "echo chambers." In this view, what we see tends to reinforce what we already believe, and what we already believe shapes what we see. Yet social movements such as Black Lives Matter rely heavily on the widespread dissemination of digital photographs and videos through social media. In at least some cases, visual images can challenge normative and normalized ways of grasping the world and prompt their viewers to see differently--and even bring people together.

Seeing and Believing marshals religious resources to recast the significance of digital images in the struggle for social justice. Ellen T. Armour examines what distinguishes digital photography from its analogue predecessor and places the circulation of digital images in the broader context of virtual visual cultures. She explores the challenges and opportunities that visually saturated social media landscapes present for users and organizers. Despite the power of digital platforms and algorithms, possibilities for disruption and resistance emerge from how people engage with these systems. Armour offers ways of seeing drawn from Christianity and found in other religious traditions to help us break with entrenched habits and rethink how we engage with the images that grab our attention. Developing theological perspectives on the power and peril of photography and technology, Seeing and Believing provides suggestions for navigating the new media landscape that can spark what Armour calls "photographic insurrection."

About the Author

Ellen T. Armour is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair and Professor of Feminist Theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where she also directs the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality. Her books include Signs and Wonders: Theology After Modernity (Columbia, 2016).
Product Details
ISBN: 9780231209052
ISBN-10: 0231209053
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: July 4th, 2023
Pages: 248
Language: English