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The 5 in 5 Blog Series

Xenia Zeiler is a professor of South Asain Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland and on the Advisory Board for the Network. Her current research and teachings are situated at the intersection of digital media, culture and society, specifically as related to India and the global Indian community. Zeiler’s research foci are video games and gaming in India, digital Hinduism and global Hinduism. Along with that, she also researches and teaches aspects of Global Digital Humanities and popular culture, especially as related to India. As reflected in her top 5 list of most useful articles/books used for research, the research and teaching both require and benefit most from work on video game cultures, especially in global contexts and as related to religion, value formations and cultural heritage, and on global aspects of digital religion.


Xenia Zeiler also says she is particularly interested in social-constructivist mediatization theory that is regularly applied to her work. For instance, the article by Couldry and Hepp (2013) gives a fantastic introduction to and overview of both existing mediatization theories, the so-called institutionalist tradition and the social-constructivist traditions; it is a great resource for teaching!


A short intro to gamification:

This short video introduces to the concept of gamification, including brief information on the concept’s and term’s history and the relation of gamification and educational video games.


More and longer video lectures are currently produced by Xenia Zeiler, e.g. on mediatized religion in India, video games in India, and educational video games. Check them out!


Top 5 article/books


Campbell, H. and Grieve, G. P., eds., 2014. Playing with Religion in Digital Games. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. This book highlights the religious themes and symbols that can be found in a vast number of video games.


Campbell. H., 2013. Digital Religion. Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds. London and New York: Routledge. This book brings together the work of experts in the study of religion and new media to describe examples of new media engagement and case studies that illustrate themes in this field.


Couldry, Nick and Hepp, Andreas, 2013. Conceptualizing Mediatization: Contexts, Traditions, Arguments. Communication Theory 23. 10.1111/comt.12019. This journal article provides context for the emergence of ‘‘mediatization’’ as a key theoretical concept for new media and communications research.


Heidi A. Campbell, Rachel Wagner, Shanny Luft, Rabia Gregory, Gregory Price Grieve, and Xenia Zeiler, 2015. Gaming Religionworlds: Why Religious Studies Should Pay Attention to Religion in Gaming. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2015, pp. 1–24. doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfv091 This journal article argues that religion plays a major role in gaming culture with an impact in popular culture.


Sisler, V., Radde-Antweiler, K. and Zeiler, X., eds., 2018. Methods for Studying Video Games and Religion. London/New York: Routledge. The focus of this book is on the how and why video games shape religious beliefs as well as the research into the connection between digital media and religion in the 21st century.

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