"Fault Lines: The Religious Infrastructure of the World's First Cabled Network"—A POROI Seminar with Jenna Supp-Montgomerie

Friday, September 22, 2017 - 11:30am to 1:00pm
BCSB 108
UI campus
Iowa City, IA 52242


The myth goes something like this: networks are a triumph of technology over geography, they connect the world in intimate community, and promise a progressive secularism in which global communication diminishes our differences. For a myth so spurred by new technologies, it is shockingly old. Fault Lines turns to the nineteenth century to examine American participation in the first global cabled network, the telegraph. There, the strangeness of the myth of a secular, connecting global network is made plain. Global networks came into being as American missionaries distributed telegraphs to Christianize the world, religious tropes animated American enthusiasm for transatlantic telegraphy, religious communities affiliated networks with utopias, and religious logics structured new forms of network communication. Fault Lines demonstrates the deep entanglement of religion and media, networks’ requirement of disconnection, and the new ways that geopolitics mattered to argue that religion is part of the very infrastructure of networks.

Jenna Supp-Montgomerie earned a Ph.D. in religious studies with a certificate in cultural studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a joint appointment in Religious Studies and Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research examines the relationships of religion, media, and technology. Supp-Montgomerie teaches courses on critical theory, media history and theory, religion and cultural life, digital media, and American religious history.

To RSVP, request a copy of the paper, and register for a lunch from NoDo, please e-mail Kembrew McLeod, mentioning any food sensitivities, at kembrew-mcleod@uiowa.edu


What is a POROI Seminar? 

Every semester, POROI hosts rhetoric seminars featuring the work of UI and visiting scholars, artists, researchers and activists. Each presentation takes place with an audience from diverse disciplines who have read the work and are prepared to engage with the text. The virtue of the format becomes especially apparent as disciplines and intellectual traditions cross paths with personal proclivities, reading habits, patterns of knowledge and modes of expressions. The group provides rigorous and supportive criticism concerning what it sees as the work's strengths and weaknesses, providing the speaker with ideas for revision and eventual publication. Many presenters eventually publish revised versions of their projects in scholarly publications, film festivals, research outlets, or other venues.

If you are interested in sharing your own project at a POROI rhetoric seminar, email kembrew-mcleod@uiowa.edu and naomi-greyser@uiowa.edu to talk about it!