Winter 2017

Religion and Diversity Project E-Journal

Regulating Religion


Click here to access the articles.

On March 17th and 18th 2016, Religion and Diversity Project team member Solange Lefebvre and student member Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier hosted an international conference at the University of Montreal. The conference entitled: “New Religious Movements, Minorities and Media”  provided an opportunity for established scholars and graduate students to come together to explore different themes including the representation of small religious groups in the media, the use of the media by minorities, as well as methodological and ethical issues surrounding the study of media and alternative religions. This conference was a success especially since it initiated a conversation between scholars with very different areas of expertise ranging from psychoanalysis to information science to sociology. Participants were all able to bring a unique perspective to the discussion. Out of the many contributions, RDP student members Maria Alekseevskaia and Connor Steele agreed to turn their fascinating conference presentations into articles included in this new issue of Regulating Religion.

Maria Alekseevskaia’s article explores the relationship between Dutch immigrants from the Reformed Church and the written press in Canada. Through a thematic analysis of specific cases selected from 2005 to 2016, Alekseevskaia demonstrates the manner in which a mainly positive but outdated image of this community is formed in mainstream media. She also addresses the use of the written press by Dutch Reformed groups who created specific magazines in which the community leaders and members could express their worldview, and argues that these less well-known publications have little power when it comes to influencing mainstream media representation of Dutch immigrants. This article anchors itself in a long line of studies exploring media representations of religious groups (Bennion 2012; Knott, Poole and Taira 2014; Lynch, Mitchell and Strhan 2012; Mitchell and Gower 2012) and religious and ethnic diversity in Canada (Beaman and Beyer 2008; Bibby 2004; Connor 2014; Lefebvre and Beaman 2014). Through her thorough empirical work, Alekseevskaia brings to light the way in which the Dutch neo-Calvinist population struggles to update its public image in order to bring light on its contemporary preoccupations and endeavors.

Connor Steele’s article explores a hot topic making waves both in the academic world and the realms of popular culture and public opinion. Focusing on the Netflix fiction series Orange is the New Black (2013-), the author contributes to research on this ground-breaking show that has emerged in the last 4 years (including a special edition of Television & New Media published in 2016). As a “dramedy” series following the lives of a diverse cast of female inmates at the Litchfield correctional facility, OITNB has been at the center of many studies on gender, race, age and sexuality (Chavez 2015; Enk and Morrissey 2015; Louis 2015; Pramaggiore 2016; Silverman and Ryalls 2016; Terry 2016), feminism and postfeminism (DeCarvahlo and Cox 2016; Fernandez-Morales and Menendez-Menendez 2016; McHugh 2016; Schwann 2016) as well as the representation of diversity, neoliberalism, social justice and the impact of the prison system on women (Caputi 2015; Belcher 2016; Smith 2015). While Steele touches on many of these issues, he contributes in an original way to the discussion by offering a psychanalytic perspective, and demonstrating the ways in which the different meanings associated with the concept of “cult” can be used not only to understand what is happening in the show specifically, but also to shed light on the broader relationship between TV shows and their audience.

While the last article in this issue is not on the topic of media and religion, it nonetheless touches on a very important thematic. Francesca Raimondo, a PhD student in law at the University of Bologna (Italy), offers us an analysis of the 2015 Ishaq v. Canada Federal court case, which reversed the ministerial ban on Niqab in Canadian citizenship ceremonies in place since 2011. By exploring the debates around this case, Raimondo analyses what this case tells us about Canadian identity and citizenship, including how it is constructed in relation to religious differences. In so doing, she contributes to a wider discussion on identity politics in Canada and beyond (e.g. Eisenberg 2013, Beaman 2011, Eisenberg and Kymlicka 2011, Beyer 2008). In a way, in her piece Raimondo, not unlike Alekseevskaia and Steele in their articles, offers us unique insights on the role played by religion in identity construction in our contemporary era, and how it intersects with questions of gender and race.

As always a lot of work has been put in writing these articles, and we hope that you will enjoy reading these new pieces as much as we did!

Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier and Amélie Barras

April 20, 2017


BEAMAN, L.G., and BEYER, P. (eds.) (2008) Religion and Diversity in Canada. Leiden, Boston: Brill.

BEAMAN, L.G. (2011) Assessing Religious Identity in Law: Sincerity, Accommodation, and Harm. In: EISENBERG, A. and KYMLICKA, W. (eds.) Identity Politics in the Public Realm:Bringing the Institutions Back In. Vancouver: UBC Press, pp. 238-259.

BELCHER, C. (2016) There Is No Such Thing as a Post-racial Prison: Neoliberal Multiculturalism and the White Savior Complex on Orange is the New BlackTelevision & New Media, 17(6), pp.491-503.

BENNION, J. (2012) Polygamy in the Primetime. Media, Gender, and Politics in Mormon Fundamentalism. Waltham, Massachusetts: Brandeis University Press.

BEYER, P. (2008) From Far and Wide: Canadian Religious and Cultural Diversity in Glocal/Local Context. In: BEAMAN, L.G. and BEYER, P. (eds.) Religion and Diversity in Canada. Leiden-Boston: Brill, pp. 9-39.

BIBBY, R. (2004) Restless Gods: The Renaissance of Religion in Canada. Toronto: Novalis.

CAPUTI, C. (2015) The Color Orange? Social Justice Issues in the First Season of Orange is the New BlackThe Journal of Popular Culture 48(6), pp.1130-1150.

CHAVEZ, M. (2015) Representing Us All? Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Orange is the New Black. MSc Thesis, Minnesota State University.

CONNOR, P.C. (2014) Immigrant Faith: Patterns of Immigrant Religion in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. New York: NYU Press.

DECARVAHLO, L.J. and COX, N.B. (2016) Extended ‘Visiting Hours’: Deconstructing Identity in Netflix’s Promotional Campaigns for Orange is the New BlackTelevision & New Media 17(6), pp.504-519.

EISENBERG, A. (2013) Rights in the Age of Identity Politics. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 50(3), pp. 609-636.

EISENBERG, A. and KYMLICKA, W. (2011) Bringing Institutions Back In: How Public Institutions Assess Identity. In: Id. (eds.) Identity Politics in the Public Realm: Bringing the Institutions Back In. Vancouver: UBC Press, pp. 1-30.

ENK, S.M. and MORRISSEY M.E. (2015) If Orange is the New Black, I Must Be Colorblind: Coming Framings of Post-Racism in the Prison-Industrial Complex. Critical Studies in Media Communication 32(5), pp.303-317.

FERNANDEZ-MORALES, M. and MENENDEZ-MENENDEZ, I.M. (2016) “When in Rome, Use What You’ve Got”: A Discussion of Female Agency through Orange is the New BlackTelevision & New Media 17(6), pp.534-546.

KNOTT, K., POOLE, E. AND TAIRA, T. (2014) Media Portrayals of Religion and the Secular Sacred: Representation and Change. Farnham: Ashgate.

LEFEBVRE, S. and BEAMAN, L.G. (eds.) (2014) Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

LOUIS, E. (2015) The Prison System and the Media: How “Orange is the New Black” Engages with the Prison as a Normalizing Agent. MSc Thesis, Florida International University.

LYNCH, G., MITCHELL J.P. and STRHAN, A. (Eds.). (2012) Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader. London, New York: Routledge.

MCHUGH, K.A. (2016) Giving Credit to Paratexts and Parafeminism in Top of the Lake and Orange is the New Black.  Film Quarterly 68(3), pp.17-25.

MITCHELL, J.P. and GOWER, O. (Eds.) (2012) Religion and the News. Farnham: Ashgate.

PRAMAGGIORE, M. (2016) From Screwdriver to Dildo: Retooling Women’s Work in Orange is the New BlackTelevision & New Media 17(6), pp.547-560.

SCHWAN, A. (2016) Postfeminism Meets the Women in Prison Genre: Privilege and Spectatorship in Orange is the New BlackTelevision & New Media 17(6), pp.473-490.

TERRY, A. (2016) Surveying Issues That Arise in Women’s Prisons: A Content Critique of Orange is the New BlackSociology Compass 10(7), pp.553-566.

SILVERMAN, R.E. and RYALLS A.D. (2016) “Everything is Different the Second Time Around”: The Stigma of Temporality on Orange is the New BlackTelevision & New Media 17(6), pp.520-533.

SMITH, A.M. (2015) Orange is the Same White. New Political Science 37(2), pp.276-280.