New Course at ASU Dives Into the World of Religion, Politics and the Media

This fall, students at Arizona State University will be introduced to a new course that—through an interdisciplinary approach incorporating religious studies, political science, and mass communication—will encourage them to be thoughtful, informed consumers and content producers. “Exploring Religion, Politics and the Media” will examine how journalists approach the coverage of complex issues of religion and politics and give students the opportunity to examine how their own beliefs shape their ideas.

This class will be undertaken by both the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


A new course at Arizona State University aims to empower students to become wiser and more effective interpreters of news about the intersection of religion and politics, as well as other hot-button issues, both as audiences and as content creators.

Tracy Fessenden, director of strategic initiatives at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Steve and Margaret Forster Professor of Religious Studies, will help lead the new course, called "Exploring Religion, Politics and the Media."

Students can enroll in the hybrid course this upcoming fall semester. It is cross-listed in religious studies, political science and mass communication to examine how journalists approach the coverage of complex issues of religion and politics. The class is an extension of a project which began last year as part of a grant funded by American Council of Learned Societies and the Henry Luce Foundation.

“It brings together three complex and controversial topics and works to unpack them through readings, writings and discussions,” said Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professor of Practice Fernanda Santos, who will be co-teaching the course with Fessenden. “This will be a dynamic class, and a challenging class, as everyone will be encouraged to examine their assumptions and ideas about religion and politics, including how they are shaped by the media.”

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