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“Engaging the Media on Controversial Topics Involving Religion”

The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies invites you to attend a seminar by Professor James T. Richardson:

“Engaging the Media on Controversial Topics Involving Religion”

James T. Richardson, J.D., Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno

Date:  Wednesday 23 May, 2012

Time:  11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Venue: Bankstown Campus, Building 1 Level 1 Room 119

RSVP to by Monday 21 May.

This seminar will focus on experiences with media representatives over several decades of research dealing with controversial topics on which Professor Richardson has conducted research. Included are areas of study such as the “Satanism Scare” of a decade or so ago, the People’s Temple/Jonestown tragedy, the Waco episode involving the raid against and burning of the Branch Davidian compound with large loss of life, the Heaven’s Gate suicides in San Diego, raids by authorities in Australia against The Family and other groups in the 1990s, coverage of so-called “cults” accused of “brainwashing” participants, the more recent raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints community in Texas, and other media related experiences. Also, research on media coverage of some of these topics will be discussed, including from Australia, as well as what some professional organizations have done to deal with issues raised when media coverage of controversial topics occurs in the realm of religion. Suggested readings attached.

James T. Richardson, J.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies and Director of the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studiesclip_image002 at the University of Nevada, Reno. He also is Director of the Judicial Studies graduate degree program for trial judges, a program offered in conjunction with the National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, both of which are headquartered on the University campus. His research focuses mostly on comparative studies of law and religion and on use of expert evidence in legal systems. Recently he has been conducting research on treatment of religion and religious groups in judicial systems such as constitutional courts and the European Court of Human Rights. He is the author of many books including Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe (Kluwer, 2004).

Professor Richardson’s visit is supported in part by a UWS IRIS Grant.