From the RMIG head for July 2019

Reflecting on RMIG, looking ahead to Toronto!

By Mariam Alkazemi

As we approach the annual convention in August, I wanted to take some time out for reflection. Having worked as part of the team that is the Religion and Media Interest Group (RMIG) for five years, it has been a privilege and honor to be your head for the 2018-2019 academic year. I’d like to take a moment to reflect before I look forward.

Mariam Alkazemi

As I look back, I remember being a graduate student preparing to present my first paper about religion and the media at a conference. Nervous, I arrived at the session early. Although I did not know anyone, there were very kind people who pulled up a chair next to me to show that I belonged.

It took me some time to relax, but I was ecstatic to hear about all the different studies that were being conducted by various scholars. As I spoke to an audience made up of people I did not know, I learned that I was speaking to a journal editor in the audience among other accomplished scholars.

Gregory Perreault

After the session, a professor invited me to the RMIG business meeting. Another professor asked if I wanted to co-edit the newsletter with another graduate student from the University of Missouri. The other graduate student has been the most wonderful collaborator, with whom I’ve been lucky to work, learn and share the joys and frustrations of being a graduate student and professor. Five years later, Dr. Gregory Perreault and I have worked in different positions as part of RMIG. He will be the head next year, and I am quite confident he will do an excellent job. I’m confident not only because of his stimulating intellect, compassionate communication, sense of humor or energy, but because we have seen RMIG change over time.

This year, we had several officers with no prior experience with our interest group. They brought new content and more visuals to our newsletter in addition to interesting panels that we are co-sponsoring with other AEJMC groups. They worked alongside some of our long-term, committed members to meet deadlines and prepare for the Toronto convention. It is this synergy that makes me feel excited about what the future holds for RMIG as I step down and watch my trusted colleagues and friends take RMIG in directions I may have never thought of.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to the eight officers who have worked closely to make sure that we had content to share in our newsletter, on social media, and at the annual convention—some of which had to go through a rigorous peer-review process. On behalf of the officers, I would like to thank our members for submitting papers to our interest group. Looking forward, I hope my story encourages you, our members, to participate in RMIG in the 2020-2021 academic calendar. RMIG has been open to new ideas and welcoming of diverse perspectives, and I believe that the way to move forward is to incorporate the ideas that come from our members. Please join our business meeting at the convention in Toronto.

I hope you are as excited as I am to explore Toronto. For those of you who, like me, have never visited it before, there is a food market called St. Lawrence Market where I look forward to tasting a variety of global delicacies that demonstrate the diversity of the city. For those of you who like to take a walk to clear your head outdoors, the conference hotel will be within 2 miles of the Fort York historical site on Lake Ontario.

I look forward to seeing you in Toronto and I wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe summer.

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