Sam Han

interdisciplinary social scientist

(Inter)Facing Death

: Life in Global Uncertainty (2019)

In modern times, death is understood to have undergone a transformation not unlike religion. Whereas in the past it was out in the open, it now resides mostly in specialized spaces of sequestration - funeral homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities. A mainstay in so-called traditional societies in the form of ritual practices, death was usually messy but meaningful, with the questions of what happens to the dead or where they go lying at the heart of traditional culture and religion. In modernity, however, we are said to have effectively sanitized it, embalmed it and packaged it - but it seems that death is back. In the current era marked by economic, political and social uncertainty, we see it on television, on the Internet; we see it almost everywhere. (Inter)Facing Death analyzes the nexus of death and digital culture in the contemporary moment in the context of recent developments in social, cultural and political theory. It argues that death today can be thought of as "interfaced," that is mediated and expressed, in various aspects of contemporary life rather than put to the side or overcome as many narratives of modernity have suggested. Employing concepts from anthropology, sociology, media studies and communications, (Inter)Facing Death examines diverse phenomena where death and digital culture meet, including art, online suicide pacts, the mourning of celebrity deaths, terrorist beheadings and selfies. Providing new lines of thinking about one of the oldest questions facing the human and social sciences, this book will appeal to scholars and students of social and political theory, anthropology, sociology and cultural and media studies with interests in death.

Special Issue of Religions: Religion, Power, and Resistance: New Ideas for a Divided World (Volume 10, Issue 7, 2019)

Guest Editors; Anna Halafoff, Sam Han, Caroline Starkey and James Spickard

The papers in this Special Issue have been drawn from the XIX International Sociological Association’s World Congress, Research Committee 22 on Sociology of Religion sessions, which took place in Toronto in July, 2018. They focus on religion and power, intersectional violence, social divisions, and also resistance to power, violence, and division. They include the following themes: religion and nationalism; religion and social theory; religion and diversity; religion and violent extremism; religion and gender inequality; religion and sexuality inequality; religion and environmental crises; and religion and violent and nonviolent social movements.

SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL OF KOREAN RELIGIONS: RELIGION AND MEDIA IN KOREA(VOLUME 8, NUMBER 2, OCTOBER 2017)

Guest Editors: Kyuhoon Cho, Sam Han, and Jin Kyu Park

Special issue articles include:

A History of Religious Broadcasting in Korea from a Religious Politics Standpoint: Focusing on the Period of a Protestant Broadcasting Monopoly
by Sungmin Lee

The Role of Newspapers in the Early Korean Protestant Community: An Analysis of The Korean Christian Advocate and The Christian News
by Minjung Noh

Religion in the Press: The Construction of Religion in the Korean News Media
by Kyuhoon Cho

The Culture-Religion Nexus: (Neo-)Durkheimianism and Mediatized Confucianism in Korean “Piety Travel”
by Sam Han

Authenticity, Brand Culture, and Templestay in the Digital Era: The Ambivalence and In-Betweenness of Korean Buddhism
by Seung Soo Kim

TECHNOLOGIES OF RELIGION: SPHERES OF THE SACRED IN A POST-SECULAR MODERNITY(2016)

Bringing together empirical cultural and media studies of religion and critical social theory, Technologies of Religion investigates powerful entanglements of religion and new media technologies taking place today. Making the argument that religion and new media technologies come together to create "spheres"—environments produced by an architecture of digital technologies of all sorts, from projection screens to social networking sites, the book suggests that prior social scientific conceptions of religious worship, participation, community and membership are being recast. Using the case of the strain of American Christianity called "multi-site," an emergent and growing church-model that has begun to win favor largely among Protestants in the last decade, the book details and examines the way in which this new mode of religiosity bridges the realms of the technological and the physical. Lastly, the book situates and contextualizes these developments within the larger theoretical concerns regarding the place of religion in contemporary capitalism. Technologies of Religion offers an important contribution to the study of religion, media, technology and culture in a post-secular world.

DIGITAL CULTURE AND RELIGION IN ASIA(2015)

This book critically analyses the functions and interconnectedness between religion and digital media in a range of East Asian countries. It discusses both how religious organizations make use of new technologies, and also explores how new technologies are reshaping religion in novel and interesting ways. Based on extensive research, the book focuses in particular on Christianity in South Korea, Neo-Shintoism in Japan, Falun Gong in China and Islam in Southeast Asia. Offering a comparative perspective on a broad range of media practices including video gaming, virtual worship, social networking and online testimonials, the book also investigates the idea that use of technology in itself mirrors religious practices. With an analysis of the impact of religion and new technology on national consciousness in a range of geographical locations, the authors offer a broadening of the scope of the study of religion, culture and media.

WEB 2.0(2011)

The book uncovers the connections between diverse media technologies including mobile smart phones, hand-held multimedia players, "netbooks" and electronic book readers such as the Amazon Kindle, all of which are made possible only by the Web 2.0. In addition, Web 2.0 makes a valuable contribution towards understanding the new developments in mobile computing as it integrates various aspects of social networking, whilst also tackling head-on the recent controversial debates that have arisen in a backlash to the Web 2.0.

THE RACE OF TIME: THE CHARLES LEMERT READER(2010)

Charles Lemert is one of the most renowned critics of social theory and theorists today. The editors of this book have offered and contextualised many of his best essays and situated them against the backdrop of American sociology. The breadth of Lemert's work doesn't stop at an academic engagement with theoretical debates such as 'globalisation' or 'postmodernism,' but cuts right to the heart of abiding social issues. His work is focused and continues to probe pressing questions such as the rise of vulnerabilities in an era of new capitalism. By weaving together personal narrative, research, lucid explanations, and a dynamic engagement with social theory of old and new, his unique prose renders accessible complex theoretical debates.

NAVIGATING TECHNOMEDIA: CAUGHT IN THE WEB(2007)

From email to video and text messaging, so much of our present social life depends on media technologies. Today it is clearer than ever that these not only play an active part in our everyday lives, but constitute our increasingly global realities. Navigating Technomedia argues for a new approach to media theory that allows technomedia to be studied on its own terms. Engaging in sociology, social theory, philosophy, and media studies, it provides an analysis of contemporary media technologies through the lens of various themes, including the modernity/postmodernity debate, the state of knowledge, space/time, and cultural politics in our contemporary information age.