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Parallels between God and Google discussed

Feb. 11, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Similarities between modern day media and religion will come to light when an internationally renowned media historian and social theorist makes a presentation at Western Michigan University.

Dr. John Durham Peters will speak on "God and Google" from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in Room 2028 of Brown Hall. His talk is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, Peters will discuss how both media and religion provide ways for people to make sense of each other, themselves and the universe. Both, he says, furnish techniques for orientation and organization across space and time, and both God and Google claim to organize all the world's knowledge and information.

Peters will explore what it means for the human estate in 2010 that Google has become the central means of seeking and finding truth.

John Durham Peters is chairman and the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Media History and Social Theory in the Department of Communication at the University of Iowa. He is best known for his book "Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication," which traces broad historical, philosophical, religious, cultural, legal and technological contexts for the study of communication.

In 2000, he received the National Communication Association James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns memorial award for distinguished scholarship in rhetoric and public address. He has held fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust. He has published five books and dozens of chapters and journal articles.

His visit to WMU is through the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program and sponsored by the School of Communication.

The WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 to contribute to the intellectual life of WMU and the community by providing funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. In addition to meeting with faculty and students, these scholars address the community at large. Since its inception, it has supported more than 600 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines.

The chair of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Elke Schoffers, associate professor of chemistry.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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