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Cal State East Bay Philosophy Department Chair Wins National Pop Culture Award


Christopher Moreman

  • May 7, 2015

Christopher Moreman, chair of the Department of Philosophy at Cal State East Bay, won a national popular culture award for a book he co-edited with colleague A. David Lewis.

The book, a collection of essays titled “Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age,” was named a co-winner of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association’s Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Edited Collection in Popular Culture and American Culture. Its selection was based on the book’s quality of research and scholarship, originality, and contribution to popular and American studies scholarship.

“Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age,” draws from a range of academic perspectives to explore the meaning of death in the digital age, and explain the new ways technology allows humans to approach, prepare for, and handle their ultimate destiny.

Today’s social media sites allow users to create messages to be published after they die. Facebook has an “If I Die” feature that enables users to create a video or text message for posthumous publication. Certain Twitter accounts will keep tweeting after the user had died.

“There is no doubt that the digital age has radically changed modern approaches to death and dying, grieving and memorial,” Moreman said. “New technology continues to present new opportunities and possibilities, but also new challenges as well.”

The idea for the book was born when Moreman and Lewis were invited to edit a collection of essays on digital death, based on papers that had been presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in 2012. Moreman is the founder of the academy’s program unit “Death, Dying, and Beyond.” Moreman came to CSUEB in 2008 and has been serving as chair of the Department of Philosophy since 2012. He earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from Concordia University, a master’s in the study of mysticism and religious experience from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Wales, Lampeter. He is author of “Beyond the Threshold: Afterlife Beliefs and Experiences in World Religions” and has served as editor or co-editor for several anthologies, including “Death, Dying, and Mysticism: The Ecstasy of the End”; “The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World”; “Race, Oppression and the Zombie: Essays on Cross-Cultural Appropriations of the Caribbean Tradition”; and “Teaching Death & Dying.”

Moreman’s co-editor on “Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age,” is graphic novelist, college educator and comics studies scholar A. David Lewis, who holds a doctorate in religion and literature from Boston University and a master’s in English literature from Georgetown University. He is also co-editor of “Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels”; author of “American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife”; and the creator of award-winning graphic novels, including “Mortal Coils” and “The Lone and Level Sands.”

About the Popular Culture Association /American Culture Association: The Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association aims to promote the study of popular culture by hosting and promoting conferences, publications and discussion. The PCA/ACA tries to identify and recruit new areas of scholarly exploration and to be open to new and innovative ideas. PCA/ACA is both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. The Ray and Pat Browne Awards are named after the organization’s founders, architects and builders. Ray Browne was instrumental in building the two associations as well as the academic study of popular culture from its early beginnings to its current place as a major focus of intellectual study. He and his wife, Pat, established the Popular Press, which published many early works in the field.

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