• Episode 4: Yoga And the Wellness to Conspirituality Pipeline

    What can’t yoga cure? Low back pain? Check. Hip soreness? Check. IBS? No problem. Infertility? Probably. 


    In this episode, we focus on wellness through one of its most well-known practices: yoga. Philip Deslippe from UCSB and journalist Stacie Stukin, a former Yoga Journal editor, talk about the expansive health claims surrounding yoga. We learn how yoga emerged as an industry, the strategies of yoga influencers, and how they use social media. The big question this week is why conspiracy theories are rife in the yoga world. We analyze the idea of a ‘wellness to conspirituality’ pipeline, challenging the idea of radicalisation as an inevitable result of wellness practices like yoga.


    For more information about research-based media by Axis Mundi Media visit: www.axismundi.us


    For more information about public scholarship by the Institute for Religion, Media, and Civic Engagement follow us @irmceorg or go to www.irmce.org


    Funding for this series has been generously provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. 


    Creator: Dr. Susannah Crockford

    Executive Producer: Dr. Bradley Onishi (@bradleyonishi) 

    Audio Engineer: Scott Okamoto (@rsokamoto)

    Production Assistance: Kari Onishi 

    Dr. Susannah Crockford (@suscrockford): Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona


    Further Reading:


    Deslippe, Philip, “Yoga Landed in the U.S. Way Earlier Than You’d Think—And Fitness Was Not the Point,” History, June 20, 2019, https://www.history.com/news/yoga-vivekananda-america 


    Deslippe, Philip, “Forgotten histories: Yoga’s popularity in the US long predates hippies and bead-wearing hipsters,” Scroll.in, May 21, 2018 https://scroll.in/magazine/878928/yogas-popularity-in-the-united-states-long-predates-hippies-and-mala-bead-wearing-hipsters 


    Stukin, Stacie, “Yogi Bhajan Turned an L.A. Yoga Studio into a Juggernaut, and Left Two Generations of Followers Reeling from Alleged Abuse,” Los Angeles Magazine, June 15, 2020, https://lamag.com/featured/yogi-bhajan 


    Foxen, Anya P. Inhaling Spirit: Harmonialism, Orientalism, and the Western Roots of Modern Yoga. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.


    Jain, Andrea R. “Who Is to Say Modern Yoga Practitioners Have It All Wrong? On Hindu Origins and Yogaphobia.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82 (2014): 427-71. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lft099 


    Jain, Andrea R. Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.


    Singleton, Mark. Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.


    Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives. Edited by Mark Singleton and Jean Byrne. London: Routledge, 2008.


    Alter, Joseph S. Yoga in Modern India: The Body between Science and Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.


    Ward, Charlotte, and David Voas. “The Emergence of Conspirituality.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 26 (2011): 103-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/13537903.2011.539846 


    Nguyen, Terry, “The wellness world’s conspiracy problem is linked to Orientalism,” Vox, July 16, 2021, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22577558/wellness-world-qanon-conspiracy-orientalism 


    Lau, Kimberly J. New Age Capitalism: Making Money East of Eden. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.


    Beres, Derek, Matthew D. Remski, and Julian Walker. Conspirituality: How New Age Conspiracy Theories Became a Health Threat. New York: PublicAffairs, 2023.


    Yoga Alliance. “2016 Yoga in America Study,” https://www.yogaalliance.org/Get_Involved/Media_Inquiries/2016_Yoga_in_America_Study_Conducted_by_Yoga_Journal_and_Yoga_Alliance_Reveals_Growth_and_Benefits_of_the_Practice 


    Cheetham, Joshua. “Does yoga have a conspiracy theory problem?” BBC News, February 19, 2021, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-55957298

    E4 - 54m - Jun 14, 2024
  • Episode 3: Wearable Wellness, Biohacking, and the Quest for Immortality

    Wellness is a $4.2 trillion industry, but what even is wellness? And can living well enable us - or at least a few billionaires - to live forever? In this episode, we investigate the information and misinformation surrounding wearable, biohacking, and consciousness hacking. The episode focuses in detail on Silicon Valley tech magnate Bryan Johnson, who is using these phenomena in order to reverse his aging and crack the immortality code. By honing in on Johnson, we open a window into the slippery and subjective nature of wellness claims, and how they often become misinformation. We talk about the neoliberal quantification of the self, and how wellness overlaps with spirituality, creating problems for how to evaluate claims made online. And GOOP. There is GOOP. Lots of it.


    For more information about research-based media by Axis Mundi Media visit: www.axismundi.us

    For more information about public scholarship by the Institute for Religion, Media, and Civic Engagement follow us @irmceorg or go to www.irmce.org

    Funding for this series has been generously provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. 

    Creator: Dr. Susannah Crockford

    Executive Producer: Dr. Bradley Onishi (@bradleyonishi) 

    Audio Engineer: Scott Okamoto (@rsokamoto)

    Production Assistance: Kari Onishi 

    Dr. Susannah Crockford (@suscrockford): Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona



    Further Reading:

    Karppi, Tero, Aleena Chia, and Ana Jorge. "In the mood for disconnection." Convergence 27, no. 6 (2021): 1599-1614.


    Chia, Aleena. "Virtual lucidity: A media archaeology of dream hacking wearables." communication+ 1 7, no. 2 (2019): 6.


    Chia, Aleena, and Joshua Neves. "The Data Pharmacy: Wearables from Sensing to Stimulation." Media Theory 6, no. 2 (2022): 78-110.


    Lupton, Deborah. The Quantified Self. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.


    Crockford, Susannah. Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona. University of Chicago Press, 2021. 


    Crockford, Susannah. "What Do Jade Eggs Tell Us About the Category “Esotericism”? Spirituality, Neoliberalism, Secrecy, and Commodities." In New Approaches to the Study of Esotericism, edited by Egil Asprem and Julian Strube, 201-16. Leiden: Brill, 2021.


    Cederström, Carl, and André Spicer.

    The Wellness Syndrome

    . Cambridge: Polity, 2015.


    Barassi, Veronica. “Algorithmic Violence In Everyday Life And The Role Of Media Anthropology” in the Routledge Companion to Media Anthropology, 2022. 


    Gault, Matthew. “Amazon Introduces Tiny ‘ZenBooths’ for Stressed-Out Warehouse Workers,” Vice, 21 May 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx5nmw/amazon-introduces-tiny-zenbooths-for-stressed-out-warehouse-workers 



    57m - Jun 7, 2024
  • Episode 2: The Religious Roots of Vaccine Denial

    Why did around 25% of Americans refuse to take the covid-19 vaccine? The pandemic raised the issue of vaccination to a new height in public awareness. In this episode, we look at the religious roots of vaccine resistance in the US with Kira Ganga Kieffer from Boston University. Beginning with the documentary Died, Suddenly, we learn about claims that vaccines are a cover for elites trying to depopulate the Earth. We talk about the social media campaign around the documentary, in which sudden deaths are linked to vaccines, including some famous examples. Tiffany Dover, a nurse who was among the first to receive a covid-19 vaccine, fainted and claims of her death went viral, persisting even after she did interviews and released a video explaining that she was alive. We look at the effect of online misinformation on vaccine decisions, and how the health freedom movement has leveraged social media to spread its messages.

    For more information about research-based media by Axis Mundi Media visit: www.axismundi.us

    For more information about public scholarship by the Institute for Religion, Media, and Civic Engagement follow us @irmceorg or go to www.irmce.org

    Created by Dr. Susannah Crockford

    Funding for this series has been generously provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. 

    Executive Producer: Dr. Bradley Onishi (@bradleyonishi) 


    Audio Engineer: Scott Okamoto (@rsokamoto)


    Production Assistance: Kari Onishi 


    Dr. Susannah Crockford (@suscrockford)

    Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona

    Kira Ganga Kieffer is writing a book for Princeton University Press based on her dissertation, Pure Bodies, Sacred Souls: Religion and Vaccine Skepticism in Modern American History


    Truthers: Tiffany Dover Is Dead. Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/truthers-tiffany-dover-is-dead/id1618512442 


    Larson, Heidi J. Stuck: How Vaccine Rumors Start - and Why They Don't Go Away. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.


    Millward, Gareth. Vaccinating Britain: Mass Vaccination and the Public since the Second World War. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2019.


    Sobo, Elisa J. "Theorizing (Vaccine) Refusal: Through the Looking Glass." Cultural Anthropology 31 (2016): 342-50. https://doi.org/10.14506/ca31.3.04 


    Wolfe, Robert M, and Lisa K Sharp. "Anti-Vaccinationists Past and Present." BMJ: British Medical Journal 325 (2002): 430. https://doi.org/10.1136/BMJ.325.7361.430 


    “How American conservatives turned against the vaccine,” Vox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv0dQfRRrEQ&ab_channel=Vox

    50m - May 31, 2024
  • Episode 1: What is Misinformation?

    Misinformation is big news, but what does it mean and why does it matter? If misinformation is simply incorrect information, can it be solved simply by telling people the right answer? 

    In this episode, we learn how misinformation can prevent people from voting if they think they aren’t eligible or can’t vote by mail; how misinformation can convince people to take certain drugs to cure a disease even if it’s not proven to be safe; and the ways misinformation can draw people into conspiracies like QAnon. But it’s not as simple as dispelling all misinformation from our midst. That seems impossible. Rather, in dialogue with Dr. David Robertson from the Open University, what we will discover points to a different question: Why do people believe misinformation at all and what does it do for them? In other words, instead of focusing on what people believe, perhaps the phenomenon of misinformation directs us to ask what beliefs do - who they favor, who they put in power, who they marginalize, and who they leave vulnerable. And by understanding the mechanics, maybe we can mitigate the damage misinformation does to our public square.


    For more information about research-based media by Axis Mundi Media visit: www.axismundi.us

    For more information about public scholarship by the Institute for Religion, Media, and Civic Engagement follow us @irmceorg or go to www.irmce.org

    Funding for this series has been generously provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. 

    Creator: Dr. Susannah Crockford

    Executive Producer: Dr. Bradley Onishi (@bradleyonishi) 


    Audio Engineer: Scott Okamoto (@rsokamoto)


    Production Assistance: Kari Onishi 

    Dr. Susannah Crockford (@suscrockford): Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona


    Further Reading


    Robertson, David G. UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age: Millennial Conspiracism. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.


    Robertson, David G., and Amarnath Amarasingam. “How Conspiracy Theorists Argue: Epistemic Capital in the Qanon Social Media Sphere.” Popular Communication 20 (2022): 193-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/15405702.2022.2050238.


    Howard, Philip N. Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020.


    Bail, Chris. Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021. 


    Uscinski, Joseph E., and Joseph M. Parent. American Conspiracy Theories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 


    Byford, Jovan. Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.


    Argentino, Marc-Andre. “The Church of QAnon: Will Conspiracy Theories Form the Basis of a New Religious Movement?” The Conversation, May 18, 2020, https://theconversation.com/the-church-of-qanon-will-conspiracy-theories-form-the-basis-of-a-new-religious-movement-137859 


    Hao, Karen. “How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation,” MIT Technology Review, March 11, 2021, https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/03/11/1020600/facebook-responsible-ai-misinformation/ 


    S1E1 - 59m - May 24, 2024
  • Trailer

    Welcome to Miss Information! This is a limited podcast series about the ways online misinformation and conspiracy theories infiltrate wellness communities and religious spaces. It's hosted by Dr. Susannah Crockford, lecturer in anthropology at the University of Exeter in the UK. Fascinated by weird beliefs and alternate realities of our current moment, Susannah researches conspiracy theories, environments, wellness, and social media. You can read more in her book, Ripples of the Universe: Spirituality in Sedona, Arizona (University of Chicago Press, 2021), in her academic articles and public scholarship, and on Twitter.


    1m - May 9, 2024
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