Digital Civil Society Speaker Series: Where Does Change Come From? Cases of Conservative Innovation

June 6th, 2024 - 4:00 pm to 5:15 pm PT

Encina Commons, Room 119 615 Crothers Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Register here to join us in-person.

Join us for a monthly gathering that explores critical insights on the intersections and implications of digital dependencies with democratic norms and civil society values and actors. The Digital Civil Society Speaker Series is a thought-provoking forum that brings together leading experts and scholars to discuss pressing issues shaping our digital world.

The Digital Civil Society Lab is delighted to be joined by Dr. Erica Robles-Anderson who will discuss Where Does Change Come From? Cases of Conservative Innovation.

This is a talk about how traditional cultural narratives shape migrations into new technological regimes. Drawing on almost two decades of archival research and fieldwork, I’ll showcase a set of examples grounded in conservative religious lifeworlds. From the rise of megachurches which radically transformed the material culture of Protestant worship, to the multi-level marketing strategies that re-networked the telephone industry, to the contemporary challenge to standardized testing and educational common cores, this talk puts under-analyzed examples of social reproduction in view. In so doing, it opens a set of questions about the status and forms of digital civil society as well as strategies for provoking the emergence of new conditions of possibility by paying attention to topologies of coordination amongst heterogenous social actors.

Erica Robles Anderson is an associate professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University, with affiliation in Religious Studies. Trained as a cultural historian, experimental psychologist, and design researcher, she focuses on what counts as innovation through the lens of social reproduction. She is currently working on a trilogy about U.S. religious conservatives and organizational change. Robles Anderson is currently a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), and Editor-in-Chief of Public Culture.


  • Erica Robles-Anderson - Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University