Tuesday, July 8, 2008


The Forgan Smith building in Second Life

Salutations to you honoured reader. And welcome to the inaugural post in our humble but superlative blog. We, being the team of happy religion researchers at the University of Queensland's School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, have established this blog to share with you our amazing adventures in Second Life.

In the not too distant future we shall be pleased to offer you the opportunity to visit our very own island, the Religion Bazaar, after which this blog is named. On the island will be a replica (pictured) of the Forgan Smith building that is at the heart of UQ's St Lucia Campus, (I know, I know, why replicate real life in Second Life? - for one thing, it helps people to realise the quality of building possible in Second Life) as well as a collection of religious buildings from a variety of groups. We plan to use our island to offer students immersive educational experiences that are just not possible in real life. While you wait with bated breath for that exciting eventuality, we offer you these first few posts, which shall serve to introduce to you the members of our group.

One of the things I enjoy the most in SL is the opportunity to explore various personas. To facilitate this I have more than one avatar, some of whom (it never does to give all your secrets away) will be illuminating this blog with their various presences from time to time.

The real life me is writing my PhD on religion in Second Life, focusing on pagan and magical groups. Being, as I am, particularly interested in the intersections between science and magic, I plan to scout the boundaries of these two by examining the religious practices found in Second Life. I hope to establish whether or not one can do a 'real' initiation in a virtual world. To do this I need to try to work out what it is about virtual worlds that make them less, or more, real than the world that we call the real one. A big ask I know, but I am prepared to give it a go.

To whet your appetite
here is a machinima we made to give you an idea of what to expect once our island comes online.

Morgan Leigh

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