Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 46, No 3-4 (2017)

Emoji Dei: Religious Iconography in the Digital Age

Méadhbh McIvor, Richard Amesbury
Issued Date: 21 Dec 2017


A recent proposal to create a hijab emoji raises interesting questions about the place of "religion" among the colorful pictographs that increasingly punctuate our texts, emails, and social media posts. In this exploratory article, we offer some preliminary – and, of necessity, inchoate – reflections on religious representation in the digital age and outline possible avenues of research for colleagues and students to pursue. Of crucial importance, we argue, are what religiously-themed emoji might suggest about the default world in which they operate; a default, we submit, that functions to affirm the normative ascendance of the secular.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/bsor.32715


Bible Emoji. http://www.bibleemoji.com/.

Bleuel, Nicole. 2016. “Promoting Gender Equality Through Emoji.”

Boellstorff, Tom. 2008. Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hern, Alex. 2017. “Apple Marks World Emoji Day with Beards, Headscarves
and Breastfeeding.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/17/world-emoji-day-apple-unveiling-new-symbols-bearded-person-breastfeeding-sandwich-zombies-t-rex-ios-11.

McGill, Andrew. 2016. “Why White People Don’t Use White Emoji.”
The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/white-people-dont-use-white-emoji/481695/.

Miller, Daniel. 2011. Tales from Facebook. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Ohlheiser, Abby. 2016. “There Is No Hijab Emoji: This 15-Year-Old Student
Is Trying To Change That.” The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/09/13/there-is-no-hijab-emoji-this-15-year-old-student-is-trying-to-change-that/.

Richardson, Nick. 2016. “Short Cuts.” London Review of Books 38
(8): 12.

Unicode Consortium. 2015. “Draft Unicode Technical Report #51.”
———. 2017. “The Unicode Consortium.” http://unicode.org/consortium/consort.html

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 2017. “National Cemetery Administration:
Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers.”


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: [email protected]

Privacy Policy