Afterlives of Affect

Science, Religion, and an Edgewalker’s Spirit

Afterlives of Affect

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 20 illustrations Published: August 2020

Subjects
Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Affect Theory

In Afterlives of Affect Matthew C. Watson considers the life and work of artist and Mayanist scholar Linda Schele (1942–1998) as a point of departure for what he calls an excitable anthropology. As part of a small collective of scholars who devised the first compelling arguments that Maya hieroglyphs were a fully grammatical writing system, Schele popularized the decipherment of hieroglyphs by developing narratives of Maya politics and religion in popular books and public workshops. In this experimental, person-centered ethnography, Watson shows how Schele’s sense of joyous discovery and affective engagement with research led her to traverse and disrupt borders between religion, science, art, life, death, and history. While acknowledging critiques of Schele’s work and the idea of discovery more generally, Watson contends that affect and wonder should lie at the heart of any reflexive anthropology. With this singular examination of Schele and the community she built around herself and her work, Watson furthers debates on more-than-human worlds, spiritualism, modernity, science studies, affect theory, and the social conditions of knowledge production.

Praise

Afterlives of Affect is a remarkable and highly original work that pushes the boundaries of scholarly writing in creative and challenging ways. It speaks to science studies, the history of anthropology and anthropological theorizations of meaning, new materialist scholarship, the posthumanities, and the renewed interest in experimental anthropological writing. A work of outstanding importance, this book is an eminently accessible and hugely enjoyable read.” — Stuart J. McLean, author of Fictionalizing Anthropology: Encounters and Fabulations at the Edges of the Human

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Matthew C. Watson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0843-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0797-5
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