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  • Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power

    Author(s):
    Pages: 304
    Illustrations: 3 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $89.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5982-1
  • Paperback: $24.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5990-6
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  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Introduction. Species, Religious Studies, and the Affective Turn  1

    1. Religion, Language, and Affect  19

    2. Intransigence: Power, Embodiment, and the Two Types of Affect Theory  36

    3. Teaching Religion, Emotion, and Global Cinema  60

    4. Compulsion: Affect, Desire, and Materiality  92

    5. Savages: Ideology, Primatology, and Islamophobia  120

    6. Accident: Animalism, Evolution, and Affective Economies  147

    7. A Theory of the Waterfall Dance: On Accident, Language, and Animal Religion  178

    Conclusion. Under the Rose  206

    Notes  219

    Bibliography  261

    Index  281
  • "Religious Affects represents a challenge to decenter our anthropocentric presuppositions more broadly, and, by appealing to human animality, provides a provocative angle for imagining affect over and above the all-toohuman parameters that usually characterize religious studies.... [M]any scholars will find Schaefer’s animal religion and his strategies for affective readings of religious phenomena both theoretically exciting and critically useful." 

    "Schaefer’s book is fascinating, mind-expanding, and entirely worth a read."

    "Religious Affects is an original and challenging argument for the discipline, especially to social-constructionist approaches, as it aims to radically reconfigure how we think about religion as a phenomenon grounded in feelings and emotions (affects) that humans share with the animal world."

    "For all its breadth in Religious Affects Schaefer develops a well-crafted argument and clarion call:the study of religion must include,at its very core, the study of affect.... Schaefer's project is timely in an urgent sense."

    "Religious Affects offers a new way to use affect theory to understand religion that better accounts for its connections with politics, globalization, and power."

    "Schaefer . . . is blazing a trail in religious studies."

    "[I]nteresting, provocative, and important."

    "Schaefer is certainly attempting to bring religion into intimate conversation with material reality, as well as scientific research. But what most distinguishes his approach, perhaps, is his attention to animal bodies and the affective pulses that run through, and animate, them."

    "Religious Affects is a truly interdisciplinary work that does a good job synthesizing a range of social and critical theory, phenomenology, and religious studies material in service of its goal—namely, to affectively theorize religion beyond the confines of certain reified contemporary debates in religious studies theory and method."

    Reviews

  • "Religious Affects represents a challenge to decenter our anthropocentric presuppositions more broadly, and, by appealing to human animality, provides a provocative angle for imagining affect over and above the all-toohuman parameters that usually characterize religious studies.... [M]any scholars will find Schaefer’s animal religion and his strategies for affective readings of religious phenomena both theoretically exciting and critically useful." 

    "Schaefer’s book is fascinating, mind-expanding, and entirely worth a read."

    "Religious Affects is an original and challenging argument for the discipline, especially to social-constructionist approaches, as it aims to radically reconfigure how we think about religion as a phenomenon grounded in feelings and emotions (affects) that humans share with the animal world."

    "For all its breadth in Religious Affects Schaefer develops a well-crafted argument and clarion call:the study of religion must include,at its very core, the study of affect.... Schaefer's project is timely in an urgent sense."

    "Religious Affects offers a new way to use affect theory to understand religion that better accounts for its connections with politics, globalization, and power."

    "Schaefer . . . is blazing a trail in religious studies."

    "[I]nteresting, provocative, and important."

    "Schaefer is certainly attempting to bring religion into intimate conversation with material reality, as well as scientific research. But what most distinguishes his approach, perhaps, is his attention to animal bodies and the affective pulses that run through, and animate, them."

    "Religious Affects is a truly interdisciplinary work that does a good job synthesizing a range of social and critical theory, phenomenology, and religious studies material in service of its goal—namely, to affectively theorize religion beyond the confines of certain reified contemporary debates in religious studies theory and method."

  • "Blending seamlessly the most fecund insights of affect theory, evolutionary biology, and critical animal studies, as well as feminist, queer, and postcolonial theories of materiality and embodiment, this bold and trenchant challenge to the ideology of human exceptionalism and its accompanying linguistic fallacy—the refusal to analyze religion and power outside of language and texts—offers a revolutionary and more capacious approach to religion that recovers its visceral intensity and animal generativity."  — Manuel A. Vásquez, author of, More Than Belief: A Materialist Theory of Religion

    "Writing on the side of apes, awesome animality, and the creaturely dimensions of human religious experience, Donovan O. Schaefer powerfully and persuasively shows how much religious studies has to benefit from its encounter with affect theory and critical animal studies. Religious Affects is urgent, necessary, and utterly compelling reading."—Ann Pellegrini, coauthor of Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance  — Ann Pellegrini, coauthor of, Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance

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  • Description

    In Religious Affects Donovan O. Schaefer challenges the notion that religion is inextricably linked to language and belief, proposing instead that it is primarily driven by affects. Drawing on affect theory, evolutionary biology, and poststructuralist theory, Schaefer builds on the recent materialist shift in religious studies to relocate religious practices in the affective realm—an insight that helps us better understand how religion is lived in conjunction with systems of power. To demonstrate religion's animality and how it works affectively, Schaefer turns to a series of case studies, including the documentary Jesus Camp and contemporary American Islamophobia. Placing affect theory in conversation with post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, Schaefer explores the extent to which nonhuman animals have the capacity to practice religion, linking human forms of religion and power through a new analysis of the chimpanzee waterfall dance as observed by Jane Goodall. In this compelling case for the use of affect theory in religious studies, Schaefer provides a new model for mapping relations between religion, politics, species, globalization, secularism, race, and ethics.
     

    About The Author(s)

    Donovan O. Schaefer is Departmental Lecturer in Science and Religion at the University of Oxford.
     

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