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Religious Affects


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Table of Contents

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

About the Author

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


"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." -- Abigail Kluchin * Journal of the American Academy of Religion *
"Schaefer's book is fascinating, mind-expanding, and entirely worth a read." -- Barbara J. King * Atlantic *
"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." -- Matt Sheedy * Religious Studies Review *
"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." -- Jonathan Russell * Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory *
"Religious Affects offers a new way to use affect theory to understand religion that better accounts for its connections with politics, globalization, and power." -- Staci Poston Conner * Affectsphere *
"Schaefer . . . is blazing a trail in religious studies." -- Jonathan Benthall * TLS *
"Religious Affects is an important book, rendering helpful therapy for some of the myopic methodological tendencies that can afflict the field of religious studies." -- Jason N. Blum * Syndicate *
"[Schaefer's] approach to reading affect theory through the lens of animality will enrich critical engagement with the concept of religion as a theoretical tool and as a word of power in the world." -- Pamela Klassen * Syndicate *
"Religious Affects comfortably belongs on the bookshelves of those who work with affect theory or in critical animal studies. For religious scholars, or anyone interested in affect theory or critical animal studies, it serves as a concise and valuable introduction to these theories, providing explanations, histories, applications, and paving ways for future scholarship." -- Alexander Cox-Twardowski * Journal of Religion and Popular Culture *

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