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Religion, Affect, and Emotion Unit

Call for Proposals

  • One session will be a "lightning session" composed of 5-8 minute talks from a variety of standpoints on the concept, theorist, or question that initially brought you to affect theory. What is the inflection point, the illuminative labor that thinking about affect brings to your work? What questions were you asking that brought you into this theoretical space? The object of this session will be not just to return to some original impulses and questions, but to disaggregate: to counter the potential calcifying of "affect" into a single canonical block of ideas, theorists, or aesthetics and sensibilities. The papers should be succinct and directed, and (hopefully) live out their indebtedness to the concepts, questions, or thinkers they highlight.
  • Reflections on the influence of Lauren Berlant in religious studies and theology.
  • After the Catastrophic. Surviving cataclysm and the senses, sensations, and embodiments that attend it. How have social, cultural, and psychological practices and strategies that we associate with religion imagined or negotiated the afterlife of disaster -- as event and/or ongoing condition? What is the affective life of those imaginations and negotiations?
  • History of emotions approaches and religious studies. How has the field of history of emotions associated with scholars like Barbara Rosenwein, Monique Scheer, and William Reddy been applied to religious studies? Where has religious studies absorbed its insights? How has it been modified and hybridized in our field?
  • How and why have so many right-wing, white Americans, predominantly evangelical Christians, come to be so deeply animated by fantasies of, and preparation for, civil war? Internet and social media-promulgated conspiracy theories, right-wing militia training camps, Christian survivalist youtubers, demonization of the BLM movement on right-wing media outlets, the ongoing percolation of Trumpnation, the rage and glee of January 6th, all signal and increasingly articulate the craving for open violence. What are the affective and religious forces charging these movements towards the desire for violence and atrocity?

Statement of Purpose

This Unit provides space for theoretically-informed discussion of the relationship between religion, affect, and emotion. The Unit serves as a meeting point for conversations on the affective, noncognitive, and passional dimensions of religion coming from diverse fields, including anthropology, comparative religion, psychology, decolonial theory, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and theology. Proposals drawing on these theoretical resources to examine specific religious traditions, shifting historical understandings of religion and affect/emotion, comparative work that looks at affective forms across traditions, and broader theoretical reflections are all welcome.

Chairs

Steering Committee Members

Method

PAPERS
E-mail with Attachment (proposal is in attachment, not in body of e-mail)

Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members