Religion, Affect, and Emotion Group: American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 2017, Call for Papers

Boston-SliderStatement 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.

Call for Papers

Affect Theory and Other Critical Theories of Bodies and Emotions: A Comparative Harangue

What is the relationship between affect/emotion, culture, and religion? How does affect theory compare to other approaches to the body in the humanities? How does an attention to specific affects—like rage, passion, or love—shape our analysis of religion and other social formations? For possible co-sponsorship with the Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion unit.

The Emotional Logic of Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as Discourses of Vulnerability

How do they create vulnerability through emotions? What is the emotional structure of being made vulnerable? How do these emotional contours interact with systems of power? For a possible co-sponsorship with the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide unit.

Pedagogy and Affect

How do affects shape bodies, selves, and subjects? How do they condition religions and other cultural products? How are they channeled in the classroom? What is the role of media–old or new–in marshaling transformative affect?

Misleading Affects

How do we assess affects? Should they be seen as true or false? Are they pre-divided into good and bad? When affects dazzle us–with spectacle or beauty, for example–what forces are marshaled and what effects are created? How do these questions intersect with issues of religion and power?


What are the affects in the wake of resistance? How do we use affect to revivify religion, politics, or culture? How do affects wear us down?


Steering Committee

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