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Religion, Emotion, SensationAffect Theories and Theologies$
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Karen Bray and Stephen D. Moore

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285679

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285679.001.0001

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The Animality of Affect: Religion, Emotion, and Power

The Animality of Affect: Religion, Emotion, and Power

Chapter:
(p.19) The Animality of Affect: Religion, Emotion, and Power
Source:
Religion, Emotion, Sensation
Author(s):

Donovan O. Schaefer

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823285679.003.0002

This essay argues that the immensely influential concept of affect as unstructured proto-sensation that is primarily associated with Gilles Deleuze and Brian Massumi is insufficient to understand the roles of affect in religion and other formations of power. The Deleuzian approach to affect fails to reckon adequately with the animality of the human body, with its evolutionarily particular bio-architecture that affords it a finitely multiple repertoire of affects. Moving to religion by way of Sylvan Tomkins, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Sara Ahmed, the essay argues that the felt bodily needs and consequent affective economy of which religion is the product hinge on shame and dignity, and it proceeds to illustrate its claim with reference to Saba Mahmood’s analysis of the women’s Mosque Movement in pre-revolutionary Egypt.

Keywords:   affect theory, animality, Gilles Deleuze, Brian Massumi, women’s Mosque Movement

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