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Introduction

New Materialism and the Study of Religion
  • Tamsin Jones
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)

Abstract

The application of new materialism—its methods, assumptions, and aims—to the study of religion is part of a larger “material turn” in the field. The precise elements of this turn might vary according to who is detailing them; however, all would agree that it involves, at least in large part, a rejection of the interiority, ideality, and emphasis on transcendence that long held sway in considerations of religion, in favor of exteriority, materiality, and immanence. Within this broader material turn, one of the defining elements of new materialism is the further rejection of an anthropocentrism central to much modern religious and theological thought.’ It is not much of a stretch to say that new materialism and religion, at first glance, seem to be a rather uncomfortable pairing. It is not surprising, then, that, despite some call for a new materialist mandate for the study of religion,2 there has not as yet been a proliferation of new materialist analyses of religion. Nonetheless, as is often the case, sites of tension yield creative and intriguing work.

Keywords

Religious Study Religious Experience Feminist Theory Religious Life Speculative Realism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Sonia Hazard, “The Material Turn in the Study of Religion,” Religion and Society: Advances in Research 4 (2013): 58–78. Accessed July 10, 2014. doi:10.3167/arrs.2013.040104Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Clayton Crockett and Jeffrey W. Robbins, Religion, Politics and the Earth: The New Materialism in Radical Theologies Series (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, eds.,New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency and Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010); Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, eds., New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies (Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press, 2012).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    See Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman, eds., Material Feminisms (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008); Linda Alcoff, “Philosophy Matters: A Review of Recent Work in Feminist Philosophy,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 25:3 (2000): 841–882; Karen Barad, “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28:3 (2003): 801–831; Rosa Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory (NewYork: Columbian University Press, 1994); Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1994); Sara Ahmed, “Open Forum Imaginary Prohibitions: Some Preliminary Remarks on the Founding Gestures of the ‘New Materialism,’” European Journal of Women’s Studies 15:1 (2008): 23–39.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See Leon Niemoczynski, “21st Century Speculative Philosophy: Reflections on the ‘New Metaphysics’ and Its Realism and Materialism,” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 9:2 (2013): 14.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Bruno Latour, Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999); Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); Catherine Malabou, The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, Dialectic (New York: Routledge, 2004); Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain? (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008); Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier (London: Continuum, 2008).Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Jane Bennett, “A Vitalist Stopover on the Way to New Materialism,” in New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency and Politics, ed. Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 47; emphasis added.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 19.
    Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  9. 48.
    Mark C. Taylor, ed.Critical Terms for Religious Studies (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  10. 49.
    Robert A. Orsi, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).Google Scholar
  11. 51.
    Robert A. Orsi, “The Problem of the Holy,” in The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies, ed. Robert A. Orsi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 84, 90.Google Scholar
  12. 55.
    See Jane Bennett, The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tamsin Jones 2016

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  • Tamsin Jones

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