Affect, Politics & Religion

Workshop for Advanced MA & PhD Students, Westfjords of Island, June 26 – 28, 2020

Religion is arguably the most socially and politically consequential domain in the regulation of cultural diversity in Western liberal democracies today. Religious difference evokes heated debates in secular public spheres, challenges not only ideas and practices of solidarity, but also of tolerance and identity.

This workshop postulates the idea that we can only understand these phenomena if we take the affective and emotional dimensions of these social processes seriously. We will therefore explore how we can theorize and study affect and emotions to better understand current interplays of politics with a variety of inequalities such as religion and racism. Throughout the workshop we will read, discuss and reflect on different theoretical and methodological perspectives from cultural studies to social sciences to ask how a social relational account of affect can inform our own research projects.

The two and a half day workshop is designed to provide an cooperative setting for up to 12 participants to read and discuss texts. Our aim is (1) to scrutinise current theoretical perspectives on affect with regard to inequalities, religion and the political; (2) to understand how these intertwined concepts can be approached methodologically in empirical research; (3) to guide participants in advancing their own knowledge and research of affect both theoretically and methodologically. The sessions include the following topics: Affect as a Social Relational Phenomenon, Affect and Theories of Democracy, Affect and Populism, Affect and Racism, Affect and the Secular, Affect and Religious Lives in the Nordic Countries, Methodological Perspectives on Affect.

We approach these topics by reading assigned texts and by discussing them with the authors via Skype.

If desired, opportunties to present and get feedback on own research projects will be provided.

The workshop will be held by the sociologists Aletta Diefenbach and Dr. Antje Kahl from the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) “Affectives Societies”, Freie Universität Berlin.

The workshop is organized by the Musuem of Jón Sigurðsson at Hrafnseyri, Island and Jón Sigurðsson Professorship at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, with the CRC “Affectives Societies”, Freie Universität Berlin.

For further questions please contact Valdimar J. Halldórsson: hrafnseyri(at)hrafnseyri(dot)is