Religion, Language, and Affect
This chapter spells out the implications of affect theory by laying out what it can offer religious studies in the wake of the linguistic turn. Where the linguistic turn successfully connected religions to systems of power by focusing on the relationships between religion, language, and history, affect theory suggests that formations of power—including religion—can be better understood by expanding the scope to include nonlinguistic processes. The survey of affect theory that follows suggests it is best understood according to two lineages. The Deleuzian lineage takes affect to be a prestructured, precognitive force that connects bodies to power but never rises to the level of personal experience. The phenomenological lineage, although also focusing on the link between affect and power, permits affect to be understood as felt emotions, insisting that the phenomenological is itself political.