Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power
Teaching Religion, Emotion, and Global Cinema
Framed by a discussion of a class taught at Haverford College in spring of 2013, this chapter explores the relationship between affect theory and globalization through an examination of the production and reception of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s documentary of evangelical Christian youth camps, Jesus Camp. A phenomenological, affective account of globalization sees globalization as a pedagogy that rotates intransigent, felt affective forms between bodies, producing structures of power. Phenomenological affect theorists see pedagogy as a transmission of affect (in Teresa Brennan’s phrase) that conditions the political subjectivity of bodies, defining the encounter between bodies and power. Jesus Camp illustrates this by showing children inculcated in a set of feeling practices that contribute to their emergence inside a set of political relationships. At the same time, the film itself operates as a performative artifact of American religion, affectively engaging with and reshaping felt political structures for evangelical and nonevangelical bodies.
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