Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power
Accident: Animalism, Evolution, and Affective Economies
In this chapter, affect theory is brought into conversation with a convergent reading of deconstruction and postadaptationist evolutionary biology. Daniel C. Dennett’s adaptationist version of Darwinism proposes that biology can be analyzed in terms of a set of rationalizing evolutionary processes. Philosophically, this approach is contradicted by Derridean deconstruction, which has argued against the presupposition that human reason is the only mechanism for exploring systems of meaning, which should be understood as infected by haphazard accidents. Furthermore, contemporary evolutionary biologists—such as Stephen Jay Gould, Steven Rose, and Richard Lewontin—have also demonstrated the importance of accident for evolution, suppressing the exclusive prerogative of adaptationism to explain biological forms. Taken together, this interest in accident intersects with the emphasis, in the work of affect theorists such as Elizabeth Grosz and Sara Ahmed, on affective economies as systems of power reticulating bodies that are not reducible to economic or functionalist explanations.