Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power
A Theory of the Waterfall Dance: On Accident, Language, and Animal Religion
This chapter brings together the theoretical resources developed throughout the book to advance a comprehensive theory of the chimpanzee waterfall dance. It begins with a reflection on the opposition, according to some philosophers of religion, between religion as a linguistically mediated register of human transcendence and “everything else” as mere “dancing.” To counter this framework, the chapter uses affect theory, feminist studies of religion, and evolutionary biology to reconsider religion itself as dance. Rather than theorizing dance as “pure plastic rhythm,” as some Deleuzian affect theorists suggest, it focuses on dance as a play of intransigent forms producing affective responses...