’Religious Feelings’ vs. Secular Affects/Emotions
The working group concentrated on the question of religious as well as secular affects and emotions from an internal (religious/personal/particular) as well as an external (secular/impersonal/universal) point of view. The concept of “religious feeling”, as used in theology, philosophy and other disciplines, has for long be associated with individual faith and subjective religious experience as Schleiermacher defines religion to be “the sense of absolute dependence on God”. However, developments in recent studies instigated new ways of approaching religious feelings while criticizing the unilateral Protestant understanding of emotions as a personal affair. Trying to challenge this approach of religiosity as personal and private feeling, the working group attempted to contribute to the development of a methodological approach to the study of affect through discourse, while trying to challenging the borders between religious and secular. This new approach to affect within religious and secular was of interest not only to religious studies but also to the sociology of religion. In both disciplines there is an increasing focus on the affective and emotional components of religion in relation to the secular. What remains to be analyzed further is the historical connections between the affective and emotional character of religiously or secularly motivated action and their historical interdependencies. Within the framework of the working group we have organized an international workshop on the 4-5 November, 2016, which than turned into an edited volume entitled Affects and Emotions in Multi-religious Secular Societies. During the workshop Christian von Scheve, one of the organizers, conducted an interview with Donovan Schaefer, one of the participants, who talk about his understanding of religious affects. Also within the framework of the working group Anna L. Berg has published a blog entry on the emotionality of the Charlie Hebdo killings in the German medial discourse.