The application of new materialism—its methods, assumptions, and aims—to the study of religion is part of a larger “material turn” in the field. The precise elements of this turn might vary according to who is detailing them; however, all would agree that it involves, at least in large part, a rejection of the interiority, ideality, and emphasis on transcendence that long held sway in considerations of religion, in favor of exteriority, materiality, and immanence. Within this broader material turn, one of the defining elements of new materialism is the further rejection of an anthropocentrism central to much modern religious and theological thought.’ It is not much of a stretch to say that new materialism and religion, at first glance, seem to be a rather uncomfortable pairing. It is not surprising, then, that, despite some call for a new materialist mandate for the study of religion,2 there has not as yet been a proliferation of new materialist analyses of religion. Nonetheless, as is often the case, sites of tension yield creative and intriguing work.
KeywordsReligious Study Religious Experience Feminist Theory Religious Life Speculative Realism
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