Sensational Religion Sensory Cultures in Material Practice Sally M. Promey

Publication date:
05 May 2017
Yale University Press
720 pages: 254 x 178mm
81 b-w + 103 color illus.
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The result of a collaborative, multiyear project, this groundbreaking book investigates the dynamic constellation of religion, sensation, and materiality, exploring the interpretive worlds of sensory phenomena in material practices of religions.
Under the rubric of “making sense,” the studies assembled here consider how people have used and valued sensory data. How have they shaped their material and immaterial worlds to encourage or discourage certain kinds or patterns of sensory experience? How have they framed the sensual capacities of images and objects to license a range of behaviors, including iconoclasm, censorship, and accusations of blasphemy or sacrilege? Exposing the dematerialization of religion embedded in secularization theory, editor Sally Promey proposes a fundamental reorientation in understanding the personal, social, political, and cultural work accomplished in religion’s sensory and material practice. Sensational Religion refocuses scholarly attention on the robust material entanglements often discounted by modernity’s metaphysic and on their inextricable connections to human bodies, behaviors, affects, and beliefs.

Sally M. Promey is professor of American studies and professor of religious studies (Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Yale University); and professor of religion and visual culture (Yale Institute of Sacred Music). She is founding director of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion (