Enthusiasm: Book Launch and Panel Discussion

When and Where

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Online please register


Join the Department for the Study of Religion and Religion in the Public Sphere for the book launch and panel discussion on Enthusiasm: Emotional Practices of Conviction in Modern Germany, written by Monique Scheer, professor of Historical and Cultural Anthropology and Vice-Rector for International Affairs and Diversity, University of Tübingen.

Panelists include Matthew Engelke, professor of Religion at Columbia University, and director for the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, Niloofar Haeri, professor of Anthropology, Program Chair for Islamic Studies at Johns Hopkins University and Birgit Meyer, professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University. Moderated by Pamela Klassen, professor and Chair, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. 

Enthusiasm seeks to contribute to a culturally and historically nuanced understanding of how emotions secure and ratify the truth of convictions. More than just pure affective intensity, enthusiasm is about something: a certainty, clarity, or truth. Neither as clearly negative as fanaticism nor as general as passion, enthusiasm specifically entails belief. For this reason, the book takes its starting point in religion, the social arena in which the concept was first debated and to which the term still gestures. Empirically based in modern German Protestantism, where religious emotion is intensely cultivated but also subject to vigorous scrutiny, it combines historical and ethnographic methods to show how enthusiasm has been negotiated and honed as a practice in Protestant denominations ranging from liberal to charismatic. Grounded in practice theory, Enthusiasm assumes that emotions are not an affective state we 'have' but mind-body activations we 'do', having learned to perform them in culturally specific ways. When understood as an emotional practice, enthusiasm has different styles, inflected by historical traditions, social milieus, and knowledge (even ideologies) about emotions and how they work. Enthusiasm also provides insight into how this feeling works in secular humanism as well as in politics, and why it is so contested as a practice in any context.

To register for the event, please go here.