The Scholar & Feminist Online, an e-journal published by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, recently launched a special issue on religion and the body.
Posts Tagged ‘the body’
About eight months into my fieldwork, I began to have dreams about the morning disciplinary routines at OISCA’s training centers. I told a couple of staff about it, and they laughed, telling me that the routines, and perhaps OISCA, must finally be seeping into my body (mi ni shimitsuite kitanda). The morning routines at the training centers require a heightened awareness, and it’s not surprising that it takes time for it to leave one’s senses. . . . OISCA staff acknowledge that the training style is alien to most people. However, it is thought that repetition of the routines over the year will open people’s minds to understand what the trainings are about: how to work in harmony with others toward the goal of development. The saturation of repetitive bodily experiences is thought to draw the person out of one’s comfort zone, out of one’s self, and craft a sense of community bound by an awareness of each other and a shared commitment to disciplinary demands coming from a place external to everyone, including the staff. The discipline, in this view, circulates.
Is there a secular body? Or, in somewhat different terms, is there a particular configuration of the human sensorium—of sensibilities, affects, embodied dispositions—specific to secular subjects, and thus constitutive of what we mean by “secular society”? What intrigues me about this question is that, despite its apparent simplicity, the path toward an answer seems not at all clear. For example, are the scholarly sensibilities and the modes of affective attunement that find expression here elements of a secular habitus? What would be indicated by calling such expressive habits “secular”?