The Humanities Research Center is pleased to invite students and faculty to meet with our scholar-in-residence, Professor Donovan Schaefer, from the University of Pennsylvania, who will be at DKU during the first week at of the spring semester.
Professor Schafer is well known for his work on affect theory and has published two major monographs on the relationship of religion, science and affect.
His first book, Religious Affects, draws on affect theory and evolutionary biology to explore the extent to which nonhuman animals have the capacity to practice religion, linking human forms of religion and power through a new analysis of the chimpanzee waterfall dance as observed by Jane Goodall. In his compelling case for the use of affect theory in religious studies, Donovan Schaefer provides a new model for mapping relations between religion, politics, species, globalization, secularism, race, and ethics.
His recent award-winning monograph, Wild Experiment, challenges the conventional wisdom that feeling and thinking are separate. Drawing on science studies, philosophy, and affect theory, Schaefer reconceptualizes rationality as defined by affective processes at every level. The fact that cognition is felt, Schaefer demonstrates, is both why science succeeds and why it fails. He concludes that science, secularism, atheism, and reason itself are not separate from feeling but comprehensively defined by it.
While at DKU, Professor Schaefer will lead three events.
Feeling is Believing: A New Approach to Conspiracy Theory
Tuesday, January 9, 4pm-5:30pm, AB1087
What makes people believe? How do science and disinformation battle to convince us? And why has the apocalyptic discourse of conspiracy theory risen to prominence in the current political moment in America? This talk considers a new way of assessing the relationship between thinking and feeling, suggesting that we see them as deeply interrelated rather than fundamentally separate. Shifting our frame of reference allows us to draw a clearer map of how and why conspiracy theories have managed to gain such a powerful hold in contemporary society.
Jointly organized with the University Colloquium Committee
Thursday, January 11, 3:30-4:30pm, in the Library Tea House
The Affective Academic: Reflecting on Embodied Research and Emotional Pedagogy
In this workshop, participants have the opportunity to explore the emotional dimension of research and teaching. How does affect/emotion affect the process of research discovery and publication? How does affect/emotion shape faculty pedagogy positively or negatively? How can paying attention to the affective dimension of faculty life help to strengthen well-being and performance?
This event will be followed by faculty happy hour from 4:30-5:30pm.
Jointly organized with the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of Faculty Development
Thursday, January 11, 6-7pm, IB2026
Wild Experiment: Feeling Science and Secularism after Darwin
In this seminar, Professor Schaefer will discuss the main ideas of his recent book that defines rationality as a process shaped by affect. Professor Miller will respond with a discussion of Chinese philosophical ideas of the heart/mind (xin 心) and Daoist theories of embodied knowledge. All participants are invited to contribute their own ideas to the conversation.
Jointly organized with Superdeep.