Affect and Knowledge-Production in Theology and Religious Studies

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  • Project Duration:

    September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2020

  • Core Funding Area:

    Big Questions

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  • Amount Awarded:


  • Grant DOI*:

  • *A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Director: Simeon McLean Zahl

Institution: The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of University of Cambridge

This project will advance the shifts taking place in theology and religious studies by engaging with leading contemporary research on affect and emotion, drawing especially on new insights from psychological science.

Directed by University of Cambridge theologian Dr. Simeon Zahl, the project seeks to have a broad impact on theology and religious studies by highlighting the role of affect and emotion in rational inquiry—including in the sciences themselves. It will draw together academic literature from theology, religious studies, psychology, and cognitive sciences concerning the theme of affect and its relationship to knowledge production.


  • Four articles in high-impact academic journals in Theology and Religious Studies such as Modern Theology, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, and Scottish Journal of Theology. These articles will include:
    • a scientifically-informed framework for attending to the role of affect in knowledge production and
    • applications of that framework it to specific problems, generating original solutions
  • Presentations at four meetings
  • A book proposal submitted to Duke University Press


  • Increased openness and interest in engagement with sciences within Theology and Religious Studies
  • Normalization of engagement with sciences in theological and religious studies scholarship


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