Religious Imagination and the Body
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Religious Imagination and the Body : A Feminist Analysis

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Description

In recent years feminist scholarship has increasingly focused on the importance of the body and its representations in virtually every social, cultural, and intellectual context. Many have argued that because women are more closely identified with their bodies, they have access to privileged and different kinds of knowledge than men. In this landmark new book, Paula Cooey offers a different perspective on the significance of the body in the context of religious life and practice. Building on the pathbreaking work of Elaine Scarry in The Body in Pain, Cooey looks at a wide range of evidence, from the Argentine prison narrative of Alicia Partnoy, to the novels of Toni Morrison and the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Drawing on current social theory and critique, cognitive psychology, contemporary fiction and art, and women's accounts of religious experience, Cooey relates the reality of sentience to the social construction of reality. Beginning with an examination of the female body as a metaphor for alternative knowledge, she considers the significance of physical pain and pleasure to the religious imagination, and the relations between sentience, sensuality, and female subjectivity. Cooey succeeds in bringing forward a sophisticated new understanding of the religious importance of the body, at the same time laying the foundations of a feminist theory of religion.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 202 pages
  • 162.8 x 243.6 x 19.3mm | 487.7g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 6 pp halftones
  • 0195087356
  • 9780195087352

About Paula M. Cooey

Paula M. Cooey is Professor of Religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, where she has taught since 1981. The author of several books, she is currently focusing her research on the epistemological significance of the body.show more

Back cover copy

In recent years feminist scholarship has increasingly focused on the importance of the body and its representations in virtually every social, cultural, and intellectual context. Many have argued that because women are more closely identified with their bodies than men are, they have access to privileged and different kinds of knowledge. In this landmark new book, Paula Cooey offers a new perspective on the significance of the body in the context of religious life and practice. Religious Imagination and the Body addresses such vital concerns as the role of the body in religious experience, the impact of gender or sexual difference on religious experience and its authority, and the viability of women's religious experience as an authoritative alternative to male-centered and male-dominated culture. Cooey argues an innovative position that is both critical and constructive, thus contributing to the ongoing debates in contemporary theory of religion, philosophical theology, and feminist theory. Building on the pathbreaking work of Elaine Scarry in The Body in Pain, Cooey looks at a wide range of evidence, from the Argentine prison narrative of Alicia Partnoy, to the novels of Toni Morrison and the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Using current social theory and critique, cognitive psychology, contemporary fiction and art, and women's accounts of religious experience, Cooey relates the reality of sentience to the social construction of reality. Analyzing the female body as a metaphor for alternative knowledge, Cooey considers the significance of physical pain and pleasure to the religious imagination, and the relations between sentience, sensuality, and female subjectivity. This important studybrings forward a sophisticated new understanding of the religious importance of the body, at the same time laying the foundations of a feminist theory of religion.show more

Review quote

Cooey's descriptions are refreshingly clear. Her examples drawn from the literary works of Alicia Partnoy, Paule Marshall, and Toni Morrison, and the paintings of Frida Kahlo are compelling-at times, bone chilling-as she shows the interaction between the body as a physical locus and as a nexus of discursive practices, the body as site and sign....For anyone interested in the way in which issues of gender and sex are corporeally configured by the religious imagination and the epistemological issues such an analysis generates, this book is essential reading. * Edith Wyschogrod, Rice University *show more

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