Interplay of Things: Religion, Art, and Presence Together

by Anthony B. Pinn
Duke University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-4780-1446-1, Cloth: 978-1-4780-1353-2, eISBN: 978-1-4780-2176-6, OA eISBN: 9781478091769

In Interplay of Things Anthony B. Pinn theorizes religion as a technology for interrogating human experiences and the boundaries between people and other things. Rather than considering religion in terms of institutions, doctrines, and creeds, Pinn shows how religion exposes the openness and porousness of all things and how they are always involved in processes of exchange and interplay. Pinn examines work by Nella Larsen and Richard Wright that illustrates an openness between things, and he traces how pop art and readymades point to the multidirectional nature of influence. He also shows how Ron Athey's and Clifford Owens's performance art draws out inherent interconnectedness to various cultural codes in ways that reveal the symbiotic relationship between art and religion as a technology. Theorizing that antiblack racism and gender- and class-based hostility constitute efforts to close off the porous nature of certain bodies, Pinn shows how many artists have rebelled against these attempts to counter openness. His analyses offer a means by which to understand the porous, unbounded, and open nature of humans and things.

Anthony B. Pinn is Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University and the author of many books, including Humanism: Essays on Race, Religion, and Popular Culture, Introducing African American Religion, and The End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theology. He is coeditor of Creating Ourselves: African Americans and Hispanic Americans on Popular Culture and Religious Expression, also published by Duke University Press.

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