Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xiv

Negative Ecstasies had its genesis over a breakfast at an annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, more years ago than the editors are comfortable remembering or admitting. We were strangers then, and the risk we took in working together produced not only this collection of essays but, as important, camaraderie and friendship. One of the losses of...

read more

Introduction: Sacred with a Vengeance

Jeremy Biles, Kent L. Brintnall

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-18

Negative Ecstasies. The title of this volume is excessive, pleonastic—for according to Georges Bataille (1897–1962), all genuine ecstasy is necessarily, and violently, negative. Bataille characterizes ecstasy as a laceration of the ego, a rupture that for a time dissolves the self-contained character of the individual as she exists in her everyday life. It is in the varieties of ecstatic...

read more

Movements of Luxurious Exuberance: Georges Bataille and Fat Politics

Lynne Gerber

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 19-37

America’s fascination with body size, weight loss, and fatness has decidedly religious overtones.1 The development of dieting as a cultural imperative has been marked by a moral intensity that, in the view of some historians, grew in direct proportion to the decline of religious authority in American life.2 By the early twentieth century, “fat,” writes the historian Peter...

read more

Sovereignty and Cruelty: Self-Affirmation, Self-Dissolution, and the Bataillean Subject

Stephen S. Bush

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 38-50

Georges Bataille populates his writings with the imagery of torture and murder. His fiction revels in sexual assault. He speaks of evil as having a sovereign value for humanity. He speaks of there being intimacy between the sacrificers and the victims in human sacrificial rituals. He compares sex to human sacrifice. He describes himself meditating on photos of a man...

read more

Erotic Ruination: Embracing the “Savage Spirituality” of Barebacking

Kent L. Brintnall

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 51-67

“Eroticism,” according to Georges Bataille, “unlike simple sexual activity, is a psychological quest.” And while it “is in the first place an exuberance of life, [its] object . . . is not alien to death.”1 In this quest, “the being loses himself deliberately.”2 Like religion, eroticism is a “search for lost intimacy.”3 To regain intimacy, eroticism—and religion—“destroy...

read more

Desire, Blood, and Power: Georges Bataille and the Study of Hindu Tantra in Northeastern India

Hugh B. Urban

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 68-80

Although he described his own work as a kind of “atheology,” more concerned with God’s death than with God’s existence, Georges Bataille must be counted as one of the twentieth century’s most important theorists of religion. From his own Theory of Religion to his work on mysticism, sacrifice, and erotic spirituality, Bataille has influenced a wide range of...

read more

The Religion of Football: Sacrifice, Festival, and Sovereignty at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

David Chidester

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 81-94

Football, the world’s game, the beautiful game, the sacred game, has often been characterized as a religion. In the advent of the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in South Africa, many commentators observed that football is a religion because it looks like religion and acts like...

read more

Violent Silence: Noise and Bataille’s “Method of Meditation”

Paul Hegarty

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-105

For close to forty years, Bataille compulsively documented and railed at the loss of the sacred in his contemporary world. The capitalist world he saw was nothing more than the diminishing of human existence, its entire miserable character defined by the progressive removal of the sacred. Bataille was not the first to notice the vital (or morbid) connection between...

read more

Georges Bataille and the Religion of Capitalism

Jean-Joseph Goux

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 106-122

Bataille does not cease to interrogate the advent of a society, ours, that totally liberated the production of things from its archaic finality, which was the unproductive destruction of the surplus, a destruction mostly realized in religious sacrifices. These sacrifices had a fundamental function: they operated, according to Bataille, as a return to intimacy, a reaffirmation...

read more

Sacrifice as Ethics: The Strange Religiosity of Neoliberalism

Shannon Winnubst

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 123-137

As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century on the Western, Christian calendar, a new kind of rationality is fully taking root in U.S. culture. Despite ideological or political differences, we are all speaking the same language, drinking the same Kool-Aid, breathing the same air: we are all neoliberals, whether we even know what that might mean. Neoliberalism, which...

read more

Bataille’s Contestation of Interpretative Anthropology and of the Sociology of Religion

Alphonso Lingis

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 138-152

Religions, rituals, and myths have been studied as social practices and institutions by the sociology of religion. The symbolic function and representational content of rituals and myths have been elaborated into theologies and studied by cultural and interpretative anthropology. And participation in rituals and the mental organization of individuals and groups by myths...

read more

The Traumatic Secret: Bataille and the Comparative Erotics of Mystical Literature

Jeffrey J. Kripal

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 153-168

One of the most formative books of my intellectual training was Georges Bataille’s Erotism: Death and Sensuality, in the City Lights Books edition. You know, the one with a photo of the face of Bernini’s Saint Teresa on the cover, moaning in divine ecstasy, as the Catholic mystical tradition has it. Or in orgasm, as Jacques Lacan famously pointed out. Or both. I read...

read more

Foucault’s Sacred Sociology

Mark D. Jordan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 169-181

In Foucault’s own genealogy, no bloodline is more difficult to draw than the one running to Bataille—unless it is their joint descent from Nietzsche. Facts about their shared circumstances are not hard to come by, nor is literary evidence of Foucault’s readerly admiration (though it did not lead him to seek out the living author). The note presenting the edition...

read more

Bataille and Kristeva on Religion

Zeynep Direk

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 182-201

This essay concentrates on Bataille’s and Kristeva’s readings of religion in order to discuss what religion signifies for them. Both Bataille and Kristeva interpret religious signification in terms of desire, law, and death. They understand these forms of human finitude as heterogeneous experiences of life. The role that abjection plays in their conception of religion will...

read more

Bataille, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Death of God

Allan Stoekl

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 202-216

It is well known that Georges Bataille, already by the 1930s, was a major proponent in France of the notion of the “death of God.” And since he also was a strong proponent of the rereading of Nietzsche—at a time when many French readers assumed that Nietzsche was simply a “fascist” philosopher—one can assume that Bataille’s mortal God was largely derived...

read more

Does the Acéphale Dream of Headless Sheep?

Jeremy Biles

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 217-238

Writing in a 1937 issue of the short-lived journal Acéphale, under the double heading “Nietzsche Dionysus,” Georges Bataille proclaims, “The very first sentences of Nietzsche’s message come from ‘realms of dream and intoxication.’ The entire message is expressed by one name: DIONYSUS.’ ”1 In placing Nietzsche’s “entire message” under the sign of Dionysus, Bataille...

read more

Afterword

Amy Hollywood

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 239-244

For years, I couldn’t look at them. In the late eighties, I thought about writing my dissertation on Bataille, but as long as I couldn’t look at the photographs—images of a torture victim Bataille describes himself meditating on during the days leading up to and in the midst of World War II—as long as I couldn’t look at them, it seemed wrong to pretend to understand...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 245-284

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 285-302

Contributors

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 303-306

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 307-312

Other Works in the Series

pdf iconDownload PDF