Gnoseologies: We Cannot Imagine Otherwise: On Capitalist Personalities, Plotlines, and Promises of Salvation, with Dr. Andrea Jain

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Register

Expanding the boundaries of what currently counts as “knowledge” starts with diagnosing the social systemic dynamics that shape what we can and cannot imagine. In this talk, Andrea Jain addresses how capitalism, which currently enjoys unchallenged domination of the planet while also bringing about its demise, limits what we are capable of asking, thinking, and knowing as well as the kinds of relationships we can cultivate with ourselves, other humans, and other-than-human life. Jain draws on examples from popular culture—from advertising to Hollywood films—to show how different areas of capitalist consumption gesture beyond our accustomed ways of thinking and imagining with countercultural personalities, plotlines, and even promises of salvation only to contain and subsume the same within what Mark Fisher terms capitalist realism, that is, a framework largely outside of our conscious awareness in which capitalism is deemed limitless and without viable alternatives. 

Andrea R. Jain, Ph.D. is professor of religious studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis, editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture(Oxford 2014) and Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality (Oxford, 2020). She received her doctorate degree in religious studies from Rice University in 2010. She writes about capitalism, religion, sex, and society in our contemporary world. Jain’s current work, including the book project and documentary film Predation, offers an anti-capitalist critique that centers questions about our current planetary crisis with special attention to the relationships between human and non-human animals.


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