”Total Atheism”: a new monograph on irreligious matters by Stefan Binder

15 February, 2021

This book by Stefan Binder brings material and aesthetic approaches to religion into conversation with the anthropology of the secular and recent ethnographic approaches lived nonreligion. It explores an organized atheist movement in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by focusing on the social, cultural, and aesthetic challenges faced by secular activists in their endeavors to establish atheism as a practical and comprehensive “way of life”. On the basis of original ethnographic material, Total Atheism develops an alternative to Eurocentric accounts of secularity by approaching secular difference as a question of aesthetic perceptibility. The book’s chapters revisit central themes of South Asian scholarship, like questions of personhood, marriage practices, public oratory, religious sentiments, or critiques of caste from the hitherto marginalized vantage point of radically secular and explicitly irreligious atheists. The introduction is publicly available here.