Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion / Edition 1

Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion / Edition 1

by Hugh B. Urban
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0520236564

ISBN-13: 9780520236561

Pub. Date: 10/14/2003

Publisher: University of California Press

A complex body of religious practices that spread throughout the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions; a form of spirituality that seemingly combines sexuality, sensual pleasure, and the full range of physical experience with the religious life—Tantra has held a central yet conflicted role within the Western imagination ever since the first "discovery" of

Overview

A complex body of religious practices that spread throughout the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions; a form of spirituality that seemingly combines sexuality, sensual pleasure, and the full range of physical experience with the religious life—Tantra has held a central yet conflicted role within the Western imagination ever since the first "discovery" of
Indian religions by European scholars. Always radical, always extremely Other, Tantra has proven a key factor in the imagining of
India. This book offers a critical account of how the phenomenon has come to be.

Tracing the complex genealogy of Tantra as a category within the history of religions, Hugh B. Urban reveals how it has been formed through the interplay of popular and scholarly imaginations. Tantra emerges as a product of mirroring and misrepresentation at work between East and West—a dialectical category born out of the ongoing play between Western and
Indian minds. Combining historical detail, textual analysis, popular cultural phenomena, and critical theory, this book shows Tantra as a shifting amalgam of fantasies, fears, and wish-fulfillment, at once native and Other, that strikes at the very heart of our constructions of the exotic Orient and the contemporary West.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520236561
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
10/14/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
388
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Abbreviations


Introduction: Diagnosing the "Disease" of Tantra
1. The Golden Age of the Vedas and the Dark Age of Kali: Tantrism, Orientalism, and the Bengal Renaissance
2. Sacrificing White Goats to the Goddess: Tantra and Political Violence in Colonial
India
3.
India’s Darkest Heart: Tantra in the Literary Imagination
4. Deodorized Tantra: Sex, Scandal, Secrecy, and Censorship in the Works of John Woodroffe and Swami Vivekananda
5. Religion for the Age of Darkness: Tantra and the History of Religions in the Twentieth Century
6. The Cult of Ecstasy: Meldings of East and West in a New Age of Tantra
Conclusion: Reimagining Tantra in Contemporary Discourse

Notes
Bibliography

Index

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