Tantra Sex, Secrecy Politics and Power in the Study of Religions

ISBN-10: 0520236564
ISBN-13: 9780520236561
Edition: 2003
Authors: Hugh B. Urban
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/14/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 365
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

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.

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: Diagnosing the "Disease" of Tantra
The Golden Age of the Vedas and the Dark Age of K&lC: Tantrism, Orientalism, and the Bengal Renaissance
Sacrificing White Goats to the Goddess: Tantra and Political Violence in Colonial India
India's Darkest Heart: Tantra in the Literary Imagination
Deodorized Tantra: Sex, Scandal, Secrecy, and Censorship in the Works of
Religion for the Age of Darkness: Tantra and the History of Religions in the Twentieth Century
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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