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

Hugh B. Urban (Author)
Synopsis 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 played a central yet conflicted role in the Western imagination ever since the first "discovery" of Indian religions by European scholars. Always radical, always extremely other, Tantra has proved to be a key factor in the imagination of India. This book officers a critical account of how the phenomenon came 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 - dialectical category born of the ongoing play between Western and Indian minds. Embracing 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 hart of our constructions of the exotic Orient and the contemporary west.
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About the author

Hugh B. Urban

Hugh B. Urban is Associate professor of religion and Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. He is the author of The Economics of Ecstasy: Tantra, secrecy, and power in Colonial Bengal (2001) and Songs of Ecstasy: Tantric and devotional Songs, from Colonial Bengal (2001).

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Bibliographic information

Title Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion
Author Hugh B. Urban
Format Softcover
Date published: 15.02.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8120829328
length xvi+372p., Figures; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.