South Asian Spiritualities in Contemporary Contexts
Henriette Hanky [+–]
University of Bergen
Knut A. Jacobsen [+–]
University of Bergen
István Keul [+–]
University of Bergen
This volume investigates contemporary bodily practices as a mode of transmitting and receiving South Asian religious and spiritual traditions. The collection’s essays explore processes of adoption and adaptation, and the ways in which somatic religious practices are transplanted into new contexts, acquiring new meanings and generating dynamics of their own. Using the concept of “embodied reception” as a heuristic, the contributions address the dialectic between inscribing knowledge on practitioners’ bodies and opening new avenues for meaning-making through bodily experiences.
The collection assembles a range of empirical cases: contemplative bodily techniques such as postural yoga, mindfulness, and meditation; ritual practices in modern advaitic satsang; South Indian martial art; tantric goddess veneration; contemporary Sāṃkhyayoga practices. The empirical studies span devotional communities, yoga institutions, New Age milieus, and secularized contexts, providing a rich tapestry of contemporary embodied reception in and outside South Asia. Assembling research on embodied forms of reception both in South Asia and in Western countries, the volume advocates for paying close attention to entangled histories of knowledge. Grounded in this empirical outlook, the volume also speaks to theoretical and methodological debates on travelling bodily practices. The contributions suggest theoretical and methodological frameworks ranging from aesthetics of religion to sociology of knowledge, from ethnographical to cognitive approaches.
Table of Contents
I. Theoretical and Methodological Considerations
areas of research are religious-secular pluralism, economics of religion and aesthetics of
religion/embodied cognition with view to contemporary religion in Europe, global religious
discourses and cosmopolitan spirituality. She was co-editor of the Journal of Religion in Europe and is board member of several book series and journals. Recent publications: with K. Wilkens (eds.) The Bloomsbury Handbook to The Cultural and Cognitive Aesthetics of Religion (2019).
community health. She is the author of Post-Lineage Yoga: From Guru to #MeToo, an Associate Lecturer at the Open University, and Project Coordinator for the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies.
II. Performing Textual Traditions
Munich. From 2015 to 2018 she was a fellow of the DFG Research Training Group “Presence and Implicit Knowledge” at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg and received her PhD in Religious Studies from LMU in 2021. For the Open Access publication of the book on her thesis A Text in Motion she was funded by Open Publishing in the Humanities. Her areas of research include modern and contemporary yoga, the reception of the Yogasūtra, the history of German yoga and of the physical culture movement, contemporary religion, aesthetics and embodiment.
III. Bodily Practices on the Move
director of the educational charity Inform based at King’s College London. She recently
published the Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (2021), co-edited with Karen O’Brien-Kop.
Her main areas of research are New Age religion, New Religious Movements, the history of
missions among the Sami, and the adaptation of Hindu/Buddhist yoga and meditation in
and Humanities Research Council’s Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership.
Lucy’s background is in dance, where her work investigates the confluence of her practices
of postmodern dance, martial arts and yoga.
IV. Embodied Meaning-making
body. His dissertation was an ethnography on the culture of conspiracy in Germany. He
teaches qualitative research methods at the Paracelsus Medical University of Salzburg and
is a freelance stress reduction and mindfulness trainer.
Her thesis revolves around the international scene of Modern Advaitic satsang in Rishikesh.
Thorsén’s research areas are Modern Advaita and Hindu-inspired meditation movements,
with a focus on lived religion.
research engages the global exportation, appropriation, and circulation of Hinduism. She is
author of White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals (2020), Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014), and numerous articles.
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- Archaeology & History
- Critical and Cultural Studies
- Food Studies/Cookery
- Linguistics & Communication
- Performing Arts
- Religion & Philosophy