Manufacturing Consent: Creating Hierarchies in the Guru-Disciple Relationship

Manufacturing Consent: Creating Hierarchies in the Guru-Disciple Relationship Amanda Lucia Sexual abuse happens across the globe and in nearly every environment. Recognizing this, religion scholar Andrea Jain argues that focusing on a specific religious context can be distracting and detrimental to tackling what is a global and ubiquitous problem. She writes, “The appeal to the dangers of guru charisma and devotion as an explanation for sexual violence pulls our attention away from larger social structures and norms that cultivate a dominant global culture of sexual violence … and lends itself to an orientalist stereotype of South Asians, their religions, and […]

Introduction: Abuse in Yoga and Beyond: Cultural Logics and Pathways for the Future

Introduction: Abuse in Yoga and Beyond: Cultural Logics and Pathways for the Future Christopher Miller In recent years, abuse scandals have shaken the yoga world once again, overturning previously held conceptions of yoga gurus, their teachings, and the individuals and organizations that have enabled their abuse. Most importantly, these abuse scenarios – whether they have involved sexual assault, cruelty, financial exploitation, etc. – have left individuals and communities disoriented, deeply traumatized, and desperately searching for answers. As Sacred Matters editor Gary Laderman writes, “the sacred is not always what it seems, can be associated with just about anything, and remains […]

7 Questions for Andrea R. Jain

Andrea R. Jain One difficult thing about writing Selling Yoga, though it was not surprising, is that contemporary popular culture defies the ability to locate any cultural object at one site or sites. And in the case of pop-culture yoga, we cannot locate it in my chosen sites alone. However, as a practical move, I had to select my examples as windows into the incalculable sites of the construction, dissemination, and practice of yoga. I had to carefully select from case studies in my effort to demonstrate that the postural practice we most associate with yoga today underwent global popularization as a consequence of its coincidence with transnational cultural developments.

Indian Summers: “You’re a Bloodthirsty Sepoy, Man!” Edition

Michael J. Altman and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst This is our second in a series of discussions about the PBS Masterpiece series Indian Summers, airing Sunday nights at 9 pm EST on PBS. Sacred Matter’s managing editor Michael J. Altman and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Vermont, will offer their reviews of the series as it airs in the United States. Don’t miss their analysis of episodes 1 and 2NOTE: THERE ARE SPOILERS 

Peace, Love, and World Religions?

Brian Pennington In 1893, Presbyterian minister John Henry Barrows opened the inaugural World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago by inviting the first-ever assembly of religious leaders from across the globe to join him in a “act of common worship” and to sing Isaac Watt’s Trinitarian re-write of the 100th Psalm. This less-than-catholic invocation, which concludes with the call to “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” was followed by a similar gesture when Cardinal James Gibbons recited the Lord’s Prayer, which Barrow declared the “universal prayer” that would open each of the Parliament’s seventeen days.