Subtitled 'Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power in the Study of Religion', this is a major study of how the much-disputed category of tantra came to be associated with sexuality and strangeness in the European imagination. Beginning with the colonial encounter between East and West, Urban skilfully tracks the changing representations of tantra across oriental scholarship, missionary fears, popular literature, esoteric traditions and the New Age.
Urban shows how understandings of tantra represent an intersection of fears, fantasies and desires, which lie at the very heart of the exotic Orient and the contemporary West.
California: University of California Press, 2003. Paperback, xvi+372 pages. New.