By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Shreena Gandhi, assistant professor of religion at Kalamazoo College, will give the talk, "Bending with the Market: Theorizing the Global Spaces of Yoga in the United States," Monday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University. [note time change]
The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the university's Charles H. Watts II Humanities Institute series, "Dis-orienting America: Asian Religions and U.S. Culture."
Gandhi will examine how the practices, the images and the products associated with yoga have become a part of the American lived and imagined landscape.
"Whether it is in upscale studios, living rooms, church basements or schools gymnasiums, people practicing yoga or asanas show up in advertisements that have nothing to do with yoga," she said, "and increasingly doctors are turning to yogic breathing exercises or pranayama to help patients with blood pressure and stress.
"Due to the forces of capitalism, these same changes in how yoga is practiced and perceived are also occurring globally, making the story of yoga in the U.S. a part of a larger global narrative," she said.
Gandhi, who holds degrees from Swarthmore, Harvard Divinity School and the University of Florida, is the author of Bending with the Market: The Braided Processes of Translating, Practicing and Commodifying Yoga in the U.S. (forthcoming.)
The theme of this year's Humanities Institute is "Dis-orienting America: Asian Religions and U.S. Culture." Other speakers throughout the semester will explore three major Asian religions — Buddhism, Hinduism and Daoism — that have had an impact on 20th-century high and popular American culture," according to James Shields, assistant professor of comparative humanities and Asian thought at Bucknell.
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