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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Thursday, December 8

western yoga as imperial blowback

The ever rising American enthusiasm for yoga and all things Eastern is one of the supreme ironies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Is it a kind of reverse cultural infection that now runs endemic through the once supposed high civilization of the conquerors? The shorthand cliche of liberal guilt partially recognizes this dynamic while at the same time denying its deeper implications. Perhaps this reversal reflects instead the awkwardly embarrassed paranoia of a forward looking, future-shocked Stockholm syndrome.

Colonialism was made possible, and then sustained and strengthened, as much by cultural technologies of rule as it was by the more obvious and brutal modes of conquest that first established power on foreign shores. ...in certain important ways, knowledge was what what colonialism was all about. Cultural forms in societies newly classified as "traditional" were reconstructed and transformed by and through this knowledge, which created new categories and oppositions between colonizers and colonized.
Even at our present far remove from the end of the British Raj, the question remains: who has colonized whom?


simplify colonialism: transform your life after loss
Cohn argues... that the painstaking efforts by British Orientalists to study Indian languages was an important part of the colonial project of control and command... He shows how the very Orientalist imagination that led to brilliant antiquarian collections, archeological finds, and photographic forays were in fact forms of constructing an India that could be better packaged, inferiorized, and ruled.

~ Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge
from the Foreword
by Nicholas B. Dirks




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