In this episode, we speak with Dr. Amanda Lucia about her new book, White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals (2020, UC Press). We discuss transformational festivals in California, the nature of religious exoticism, white possessivism, and cultural appropriation in North American yoga and bhakti communities.
Amanda Lucia is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California-Riverside. Her research engages the global exportation, appropriation, and circulation of Hinduism. She is author of White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals (October 2020), which investigates the intersections of whiteness and religious exoticism among the “spiritual, but not religious” at transformational festivals, such as Bhakti Fest, Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle, and Burning Man, with a particular focus on yoga practice. Her previous publications include Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014) and numerous articles. She is currently crafting a body of research on sexual abuse in guru-led religious communities.