Prof. Hugh Urban

Hugh B. Urban is a professor of religious studies and South Asian studies in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. He is primarily interested in Tantra and in the complex interactions between Tantra and new religious currents in America and Europe. He is the author of seven books, including Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power in the Study of Religions (2003), Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (2005), and The Power of Tantra: Religion, Sexuality and the Politics of South Asian Studies (2010).


In Press. “Dynamic Meditation, Shivering Kundalini, and Neo-Tantra: Osho-Rajneesh and the Reformulation of Tanta in the Twenty-first Century.” In Contemporary Yoga and Sacred Texts. Ed. by Susanne Scholz and Caroline Vander Stichele. New York: Routledge.

In Press. “Subtle Bodies: Cartographies of the Soul, from India to ‘the West.’” Hermaoin. In Press.

In Press.“Modernity and Neo-Tantra.” In Oxford Handbook of Tantric Studies. Ed. by Glen A. Hayes and Richard Payne. New York: Oxford University Press.

In Press. “The Left-Hand Path: From Hindu Tantra to Modern Satanism.” In Occult South Asia. Ed. by Karl Baier and Mriganka Mukhopadhyay. Leiden: Brill.

2021. “My Life in a Love Cult: Tantra, Orientalism and Sex Magic in Early Twentieth Century Fiction.” In Fictional Practice: Magic, Narration and the Power of Imagination, 203-222. Ed. by Bernd-Christian Otto and Dirk Johannsen. Leiden: Brill.

2021. Secrecy: Silence, Power, and Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2019. “The Cradle of Tantra: Modern Transformations of a Tantric Center in Northeast India, from Nationalist Symbol to Tourist Destination.” South Asia 42, no.2: 256-277.

2018. “Dancing for the Snake: Possession, Gender, and Identity in the Worship of Manasa in Assam.” Journal of Hindu Studies 30, no.7: 1-26.

2018. “Death, Nationalism, and Sacrifice: Ritual, Politics, and Tourism in Northeast India.” In Irreverence and the Sacred: Critical Studies in the History of Religions. Ed. by Hugh B. Urban and Greg Johnson. New York: Oxford University Press.

2018. “Rajneeshpuram was More than a Utopia in the Desert; It was a Mirror of the Time.” Humanities 39, no.2.

2016. Zorba the Buddha: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Capitalism in the Global Osho Movement. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2015. New Age, Neopagan, and New Religious Movements: Alternative Spirituality in Contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2014. “Sex Magic.” In The Occult World, 564-570. Ed. by Christopher Partridge. New York: Routledge.

2013. “Zorba the Buddha: The Body, Sacred Space and Late Capitalism in the Osho International Meditation Resort.” Southeast Review of Asian Studies 35: 32-49.

2012. “Tantra, American Style: From the Path of Power to the Yoga of Sex.” In Transformations and Transfer of Tantra in Asia and Beyond, Istvàn Keul, ed. Berlin: De Gruyter.

2010. The Power of Tantra: Religion, Sexuality, and the Politics of South Asian Studies. London and New York: I.B. Tauris and Palgrave MacMillan.

2006. Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2003. Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power in the Study of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2008. “The Yoga of Sex: Tantra, Orientalism and Sexual Magic in the Ordo Templi Orientis,” in Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism, Jeffrey J. Kripal and Wouter J. Hanegraaff, eds. Leiden: Brill.

2005. “Osho, From Sex Guru to Guru of the Rich: The Spiritual Logic of Late Capitalism.” In Gurus in America. Edited by Cynthia Ann Humes (Albany: SUNY Press), pp.169-192.

2004. “The Beast with Two Backs: Aleister Crowley, Sex Magic and the Exhaustion of Modernity.” Nova Religio 7, no.3: 7-25.

2003. “Unleashing the Beast: Aleister Crowley, Tantra and Sex Magic in late Victorian England.” Esoterica: The Journal of Esoteric Studies 5: 138-92. Also on-line here.

2001. “The Omnipotent Oom: Tantra and its Impact on Modern Western Esotericism,” Esoterica: The Journal of Esoteric Studies 3: 218-259. Also on-line here.

2000. “The Cult of Ecstasy: Tantrism, the New Age and the Spiritual Logic of Late Capitalism,” History of Religions 39: 268-304.

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