Professor Christian Lee Novetzke

Christian Lee Novetzke

Featuring Christian Lee Novetzke, Professor of Comparative Religion, South Asia Studies, and International Studies at the University of Washington

Christian Lee Novetzke Lecture

Fall 2015 Soli Sorabjee Lecture

Fall 2015 Lecture

Thursday, November 12, 2015
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Presentation Room, Shapiro Admissions Center

The Political Theology of Modern Yoga

Yoga represents far more than a set of healthy stretches or mind-calming exercises. Yoga is a civilizational force that reshapes the societies that embrace it. Our studies of yoga have investigated the history, literature, and practice of yoga, and many commentators have studied the formation of yoga as a cultural commodity in the modern world. Yet a key aspect of yoga as a civilizational force has eluded critique. This is an understanding of the politics of yoga, and in particular, of the politics at its core. 

In his talk, Professor Christian Lee Novetzke discussed yoga as a political ideology and, in particular, as counterpoint to the current resurgence of debates about “political theology,” the secularization of formerly religious concepts. As yoga moves ever closer to the center of American life, he seeks to understand how this growth may influence far more than our physical or mental health, but might alter our shared political life as well.

Christian Lee Novetzke is Professor of Comparative Religion, South Asia Studies, and International Studies at the University of Washington. His scholarly work includes the books Religion and Public Memory (Columbia University Press 2008), The Quotidian Revolution (Columbia University Press 2017), and Amar Akbar Anthony:  Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation, with William Elison and Andy Rotman (Harvard University Press 2016).