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Spiritual Seekers, Pilgrims and Psychonauts: Travelers to India and the Transformation of Religion in the long 1960s

Lecture | April 27 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 223 Moses Hall


Isabel Richter, University of Bremen

Institute of European Studies, Center for German and European Studies, Department of History, GHI West - Berkeley Office of the German Historical Institute, Washington DC, Institute for South Asia Studies


Travel reports and autobiographical texts chronicling journeys to the East in the long 1960s have boomed in the last twenty years. “Western” travelers did not only associate India with “life-changing decisions” but also characterized the trip as a crucial experience and an initiation of a generation. The lecture takes up the historical-cultural thesis of value change and the “life-style revolution” in the long 1960s and explores some of the cultural effects of travel and temporary migration to India among the youth of the 1960s and 1970s on popular cultures in the FRG, the UK, the U.S., and India. It links the history of transnational youth culture to the history of “alternative” tourism and the history of migration and focuses on the transformation of religion in the long 1960s.


heike@berkeley.edu, 510-643-4558