Producing Ayurveda
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Khan, H. (2023). Producing Ayurveda: Racialized Subjectivities in the Beauty and Wellness Industries. American Studies, 61(3). Retrieved from


Ethnic services and products have a particular salience in the global beauty and wellness industries such that their value is often based on a perceived Otherness that is mediated by workers, business owners, consumers, and other industry participants. Additionally, transnational aesthetic practices are often presented as vehicles for a set of values tied to an ideal racialized and gendered subject. In turn, the products and services serve as a means to achieve modernity/wellness through the authenticity that they guarantee. This study builds on work carried out in the ethnic beauty industry by analyzing the growing Ayurvedic wellness industry in Southern California. While I situate this research in Los Angeles, the industry is inherently transnational and informed by the global networks of mobilities, capital, and labor that shape the more recent popularity and growth of Ayurveda. This research explores the transnational nature of global Ayurveda, and I intervene through a critical discussion of global raciality, often excluded from studies on Ayurveda, to focus on how it informs the racialized, gendered, and classed dynamics that constitute South Asian diasporic racial formations and neoliberal multiculturalism.

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