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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Fall 2006

WGS 340 • Goddesses in World Religions and Cultures

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49625 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 201
Selby, M

Course Description

This course will provide a historical and cross-cultural overview of the relationship between feminine and religious cultural expressions through comparative examinations and analyses of various figures in world religions. We eill begin our study in Asia; specifically in India, where goddess worship is a vital part of contemporary Hinduism in all parts of the subcontinent. From goddesses of the Hindu tradition, we will move on to female figures in the Buddhist pantheon (such as Kuan-Yin, popular in China, Korea, and Japan), and then on to some goddesses of western antiquity 9Ianna, isis, Athena, and Apphrodite). We will also examine feminine prinicples in Judaism and Islam, and will end the course with a close study of Mary as mother, intercessor, and goddess. issues relating to gender, sexuality, power, and violence (Domestic and political) will be emphasized as themes throughout the course.

Grading Policy

50%: 2 short topics papers (5-7 pages) 50%: 2 take-home essay exams


Kinsley, David. The Goddesses' Mirror: Visions of the Divine from East and West. Pintchman, Tracy. The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition. Hawley, John Stratton, ed. Sati, the Blessing and the Curse: The Burning of Wives in India. Cabezon, Jose Ignacio, ed. Buddhism, Sexuality, and Gender. Shaw, Miranda. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism Warner, Marina. Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary


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