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Martha Selby

Associate FacultyPh.D., University of Chicago

Professor and Chair, Department of Asian Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Martha Selby


  • Phone: 475-6040
  • Office: WCH 4.134A
  • Office Hours: FALL 2012: Tuesdays 1-4 p.m.
  • Campus Mail Code: G9300


Courses taught:
Undergraduate: Gender/Sex/Family in Indian Religion/Culture; Goddesses in World Religions and Cultures; Senior Seminar: Death in Asia;
Advanced Sanskrit Readings and Composition; Senior Seminar: Death, Dying, and the Afterlife in South and East Asia

Graduate: A Critical Approach to the Study of South Asian Texts; Classical Indian Literature in Translation; Translating Indian Texts:History and Method; Advanced Sanskrit Readings and Composition; Translating India



WGS 340 • Goddesses World Relig/Cul

46143 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 216
(also listed as ANS 340, ANT 324L, R S 373)

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 goddess figures in world religions.  We will 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 the goddesses of the Hindu tradition (Kālī and Lakṣmī, for example), we will move on to female figures in the Buddhist Mahāyāna pantheon (such as Kuan-Yin, popular in China, Korea, and Japan), and then on to some of the goddesses of western antiquity (Inanna, Isis, Athena, Aphrodite, and Mary in her aspects as mother and intercessor).  We will end the course with a study of contemporary goddess worship in the United States as an important expression of Neo-Paganism.  Issues relating to gender, sexuality, power, and violence (domestic and political) will be emphasized as themes throughout the course.

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