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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Fall 2008

ANS 340 • Goddesses in World Religions and Cultures

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31280 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 201

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 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, 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 of the goddesses of western antiquity (Inanna, Isis, Athena, and Aphrodite). We 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

1 short topics paper (7-10 pages): 50%; 2 take-home essay exams: 50%


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. Sat×, 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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