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Is the Goddess a Feminist?: The Politics of South Asian Goddesses

Alf Hiltebeitel (Editor) Kathleen M. Erndl (Editor)
Synopsis The Goddesses of Hinduism and Buddhism represent the largest extant collection of living female divinities anywhere in the world. These South Asian Goddesses, interestingly, are also products of predominantly patriarchal and male supremacist societies. The fifteen interdisciplinary essays in this book engage with the impact of powerful female deities—their images, projections, textuality and history—on the social standing and psychological health of women. Do South Asian Goddesses empower women or serve the interests of patriarchal culture? While attempting answers, the contributors discuss contemporary Indian women who have accepted Goddesses as spiritually and socially liberating, as well as the seeming contradictions between the power of Indian Goddesses and the lives of Indian women. They also debate such topics as the element of male desire in the embodiment of female deities, the question of who speaks for the Goddesses, and the politics and theology of western feminist use of Hindu and Buddhist Goddesses as models for reflection. This book is essential for scholars and researchers in the field of South Asian religion and gender as also for those reading feminist theology, cultural studies and mythology.
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About the author

Alf Hiltebeitel

Alf Hiltebeitel is professor of religion and director of the Human Sciences Program at the George Washington University. He is the author and editor of numerous books including Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits : Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics

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Bibliographic information

Title Is the Goddess a Feminist?: The Politics of South Asian Goddesses
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition Reprint
Language: English
isbn 0195664191
length 287p., Index.