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Encountering Kali

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Encountering Kali Cover

ISBN13: 9780520232402
ISBN10: 0520232402
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Encountering Kali "explores one of the most remarkable divinities the world has seen--the Hindu goddess Kali. She is simultaneously understood as a blood-thirsty warrior, a goddess of ritual possession, a Tantric sexual partner, and an all-loving, compassionate Mother. Popular and scholarly interest in her has been on the rise in the West in recent years. Responding to this phenomenon, this volume focuses on the complexities involved in interpreting Kali in both her indigenous South Asian settings and her more recent Western incarnations. Using scriptural history, temple architecture, political violence, feminist and psychoanalytic criticism, autobiographical reflection, and the goddess's recent guises on the Internet, the contributors pose questions relevant to our understanding of Kali, as they illuminate the problems and promises inherent in every act of cross-cultural interpretation.

Synopsis:

"The editors have assembled a South Asian/History of Religions dream team, and the result is a book that captures the sexy, gory power of the dark goddess who is the most exciting of all Hindu deities-and perhaps the most controversial and notorious of all deities. Academically profound and theoretically subtle, these essays are also vivid and juicy."—Wendy Doniger, author of The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade

"If any subject ever called for a book of many parts, it is Kali. These original and provocative essays, well chosen and thoughtfully organized, point to all sides of the Goddess's character. The result is a sharp and challenging book-the essential starting point for a new century of encountering Kali."—John Stratton Hawley, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion, Columbia University and co-editor of Devi: Goddesses of India

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 299-310) and index.

About the Author

Rachel Fell McDermott is Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College and author of Mother of My Heart, Daughter of My Dreams: Kali and Uma in the Devotional Poetry of Bengal (2001) and Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal (2001). Jeffrey J. Kripal is the Lynette S. Autry Associate Professor in the Humanities at Rice University and author most recently of Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism (2001).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

About the Cover Art and Chapter Silhouettes

Notes on Transliteration

Introducing Kali Studies

PART I. KALI IN THE TEXTS AND CONTEXTS OF SOUTH ASIA

1. Kali

2. Kali the Terrific and Her Tests: The Sakta Devotionalism of the Mahabhagavata Purana

3. The Domestication of a Goddess: Carana-tirtha Kalighat, the Mahapitha of Kali

4. Dominating Kali: Hindu Family Values and Tantric Power

5. Kali in a Context of Terror: The Tasks of a Goddess in Sri Lanka's Civil War

6. Kali Mayi: Myth and Reality in a Banaras Ghetto

PART II. KALI IN WESTERN SETTINGS, WESTERN DISCOURSES

7. Wrestling with Kali: South Asian and British Constructions of the Dark Goddess

8. "India's Darkest Heart": Kali in the Colonial Imagination

9. Why the Tantrika Is a Hero: Kali in the Psychoanalytic Tradition

10. Doing the Mother's Caribbean Work: On Shakti and Society in Contemporary Trinidad

11. Margins at the Center: Tracing Kali through Time, Space, and Culture

12. Kali's New Frontiers: A Hindu Goddess on the Internet

Appendix: Documentary Film and Video Resources for Teaching on Kali and Fierce Goddesses

Sarah Caldwell

Contributors

Select Bibliography

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Daniel Raphael, May 1, 2006 (view all comments by Daniel Raphael)
These 12 essays offer primarily classical, academic studies as well as a few more personal, informal reports on the worship of Kali. None of the little dots, over-and-underlines, or other markings meant to indicate correct pronunciation of transliterized words are ever explained; while this absence creates an aura of textual exoticism (and academic expertise?), it really *is* bad manners that the authors never provide a legend or table. That aside, I think they do a good job of presenting their subject, covering the span of time and events ranging from Western colonialism, changes in gender dynamics within mainstream Indian Hindu society, up to contemporary Western interest in the black goddess.

The implicit (and sometimes explicit) question that runs through these essays is "What is the real Kali?" This is asked in the context of "Western adoption" of Kali as a venerated goddess. I find myself questioning this question, as a god/dess would seem to me universally available (if a god is not, then what is?). I also wonder whether there exists a similarly scholarly volume taking a serious look at whether "Eastern adoption" of Jesus has somehow created a false, degraded, or somehow second-rate deity. I doubt it.

The value of an examination like this is less in cautionary reminders that gods are culturally bound (are they?), than it is as an invitation to reflect upon what She means to the worshipper. Let the academics--and the fanatics--fuss about whose property the gods really are, who has "the Kali franchise," and how human beings can turn anything and everything, including the sacred, into yet another battlefield...and let us keep Kali for ourselves.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780520232402
Editor:
McDermott, Rachel Fell
Editor:
Kripal, Jeffrey John
Editor:
McDermott, Rachel Fell
Editor:
Kripal, Jeffrey John
Editor:
Kripal, Jeffrey J.
Author:
McDermott, Rachel Fell
Author:
Kripal, Jeffrey J.
Publisher:
University of California Press
Location:
Berkeley
Subject:
Hinduism
Subject:
Gender Studies
Subject:
Kali
Subject:
Kali (Hindu deity)
Subject:
Asia - India & South Asia
Subject:
Hinduism - General
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Hinduism-General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
21
Publication Date:
20030531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
14 b/w photographs, 15 line illustration
Pages:
339
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.75 in 20 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » India
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Hinduism » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Indian Religion and Litrerature
Religion » Eastern Religions » The Feminine Deity
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Classical Mechanics

Encountering Kali New Trade Paper
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Product details 339 pages University of California Press - English 9780520232402 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"The editors have assembled a South Asian/History of Religions dream team, and the result is a book that captures the sexy, gory power of the dark goddess who is the most exciting of all Hindu deities-and perhaps the most controversial and notorious of all deities. Academically profound and theoretically subtle, these essays are also vivid and juicy."—Wendy Doniger, author of The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade

"If any subject ever called for a book of many parts, it is Kali. These original and provocative essays, well chosen and thoughtfully organized, point to all sides of the Goddess's character. The result is a sharp and challenging book-the essential starting point for a new century of encountering Kali."—John Stratton Hawley, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion, Columbia University and co-editor of Devi: Goddesses of India

"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 299-310) and index.
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