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The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was

A leading authority in international religious studies for more than thirty years, Wendy Doniger is one of the most eclectic scholars in the humanities today. Topics as varied as death, dreams, evil, horses, sex, and women have attracted her critical gaze, and her work has been termed “at once exactingly learned, strikingly original, exuberantly humane, and refreshingly witty.”

Doniger’s principal teaching and research interests are Hinduism and mythology, but she draws cannily for material from everywhere, including Greek myths, the Hebrew Bible, medieval romance, Shakespeare, and Hollywood. Doniger’s writing first drew praise in 1973, for Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva (1973), and the twenty-something books she has written since include Other People’s Myths: The Cave of Echoes (1995); The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (2000); The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (1980); The Rig Veda: An Anthology (2005); and, most recently, The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation (2004).

Wendy Doniger has taught at the University of Chicago since 1978, where she is currently director of the Martin Marty Center, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, and a member of the Committee on Social Thought; the other titles she holds are too numerous to list. Doniger has two doctorates from Harvard and Oxford.

This lecture by Professor Doniger is part of the freshmen seminar series, Self and Society, and is sponsored by the Dean of the Faculty at CMC.