Chapter

Introducing Kālī Studies

Rachel Fell McDermott and Jeffrey J. Kripal

in Encountering Kālī

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232396
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928176 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520232396.003.0001
Introducing Kālī Studies

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Since the 1970s, interest in goddesses and goddess-like figures has been on the rise in Western culture on both the popular and scholarly levels. During this same period, scholars have continued to debate the role of culture, history, psychology, and gender in the construction and representation of these same goddess figures. This book explores the complexities, promises, and problems involved in meeting and interpreting a specific Hindu deity, the goddess Kālī, who represents the totality of life and death. It looks at what her indigenous South Asian contexts have long acknowledged and even celebrated, the excesses of her power, sexuality, and violence. Part I is devoted to Kālī's indigenous South Asian iconography, mythology, and symbolism and provides evidence for her associations in South Asia with blood and power, sexuality, and Tantra. Part II turns to the West and investigates the various contours of Kālī's different Western representations.

Keywords: Kālī; goddesses; West; South Asia; power; sexuality; violence; Tantra; iconography; mythology

Chapter.  9250 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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