Encountering Kali: In the Margins, at the Center, in the West

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Rachel Fell McDermott, Jeffrey J. Kripal
University of California Press, May 5, 2003 - Religion - 321 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

The Sakta Devotionalism of
39
Hindu Family Values and Tantric Power
80
The Tasks of a Goddess in Sri Lankas
100
Myth and Reality in a Banaras Ghetto
124
KĀLĪ IN WESTERN SETTINGS WESTERN DISCOURSES
145
Kālī in the Psychoanalytic Tradition
196
On Shakti and Society
223
Tracing Kāli through Time Space
244
A Hindu Goddess on the Internet
273
Documentary Film and Video Resources for Teaching on Kāli
297
LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
315
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About the author (2003)

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).

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