May 1, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 16

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    Doniger delves into myths with 'The Implied Spider'

    We all know that myths have been used to explain how the world works -- how it was created, why the winds blow, where the gods reside. But Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Professor in the Divinity School, says they do much more than that. Myths, according to Doniger, give us insights into both the deep-seated ideas that are shared between cultures and the often divisive ideas, on subjects as broad and deep as politics and sex, that are not.

    Doniger, this year's holder of the American Lectureship in the History of Religions, will explore the different voices of myth-tellers through the lecture series "The Implied Spider: Politics, Theology and Myth," from Monday, May 5, through Wednesday, May 7.

    The series of five lectures will begin with "Microscopes and Telescopes," presented at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 5, at the Gleacher Center as part of the CityFront Forum series. The series will continue with four lectures in Swift Hall. On Tuesday, May 6, Doniger will present "Barking Dogs, Implied Spiders and the Politics of Individualism" at noon followed by "Micromyths, Macromyths and Multivocality" at 4 p.m. On Wednesday, May 7, she will give the lectures "Mother Goose and the Voice of Women" at 2 p.m. and "Textual Pluralism and Academic Pluralism" at 4 p.m.

    Doniger is one of the world's foremost experts on Hindu religion and mythology. She most recently edited an English-language version of Yves Bonnefoy's Mythologies, a comprehensive encyclopedia of world mythologies. She is currently working on Sexual Masquerades and The Mythology of Horses in India as well as a novel, Horses for Lovers, Dogs for Husbands. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a past president of the American Academy of Religion. This year, she is serving as president-elect of the Association for Asian Studies and is the first scholar of religion to be so honored.

    The American Lectureship in the History of Religions, sponsored by the American Academy of Religions and the American Council of Learned Societies, was founded in 1891 to encourage path-breaking scholarship. Recipients of the lectureship present a lecture series at a number of American universities. Since autumn quarter, Doniger has spoken at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Missouri, Cornell, Emory and Duke.

    For more information, call 702-7170.