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Encountering Kali


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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

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).


"The editors take us from the margin, through the center, to the West, "through the shifting lenses of scriptural history, temple architecture, political violence, feminist and psychoanalytic criticism, autobiographical reflection, and the goddess's recent guises on the Internet," a round tour of an obscure, dense, powerful subject."--News India Times

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