Nilima Chitgopekar is Associate Professor of History in the Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. She has written books dealing with the Shaiva pantheon which include, Encountering Sivaism: The Deity, the Milieu, the Entourage (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers), and The Book of Durga (Penguin), and edited Invoking Godesses: Gender Politics in Indian Religion (Shakti Books). Her forthcoming title, Rudra:The Idea of Shiva (Penguin), a fictionalised biography of Shiva, will be released in June 2005.
Lectures on Goddesses
Hindu goddesses and Christian theology: With special attention to two Tamil hymns in the antati style
What do we learn from the iconography of the goddess
The devotion to and puissance of beauty: The case of the Saundaryalahari
Images and ideas of the goddess in the Hindu tradition
Prof. Mandakranta Bose (Emeritus Professor, Centre for India and South Asia Research, University of British Columbia, Canada)
Making room for the goddess: A theology of Sri in fourteenth-century South India
While Vedanta Desika (fourteenth century, South India), as a Srivaisnava Hindu, was a member of a tradition with the greatest respect for the Goddess Sri, in his era there was still lively debate about her precise status in relationship to the supreme deity, Narayana.
The power of divine beauty: A study of the Saundaryalahari
Among the varied ways of worshipping a goddess, the chanting of her eulogy is favoured by many a devotee and the existence of a wide range of such litanies are part of India’s religious tradition.
The "Hindu" Goddess and Indian modernity
The Lion of Durga
Dr Robinson did his D.Phil. research on the Worship of Clay Images in West Bengal. An important part of this was the study of Hindu iconography and the festivals of West Bengal, including Durga puja. Recently he has become a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and is working on an article on an ivory figure of Durga in the V&A which was part of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Photographs taken during fieldwork in Bengal and amongst the Bengali community in the UK are now in the British Museum Asia collection and in the archives of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Items such as pata paintings and saras collected during my research in Bengal are also in the Asia collection of the British Museum. He is currently a teacher of Religious Education in Oxfordshire. His fascination with Durga started from a very early age in India where he was born and brought up and he is now particularly interested in researching Durga puja in Calcutta during the British period from 18th–20th centuries.
The origins and development of Shaktism
This seminar will explore traditions focused on the Goddess and examine the boundaries of Shakta traditions. The seminar will examine different kinds of Shakta tradition, those within the boundary of Brahmanical orthodoxy and those outside of that boundary. The seminar will raise critical questions about tradition, about etic and emic accounts, and about the relation of Indology to Anthropology. Bjarne Wernicke Olesen has a degree in Classical Indology and the Study of Religions from the University of Aarhus where he now teaches Sanskrit and Hinduism in the Department of the Study of Religions. He is currently undertaking doctoral research in the area of Shaktism.