Wendy Doniger

Wendy Doniger

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Wendy Doniger

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Wendy Doniger (O'Flaherty) (born November 20, 1940) is an American Indologist and Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School, the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought. She has taught at the University of Chicago since 1978.

Much of her work is focused on translating, interpreting and comparing elements of Hindu mythology through modern contexts of gender, sexuality and identity. She describes herself as "a Sanskritist, indeed a recovering Orientalist"Doniger, The Hindus, 35 and "an old-fashioned philologist".Doniger, The Bedtrick, p. xxii.


Doniger was born in New York City to immigrant non-observant Jewish parents, and raised in Great Neck NY, where her father, Lester L Doniger (1909–1971), ran a publishing business. While in high school, she studied dance under George Balanchine and Martha Graham. She graduated summa cum laude in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Radcliffe College in 1962, and received her M.A. from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in June 1963. She then studied in India in 1963–1964 with a 12-month Junior Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies. She gained her first Ph.D. from Harvard University in June 1968, with a dissertation on 'Asceticism and Sexuality in the Mythology of Siva,'...
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