Wendy Doniger

Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions; also in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on Social Thought, and the College

MA, PhD (Harvard University)
DPhil (Oxford University)

Wendy Doniger’s research and teaching interests revolve around two basic areas, Hinduism and mythology.   Her courses in mythology address themes in cross-cultural expanses, such as death, dreams, evil, horses, sex, and women; her courses in Hinduism cover a broad spectrum that, in addition to mythology, considers literature, law, gender, and zoology.

Among over forty books published under the names of Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty and Wendy Doniger are seventeen interpretive works, including Siva: The Erotic Ascetic; The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology; Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts; Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities; Tales of Sex and Violence: Folkore, Sacrifice, and Danger in the Jaiminiya Brahmana; Other Peoples' Myths: The Cave of Echoes; Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India; The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade; The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth; The Woman Who Pretended To Be Who She Was; The Hindus: An Alternative History; and On Hinduism.

Among her translations are three Penguin Classics––Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook, Translated from the Sanskrit; The Rig Veda: An Anthology, 108 Hymns Translated from the Sanskrit; and The Laws of Manu (with Brian K. Smith)—a new translation of the Kamasutra (with Sudhir Kakar), and Hinduism, for the Norton Anthology of World Religions.  In progress are The Ring of Truth, and Other Myths of Sex and Jewelry; Skepticism in the Shastras, or The Manipulation of Religion for Politics and Pleasure in Ancient India (the 2014 Terry Lectures at Yale); Memoirs of a Jewish Girlhood (the 2015 Mandel Lectures at Brandeis); and a novel, Horses for Lovers, Dogs for Husbands.  


Select work: 


Wendy Doniger being interviewed "On Hinduism" by PhD student Sonam Kachru.
May 17, 2013



StoriesinMotion.PNGWendy Doniger on "Stories in Motion: Narrative Dance in India"  from Chicago Opera Theater.
July 10, 2008



Audio: Prof. Doniger on The Wisdom Of The Kama Sutra

Q&A with Wendy Doniger

Transcript: Spring 2008 Convocation Address, "Thinking More Critically about Thinking Too Critically."

"Many Gods, Many Paths: Hinduism and Religious Diversity," (PDF)  Religion and Culture Web Forum, February 2006.

"The Mythology of Self-Imitation in Passing: Race, Gender, and Politics," PDF) Religion and Culture Web Forum, December 2004.

“Masquerading as One's Self: A Revealing Study of Self-Impersonation in Literature,"(PDF) Religion and Culture Web Forum, April 2003.

"Thinking More Critically About Thinking too Critically: The 2008 Convocation Address" (PDF) Criterion, Winter, 2009


 Wendy Doniger is one of the current editors of the History of Religions.

Swift 207
Areas of study: 

Current and Upcoming Courses

History of Religions

33702 Ethical and Theological Issues in Hinduism
35000 Mahabharata in English Translation
36000 Second Year Sanskrit: Readings in the Mahabharata
36000 Second Year Sanskrit: Readings in the Mahabharata
42501 Many Ramayanas
44009 Religious Law, Secular Law, and Sexual Deviation in Ancient India
46410 Origin Stories: Religion and Science Narrate the World
46412 American Mythologies: Screwball Comedies
52200 Problems in the History of Religions
52200 Problems in the History of Religions