Wendy Doniger

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


Wendy Doniger and Friends at Revels

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: Folklore, 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; On Hinduism; Redeeming the Kamasutra; The Ring of Truth, and Other Myths of Sex and Jewelry; and Against Dharma:  Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics (the 2014 Terry Lectures at Yale).

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 is The Mythology of Horses in India; and a novel, Horses for Lovers, Dogs for Husbands; in press is The Donigers of Great Neck: A Mythologized Memoir (the 2015 Mandel Lectures at Brandeis).

top photo (Kim with blue tennis ball): Janet Gyatso

photo: Carolyn Currie, 'Wendy Doniger with Friends in the 2017 Revels'


Select work: 

Wendy Doniger on "To The Best of our Knowledge," a nationally syndicated radio show that cracks open the world and the ideas that fuel its engine. 


Wendy Doniger on the University of Chicago’s Architectural “Neighborhoods”

How different architectural styles coexist and complement one another on campus. 


 "A Life of Learning" : the 2015 Charles Homer Haskins Prize Lecture 







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




StoriesinMotion.PNG"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

"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.