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Kathleen Erndl

Associate Professor of Religion

Departmental Area: History and Ethnography of Religion
Research Areas: Hindu Goddesses, Women in Hinduism, Hindu-Muslim Interactions, Indian Cinema and Religion

Department of Religion
641 University Way / P.O. Box 3061520
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1520
Office: 313 Dodd Hall
Email: kerndl@fsu.edu
Office Hours: By appointment



Kathleen M. Erndl (Ph.D. '87, University of Wisconsin, South Asian Language and Literature: Religions of South Asia) teaches in the field of South Asian religions, especially Hinduism, as well as gender and religion, popular Hindi cinema, and Sanskrit. Professor Erndl's publications include Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual and Symbol (Oxford, 1993), a co-edited collection of essays entitled Is the Goddess a Feminist? The Politics of South Asian Goddesses (New York University Press and Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), and articles on Sakta traditions, spirit possession, women's religious expressions, methodology, gender issues in Hinduism, and religion in Indian Cinema. She is currently writing a book entitled The Play of the Mother: Women, Goddess Possession, and Power in Hinduism. Other research interests include interactions among Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists in India, cross-cultural appropriations of Indian goddesses in North America, Hinduism in the Caribbean, and Bollywood. Professor Erndl has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hayes, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.


Recent Publications

Erndl, Kathleen M. (2013) "Woman Becomes Goddess in Bollywood: Justice, Violence, and the Feminine in Popular Hindi Film," Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 17: Iss. 2, Article 1. Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol17/iss2/1

Erndl, Kathleen M. (forthcoming) “Religious and National Identity in My Name is Khan.” Journal of Religion and Film, Special Issue. Turkish language translation to be published by Centre for Values Education, Istanbul.

Recent Courses

Spring 2017

REL3337   Hindu Goddess, Women
This course studies female power in Hindu cosmology, mythology, and society. A study of Hindu goddesses, women, and female symbolism and the multifaceted relationship among them. Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity: Cross Cultural Studies (DIV-XCC).

REL4335 / RLG5332    Modern Hinduism
This course studies selected topics on the Hindu tradition in 19th and 20th century India. Includes modern Hindu thinkers, reform movements, popular religion, Hindu nationalism, and pluralism. Attention also to Hindu-inspired religious movements outside India. Upper-Division: Scholarship in Practice (UD-SIP) and Upper-Division Writing Competency (UD-WRIT).

RLG5915   Sanskrit Texts
This course studies readings in Sanskrit of selected religious texts.  Topics vary by semester.

RLG5937-3   Special Topics: Elementary Sanskrit

SPK4103    Elementary Sanskrit II

Fall 2016

IFS3050          India Through Bollywood Film   
How is India “imagined” through popular cinema? India is the world’s largest democracy, one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, and also has the world’s largest film industry.  In this course, we examine Indian identity, cultural, and religious values as expressed in film. The popular cinema in the Hindi language, produced in Bombay (now Mumbai), dubbed “Bollywood,” will predominate, spanning the period from Indian and Pakistani Independence (1947) to the present.  Topics for discussion include love and separation, gender roles, relationships between divine and human, sensuality and renunciation, caste and class identity, the state, diaspora, the quest for ultimate truth, and, of course, music, dance, and stardom!  No previous background is assumed.   Meets Liberal Studies E-Series/Honors E-Series (LS-E/HLS-E), LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL), and Diversity: Cross Cultural Studies (DIV-XCC).

REL4359-4 /  RLG5354-4    SP Topics Asian Rel: Pop Culture & South Asian Religions 
This course explores popular culture in religion and religion in popular culture focusing on case studies of Hinduism, Islam, and Tibetan Buddhism in exile in interaction with cultural artifacts from the visual arts, music, film, comic books, popular fiction, and the Internet.  Prerequisite for undergraduates: At least one course on religion or history of South Asia.  No prerequisite for graduate students. 

RLG5915        Sanskrit Texts 
This course studies readings in Sanskrit of selected religious texts.  Topics vary by semester.

SPK4102         Elementary Sanskrit I
Sanskrit, known as the “language of the gods", is a classical language of India and scriptural language for Hinduism and Buddhism.  As a member of the Indo-European linguistic family, it is related to Greek, Latin, and English, as well as to modern Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi, and Bengali.   Sanskrit is for those interested in the cultures and religions of South Asia, for those interested in ancient languages, and for those wanting to experience a language that is exquisitely beautiful and logical at the same time.  This is the first semester of a two-semester course, introducing Sanskrit language through the Devanāgarī script, encompassing reading, writing, grammar, and oral recitation.  No previous background is presumed.