Karen Pechilis

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Karen Pechilis is NEH Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Comparative Religion Department at Drew University. She teaches undergraduate classes in Asian and Comparative religions in the College as well as in the Global Studies concentration in the graduate Arts and Letters Program. For four years she was Director of the interdisciplinary Humanities Program, teaching both western and world humanities courses. She brings the history of religions methodology to her research specializations of devotional Hinduism and women in religion, and has made innovative theoretical contributions to the study of bhakti (as a path of devotional participation); comparative analysis of female gurus; translation and critical discussion of Tamil devotional literature; reclaiming and restoring female voices from Indian tradition through gender and feminist analysis; and interpreting the historical development of the now global Naṭarāja image of Śiva. She is the author of Interpreting Devotion: The Poetry and Legacy of a Female Bhakti Saint of India (2012) and The Embodiment of Bhakti (1999). She is the editor of The Graceful Guru: Hindu Female Gurus in India and the United States (2004), and the co-editor with Selva J. Raj of South Asian Religions: Tradition and Today (2013) and with Barbara A. Holdrege of Re-Figuring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions (2016).

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