Gardens of Oppression: In Search of Her Delight

Department or Program

Religious Studies


Eroticism has no place in religion. Or so I’ve heard. Yet, the Song of Songs and The Gita Govinda, among other texts, complicate the separation of eros/kama and God, and invite speculation about the place of desire and passion in human-divine relationships. These texts have lured me on with scandalous glimpses of mutuality, equality, even sexuality as defining elements of sacred eros. More than that, each features an unapologetically assertive female protagonist in active pursuit of the divine object of her desire. Can God really be sought and enjoyed by women like me? Not without some challenges. The larger patriarchal structures of Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism tend to corrupt the erotic impulse. But where culture dooms, let counterculture bloom! In this experimental, autoethnographic thesis, I bring my native Hinduism and my newfound dalliance with Judaism into deep conversation through critical-constructive feminist engagement with the Gita Govinda and the Song of Songs. I do so in order to ask: can a theology of eros/kama seduce a woman like me into creating and sustaining a relationship with the divine?

Level of Access

Restricted: Archival Copy [No Access]

First Advisor

Baker, Cynthia

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

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