Thursday January 17th 2013, 2:00-3:30pm in JHB318

Speaker: Florence Pasche Guignard (Postdoctoral fellow funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation)

Title: An exercise in differential comparison as a doctorate thesis in the study of religions? A critical assessment of an uncommon research design.

Abstract: In my Ph.D. dissertation, I explored representations of female figures in relationship to male gods in two distinct corpus of literary sources, using differential comparison as an explicit research design. The critical evaluation of this research design is as important as the results of the thematically related exploration. In this research talk at the Department for the Study of Religion, I will present the general outline of my study and its specific comparative research process. I will explain how and why I chose to work both on devotional poetic songs of early modern India (composed in Brajbhasha and attributed to the 16th century poetess Mirabai), and on a wide range of Greek literary sources that present mythological and historical female figures in their various transactions with gods such as Dionysus, Apollo and Hades. Tragedy of fifth century Athens was at the core of the “Greek” corpus, and my selection also included several philosophical treaties by the first century philosopher Plutarch and other works from late Antiquity.