White, David Gordon 1953-

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WHITE, David Gordon 1953-

PERSONAL: Born September 3, 1953, in Pittsfield, MA; son of Gordon Robens (a schoolteacher) and Wini (an artist and librarian; maiden name, Wildman) White; married Catherine Weinberger-Thomas; children: Caroline Meyer. Ethnicity: "Europoid." Education: University of Wisconsin—Madison, B.A. (with honors), 1975; University of Chicago, M.A., 1981, Ph.D. (with honors), 1988. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, cooking, jazz, individual sports.

ADDRESSES: Home—2877 Exeter Pl., Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Offıce—Department of Religious Studies, University of California—Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3130; fax: 805-893-2059. E-mail— [email protected].

CAREER: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, began as lecturer, became assistant professor of religious studies, 1986-96; University of California—Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, associate professor, 1996-2000, professor of religious studies, 2000—. Centre d'Études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud, Paris, France, research associate.

MEMBER: Societé Asiatique.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright fellow in South Asia, 1984-85, 1992-93, 1998-99.


Myths of the Dog-Man, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1996.

(Editor) Tantra in Practice, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2000.

Kiss of the Yogini: "Tantric Sex" in Its South Asian Contexts, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.

Contributor to books, including Indian Religion in Practice, edited by Don Lopez, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1995. Contributor to encyclopedias. Contributor to periodicals, including Numen, History of Religions, and International Journal of Hindu Studies.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Worship without Devotion: A Revisionist History of South Asian Polytheism, for University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), completion expected in 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: David Gordon White once told CA: "Somewhere, Sartre said that by writing down one's day-to-day experiences, one transforms one's mundane life into an adventure. I first read those lines while living in Paris in the late 1970s and took them to heart, keeping a journal of my experiences and my reflections on the new world in which I had immersed myself. Journal-keeping gradually shaded into fiction writing, first a series of abortive attempts at short fiction, and then an intoxicating year, during which the ideas for a novel took root, germinated, and blossomed into Cosmo's Dream: A Schatological Eschatology. While that novel, which I still dust off from time to time, remains unpublished, I have no doubts whatsoever that it made me the writer I am today. For nine months, not a day went by that did not begin with three to four hours of writing, of wrestling with ideas and transforming those ideas into words, and decanting those words into sentences that flowed into one another until 'the end,' which was reached in the spring of 1979.

"Since then, the demands of an academic career have occulted my fiction writing; however, the challenge of putting ideas onto the page is one I have welcomed ever since, because of the lessons I learned from writing that novel. Writing now comes easily to me, because I am not afraid to set my shoulder to the yoke of writing, and because the practice of writing has made me a better writer.

"Scholarship is the art of making connections. Each article or book that I write extends the connections made in prior efforts, broadening the field of my interests and competencies. Many of the connections I have made may be summarized in three words beginning with the letter 'B.' I write about babes, bow-wows, and Bhairava, the last being the name of a tantric god who rides a dog and who is surrounded by hordes of nymphen goddesses."

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