Monday, March 03, 2008

Karen Villanueva, Iconic Symbolism and Cultural Appropriation: The Fish Goddess and Jesus Christ

(This was a part of CIIS Multiversity February 2008.)

This paper examines how the symbol of the fish is an example of a recurring pattern in patriarchal history: the traditions of the conquered are incorporated into the dominant culture's pantheon; the stories of the conquered are retold, reinterpreted, and written to reflect the values, beliefs, and supremacy of this dominant culture; and over time the original meaning is lost and forgotten as subsequent generations are reared in the manner of the dominant.

Karen has presented her paper at the following two conferences: the American Academy of Religion – Western Region Conference at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA in March of 2007 and the Western Association of Women Historians 38th Annual Conference at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA in May of 2006.

Karen Nelson Villanueva is a doctoral student in Women’s Spirituality awaiting advancement to candidacy for her dissertation proposal “Green Tara, the Tibetan Buddhist Goddess, and Mantra: Overcoming Fear through the Practice of Reciting Mantra, a Participatory Research Study.” The focus of her studies has been women and world religions with a particular emphasis on the dark mother and how she is found in cultures throughout the world such as the Black Madonnas of Europe and Green Tara of Tibet. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Max and regularly attends classes at the Tse Chen Ling Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies.



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