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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 17, 2006

Hindu 'Monkey God' Topic Of Oct. 23 International Mondays Lecture

"Monkey in the Middle: Hanuman in Popular Hinduism" will be the topic of the next International Mondays lecture from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A.

The lecture will be given by Philip Lutgendorf, a professor of Hindi and modern Indian studies and chair of the University of Iowa Department of Asian Languages and Literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The lecture is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

The Hindu god Hanuman is the simian helper of the epic hero-god Rama and his wife Sita. He has long been one of the most popular deities in the Hindu pantheon, according to Lutgendorf. This talk explores the nature and extent of his popularity and some of the messages he embodies and transmits for his devotees.

Lutgendorf has taught at the University of Iowa since 1985. He regularly offers Hindi language classes as well as courses on written and oral narrative traditions of South Asia, including Indian film. His book on the performance of the epic "Ramayana," "The Life of a Text" (1991), won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002-03 for his book project on the popular "monkey-god" Hanuman, which is titled "Hanuman's Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey" (Oxford University Press). His research interests include folklore and popular culture, epic performance traditions and mass media. He also maintains a website devoted to Indian popular cinema,

UI International Programs, the Stanley-UI Support Foundation and the Iowa City Public Library are sponsoring this International Mondays lecture.

For more information on this lecture, the International Mondays lecture series or special accommodations to attend this lecture, contact Buffy Quintero, International Programs outreach coordinator, at 319-335-0345 or

International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Buffy Quintero, 319-335-0345,; Writer: Erin Vaughn.