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Miriam Robbins Dexter

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Miriam Robbins Dexter

Research Scholar since 1998

As always, my goal for my work is a feminist one: in all of my work I discuss and honor the feminine divine (rather than a singular male divinity). This allows women to identify with the divine, just as men are able to identify with an anthropomorphic male divinity. I believe that this is an important part of radical feminism. 

Robbins Dexter received her Ph.D. in Indo-European Studies from UCLA in 1978. She has been a lecturer at UCLA, the Union Institute, Occidental College, University of Southern California, California State University, Northridge, California State University, Los Angeles, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Iasi (Moldavia, Romania) and New Bulgarian University (Sofia, Bulgaria), among others. She taught a UCLA Honors Collegium called “Acting Myth” and a UCLA Women's Studies Program and Honors Program class called “The Roots of Patriarchy: Ancient Goddesses and Heroines” from 1997/2000 through 2010. Her published books include Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book (1990) and Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia (2010). She has also edited Prehistoric Roots of Romanian and Southeast European Traditions (with Adrian Poruciuc and Joan Marler) (2010), Signs of Civilization: Neolithic Symbol Systems of Southeast Europe (with Joan Marler) (2004/2009), as well as many volumes of conference proceedings. She is the author of over 30 scholarly journal articles and 9 encyclopedia articles.

In September, 2014, Miriam gave an invited paper at a conference, “From Symbols to Signs,” in Suceava, Romania:  “Felines, Apotropaia, and the Sacred V: Evolution of Symbols Associated with Divine and Magical Female Figures.”  These will be published in the conference proceedings. 

Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia won the Sarasvati award for the best nonfiction book (1 award given every other year) from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. (Awarded May, 2012) 

She is particularly interested in the honoring of all possible facets of the female character—the erotic, the ferocious, the monstrous —although it is frequently a particular patriarchal culture which assigns monstrosity to a female figure such as the Greco-Roman Medusa, the Germanic Ran, and other frightening female figures. In patriarchal cultures, this monstrous aspect of the female divine is something which must be murdered, usually by a patriarchal “hero” such as Perseus. Her work stresses the importance of seeing all facets of what male-centered cultures have labeled a “feminine monster” and to look at the female figures through a non-biased rather than a male-centered lens.


“Sacred Display: New Findings.”  Miriam Robbins Dexter and Victor H. Mair.  Sino-Platonic Papers.  (Online Journal, University of Pennsylvania)    (September, 2013) 

“Sheela-na-gig: Sexualität und die Göttin im AltenIrland.”  In Kelten Kulte Göttinnen: Spuren einer verborgenen Kultur, edited by Kurt Derungs, Ph.D.  Verlag edition amalia, Akademie der Landschaft.  German translation of “The Sheela na gigs,  Sexuality, and the Goddess in Ancient Ireland.” Miriam Robbins Dexter and Starr Goode, 243-271. 2013.

LA TERRIBILE, EROTI CA E “BELLA” MEDUSA E IL SERPENTE E L’UCCELLO NEOLITICI.  Italian translation of my article, “THE FEROCIOUS AND THE EROTIC: ‘Beautiful” Medusa and the Neolithic Bird and Snake.’” Translated by Mariagrazia Pelaia.  Prometeo: Rivista trimestrale di scienze e storia. Anno 31 Numero 122.  June, 2013, 20-29

“The Monstrous Goddess: The Degeneration of Ancient Bird and Snake Goddesses into Historic Age Witches and Monsters.” Izkustvo & Ideologiya: Ivan Marazov Decet Godini Po-K’sno (Art and Ideology: Festschrift for Ivan Marazov).  The anthology is in Bulgarian and English. (Chapter in Anthology) Sophia: Universitetsko Izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Ochridski,” 2013, 390-403.

“Further Thoughts on the V and the M in theDanube Script: The Danube Script and the Old European Goddess.” Fifty years of Tartaria Excavations. Festschrift in honor of Gheorghe Lazarovici on the occasion of his 73rd birthday.  Ed. Joan Marler.  (Sponsored by “Eftimie Murgu” University, Resita and the Institute of Archaeomythology, Sebastopol.) Sebastopol: Institute of Archaeomythology; Reºiþa: Universitatea “Eftimie Murgu,” 139-161. 2014.

Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia. Miriam Robbins Dexter and Victor H. Mair.  Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2010.

Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book. Pergamon Press, Athene Series, 1990. Reprinted by Teachers College Press, Columbia University, Athene Series, 1992.

Varia on the Indo-European Past: Papers in Memory of Marija Gimbutas (1997).

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