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I'm an online instructor at the University of Oklahoma, happily teaching courses in Mythology & Folklore (#OU3043) and Indian Epics (#OU4993).

Laura Gibbs

Week 14 Indian Epics Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Indian Epics

It's not quite the end of the semester yet, but I decided to give myself the special treat of starting a new audiobook and I was thrilled to find a book by Amish Tripathi at! It's Oath of the Vayuputras:


I'm working on a new "Elephant" unit for the Myth-Folklore class but of course many of the stories for that unit are from India. I love chain tales, so of course I was delighted to find this chain tale: The Little Blackbird from E.M. Gordon's Indian Folk Tales: Being Side-lights on Village Life in Bilaspore, Central Provinces (1908). This is an Indian blackbird:


I was also delighted to find this blog post (thanks to my friend Vanessa at Google+): In Search of Indian Comics (Part One): Folk Roots and Traditions by Henry Jenkins - see the blog post for lots of great illustrations like this one from the contemporary graphic novel, Bhimayana: Incidents in the Life of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar:

Laura Gibbs

Week 13 Indian Epics Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Indian Epics

GAJENDRA. I worked on the legend of the Gajendra Moksha for the Elephant Unit in Myth-Folklore class, and I was really happy with how that turned out; I even edited the Wikipedia article about Gajendra, and then I found a wonderful YouTube video with the Gajendra Mantra, with the Sanskrit words transliterated and translated here.

PATTANAIK - SITA. This is physical curation rather than digital... but I finally got my copy of Pattanaik's Sita book, and I am really excited about reading this over the break. I wish it were available as an ebook!

VEDABASE: BHAGAVATA PURANA. I continue to be amazed at the resources available at the VedaBase website, especially its edition of the Bhagavata Purana. If the whole thing were printed out it would take many volumes, as you can see from the picture here. What's really cool is the way it is presented: you can just read the summary chapter by chapter, along with the verses in English, or you can click on each individual verse and see the Sanskrit, a transliteration, a glossary, plus the commentary. Amazing!


Laura Gibbs

Week 12 Indian Epics Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Indian Epics

I found a very handy book at Amazon, just $3 for the KindleThe Complete Mahabharata in a Nutshell by V. K. Balakrishnan. What a useful book! I wrote out all the book subheadings to make it easier to search.


DHANTERAS. One of the holidays associated with Diwali is Dhanteras, a holiday associated with wealth, prosperity, and the goddess Lakshmi. I really enjoyed all the Dhanteras greetings at Twitter, many of which featured the feet of the goddess Lakshmi along with su-astikas (swastikas) as you can see here, and you can learn more about Dhanteras at Wikipedia:


I really enjoyed this National Geographic Traveler: India article about dance traditions with masks: Seven Masked Dances You Can Watch In India by Rumela Basu.


Laura Gibbs

Week 11 Indian Epics Curation

2 min read

Here is my new post for Indian Epics

GRAPHIC NOVELS AT SCRIBD. Thanks to Josh in class, I learned that Scribd has some of the Campfire (India) graphic novels available: so, you are just $1 away from owning your own digital copy of Ekalavya or Sundarkaand (Hanuman), and $3 away from owning your own digital copy of Krishna: Defender of Dharma. I've added links to the Scribd record for each graphic novel. Maybe that will lead to some more people reading these great graphic novels for class. I wish they had all the Campfire graphic novels, but I could only find these three:


MORE GODS AND GODDESSES. I've been working on writing up notes to Devdutt Pattanaik's Calendar Art videos, and as a result I've come across all kinds of wonderful images at Wikipedia. For reasons he explains in the author's note, Pattanaik uses black-and-white images in the book, but Wikipedia has many gorgeous color images for those of us who miss all the lovely colors!

For example, here is an image of Balaji (Vishnu) in a temple in Pontiac, Michigan of all places! You can read about Balaji and his debt to Kubera at Wikipedia:


BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: GAYATRI. I'm a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica, and so of course I was excited to make up this page with a traditional Gayatri performance (from Ravi Shankar's Chants of India), along with a couple of Battlestar Galactica videos. You can see/hear all those videos here; below is the theme music from the Battlestar Galactica movie, The Plan, where you can hear the mantra most clearly:


Laura Gibbs

Week 10 Indian Epics Curation

2 min read

Here is my new post for Indian Epics

WELLCOME LIBRARY. My favorite discovery was the amazing collection of images at the Wellcome Library Images. I didn't expect that they would have so many images from India, but they do! Just as one example, here is a lovely Shiva with a baby Ganesha:

L0022496 Credit: Wellcome Library, London Shiva and baby Ganesha Watercolour Collection: Iconographic Collections Library reference no.: Iconographic Collection KALIGHAT NO. 22



BEL TREE. There was a reference to the sacred Bel tree in Divakaruni's Palace of Illusions, and there is a wonderful Wikipedia article that explains about the tree and also about its religious symbolism in the Hindu tradition, especially in connection with Shiva worship. This image shows a Shiva linga decorated with Bel leaves:


FENRIS'S SACRED STORIES. I read and really enjoyed Morris Fenris's collection of Indian stories. Each story is very short, and the stories are drawn from many different sources. I will definitely write up a detailed Reading Guide for this book so that I can include links to help people learn more about the especially famous stories contained in the collection. You can see a list of the stories here; the book itself does not contain illustrations, so I would like to find good illustrations to use. One story is about Rama and how the Indian palm squirrel got its stripes! 


Laura Gibbs

Week 9 Indian Epics Curation

2 min read

Last week, I did a special OU Twitter curation post (WLT, FJJMA, Writing Center), but this week I am back with favorite items from  Indian Epics

FREE BOOK: India: Art and Culture, 1300–1900 by Stuart Cary Welch (1985). The Metropolitan Museum of Art has put this beautiful book online for free. Here is the summary of the book at their website: This volume, which is divided into five sections, opens with the bronze sculptures, ritual objects, and temple hangings of the classical Hindu tradition of the south. The vivid and lively art of rural India, which provides an aesthetic continuum that extends throughout these six centuries, is presented in the second section, Tribe and Village. This is followed by the highly refined and sophisticated art of the Muslim courts, which reached its greatest flowering in the exquisite illustrated manuscripts executed under the patronage of the Mughal emperors. In addition, the imperial ateliers of the Mughals produced works of technical brilliance in a wide array of decorative arts. Political alliances between the Mughals and the Hindu nobility in the north led to a fusion of Islamic and Hindu traditions that is explored in the bold, vigorous miniatures and dazzling weaponry of the Rajput world. And the art of the nineteenth century, produced under the Raj as Indian artists began to assimilate Western perspectives, is documented in the last section, the British Period.

Here is a beautiful Rasamandala, Krishna's Cosmic Dance (late 18th century, Jaipur: item 261):


WALTERS ART MUSEUM. I was amazed by the beautiful presentation of images at the Walters Art Museum, and the notes provided for the images are excellent. Here, for example, is an early 19th-century painting showing episodes from the Krishna legends; the detail shows the horse-demon Keshi (read that story at Wikipedia):


WILLIAM DALRYMPLEAll Indian life is here by William Dalrymple (The Guardian). I am sure people in this class would enjoy this essay by the wonderful writer William Dalrymple, one of the best writers on India today: The British Library's Ramayana miniatures - masterpieces of Hindu art, many painted by Muslims - are testimony to a time when religious relations on the subcontinent were less fraught, writes William Dalrymple.

You may already be familiar with the illustration that accompanies the article: Awakening Kumbhakarna.

Laura Gibbs

Week 8: OU Twitter —WLT, FJJMA, Writing Center

1 min read

For the curation this week, I wanted to select three of my favorite OU Twitter streams to follow. I follow lots of OU programs and OU people, and I find so many good things every day that way. 

I've used Storify to give a sample of three of my favorites: the World Literature Today and Neustadt Prize streams (Neustadt is part of WLT), the Fred Jones Museum Art Museum stream, and the Writing Center.

Using the Storify embed below, you can get a sense of the kinds of items you will find in these different Twitter streams.



Laura Gibbs

Week 7 Indian Epics Curation: Three New Books

2 min read

For my curation post this week I wanted to write about three books I am really excited to be adding to the reading options for Indian Epics, especially because all three of these authors are also active at Twitter. So, here are the three new books I added this weekend:

Indian Epics

Samhita Arni's Missing Queen

I already had Samhita Arni's two other books (Ramayana and Mahabharata) on the list of options, and I was thrilled when I finally had time to read The Missing Queen this weekend. What a fabulous book! I think this is one that people in class will really enjoy, especially people interested in modernization as a style and also those who want to think deeply about the women of the epics and what those women might mean to us today. Here's the Overview for class, and you can find Samhita at Twitter here: @SamArni


Usha Narayanan's Pradyumna: Son of Krishna

This is a book that just came out this summer, and I started reading it as soon as I got it. What an exciting book! I'm hoping some students will want to read this book so that I can finish it by reading it together with them. Here's the Overview for class, and you can find Usha at Twitter here: @WriterUsha 


Devdutt Pattanaik's Business Sutra

I've been meaning to read this book for ages since I am a huge fan of Devdutt Pattanaik's other books, and when Josh chose the "entrepreneur" topic for his Storybook, I knew the time had come to read this book. I'm especially looking forward to the sutras on growth and learning in the later part of the book. Here's the Overview for class, and you can find Devdutt at Twitter here: @DevduttMyth

Christian Allen

I am really interested in checking out this site because I think it is important to have "visibility" on the web!

Laura Gibbs

Week 6 Curation: Reading, Writing, and Language

1 min read

In the previous weeks, I did curation that was related to the content of my courses and ... but this week I thought I would grab three of the reading, writing, and language items that I've come across in the past few weeks. Those are important for my classes too!

I absolutely LOVE this video about books and libraries which someone shared at Google+ just last week. You can read the lyrics at this blog post:


For National Punctuation Day on September 24, there were all kinds of fun shares at Twitter, like this great chart by Adrienne Crezo and Mike Rogalski from Mental Floss:


And from this collection of fantastic posters — Awe-inspiring book charts you’ll want to hang on the wall — I really liked Parts of Speech explained through books, movies, and music.

Here is the nouns section:

And here is the whole poster: