Nick Tackes
Religion Department
Columbia University


I am an ethnographer of healing and religion in South Asia. My dissertation project is an investigation of the Gayatri Pariwar and the Brahma Kumaris, two Hindu-adjacent religious institutions that anticipate the imminent end of the world. Rather than retreat from society, however, these groups continue to engage their surrounding communities in attempts to provide innovative solutions to contemporary societal problems. My research attends to the branded goods, services, service projects, and ritual engagements that constitute their preparations for the end of this era and the golden age they believe will succeed it.


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PhD Religion Columbia University (anticipated) 2022
MPhil Religion Columbia University 2019
MA Religion Columbia University 2016
BA Religion,
Great Ideas
Carthage College 2013


2021 Center for Teaching and Learning: Foundational Track Completion Columbia University
2020 South Asia Institute: Advanced Certificate Columbia University


English Hindi

Competitive Scholarships and Honors

2021 Columbia University IRCPL Dissertation Fellowship
2018 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award: Mathura, India
AIIS Junior Research Fellowship (declined)
2017 AIIS Language Fellowship (Hindi): Jaipur, India
Summer FLAS Fellowship (Hindi): Jaipur, India
2016 Summer FLAS Fellowship (Hindi): Jaipur, India
2015 Academic Year FLAS Fellowship (Hindi)
2014 Academic Year FLAS Fellowship (Hindi)
2013 Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship (ETA): New Delhi, India

Conferences and Invited Talks

  • “Om Shanti Emojis: Three Facets of Digital Hinduism,” Anthropology of Religion Unit and Religion, Media, and Culture Unit, American Academy of Religion, Online, December 5, 2020.
  • “Energy and Vibrations: The Logic of Transformation in the Gayatri Pariwar and the Brahma Kumaris,” Public Health Workshop, Jalaharwal Nehru University, New Delhi, March 12, 2020.
  • “Zooming in on Mozoomdar: A Microhistory of Brahmo Belief,” Religion in South Asia Section, American Academy of Religion, Denver, November 18, 2018.
  • Chair/Discussant, “Yoga and Politics: South Asia and Beyond,” Madison South Asia Conference, October 12, 2018.
  • “The Creation of a Mahatma: Creative License in Ratnadeep Pictures’ Tulsidas (1954),” Madison South Asia Conference, October 23, 2015.


Professional Memberships

  • American Academy of Religion (AAR)
  • International Exchange Alumni

Teaching and Academic Service

  • Lead Teaching Fellow (Center for Teaching and Learning, Columbia University, 2020-2021)
  • Teaching Assistant (Columbia University, 2018-2020)
    • “Introduction to Judaism” (Beth Berkowitz, Religion)
    • “Millennium: Apocalypse and Utopia” (Elizabeth Castelli, Religion)
    • “East Asian Buddhism” (Michael Como, Religion)
    • “Hinduism” (Jack Hawley, Religion)
  • Research Assistant (Columbia University, 2018)
    • History of Diagnosing Cognitive Decline (Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, History)
  • Graduate Mentor (Columbia University, 2018)
    • Laidlaw Scholarship Program