about

I am an ethnographer of religion in South Asia, with a focus on the intersection of Hinduism, health, media, and the environment.

My research explores how large-scale religious institutions intervene in consumer culture in order to provide solutions to modern societal problems.

research

news

Published “‘Sankalp se Siddhi’: The Brahma Kumaris and Pandemic Positivity.” CoronAsur: Religion & COVID-19 (blog). April 5, 2022.

Received the 2022 Hindu Temple of Antelope Valley Jagadish Fellowship.

Presented “COVID-19 First Responders: The Gayatri Pariwar and the Immune Ritual Body” at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting on November 20, 2021.

    projects

teaching

I currently teach in the Department of Asian Studies at Hamilton College.

Current Courses:

Indian Buddhism

This course is an introduction to the origins, essential beliefs, popular practices, and institutions of Buddhism. Students examine the life of Buddha, his teachings (Dharma) and Buddhist communities through a range of Buddhist texts, art, and archaeological sources.

Sacred Space in South Asia

Students in this course examine the complex relationship between space, society, and religious identity in South Asia, past and present. The course will draw upon Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic materials to analyze the ways in which the idea of ‘sacred space’ has been used in political, social, and legal contexts for decidedly secular objectives.

Past Courses / Courses Taught Elsewhere:

Religions of India

Religions of India (NYU)

This course is an investigation of religious developments in India within a historical context. Students will familiarize themselves with the religions of the subcontinent—including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, and Judaism—through secondary source readings and English translations of primary source materials. Rather than survey religious traditions as closed systems divorced from time or place, students will grapple with the central theories and historiographical challenges pertaining to religion in India, especially those that impact our ability to understand everyday religious experience, past and present.

c.v.

Religion Department Columbia University 80 Claremont Ave. New York, NY 10027
124 N 3rd St., Fl 3 Philadelphia, PA 19106 +1 (815) 298 4294 jtackesiii@gmail.com

Employment

2022—
Visiting Assistant Professor
Asian Studies
Hamilton College
2022
Adjunct Professor
Religious Studies
New York University

Education

2022
PhD
Religion
Columbia University
Dissertation:
“Everyday Eschatology: Centering and Healing in Two Hindu Sects”
2016
MA
Religion
Columbia University
2013
BA
Religion, Great Ideas
Carthage College

Certificates

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

Languages

English (native)
Hindi (fluent)

Competitive Scholarships and Honors

2022
Hindu Temple of Antelope Valley Jagadish Fellowship
2021
Columbia University IRCPL Dissertation Fellowship
2018
AIIS Junior Research Fellowship (declined)
2018
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award
2017
Summer FLAS Fellowship (Hindi)
2017
AIIS Language Fellowship (Hindi)
2016
Summer FLAS Fellowship (Hindi)
2015
Academic Year FLAS Fellowship (Hindi)
2014
Academic Year FLAS Fellowship (Hindi)
2013
Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship (Teaching)
2011
ASIANetwork Freeman Fellowship

Publications

  • “The View from Mathura: New Threats to a Not-so-old Temple Economy,” in “Jurisprudence and Geography of Hindu Majoritarianism in the Post-2019 Ayodhya Verdict,” ed. Knut A. Jacobsen and Vera Lazzaretti, special issue, Contemporary South Asia (in preparation).
  • “‘Sankalp se Siddhi’: The Brahma Kumaris and Pandemic Positivity.” CoronAsur: Religion & COVID-19 (blog). April 5, 2022. https://ari.nus.edu.sg/20331-107/
  • “COVID-19 First Responders: The Gayatri Pariwar and the Immune Ritual Body.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 89, no.3 (Sept. 2021): 1006-1038. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfab057
  • “Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India by Harris Solomon (Review).” Global Public Health 11, no.2 (2018): 318-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2018.1511742

Conferences and Invited Talks

  • “COVID-19 First Responders: The Gayatri Pariwar and the Immune Ritual Body,” Hinduism Unit and Religion in South Asia Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 20, 2021 (online).
  • “Om Shanti Emojis: Three Facets of Digital Hinduism,” Anthropology of Religion Unit and Religion, Media, and Culture Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, December 5, 2020 (online).
  • Invited Speaker, “Energy and Vibrations: The Logic of Transformation in the Gayatri Pariwar and the Brahma Kumaris,” Public Health Workshop, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, March 12, 2020.
  • “Marketing Religion: From Mathura to Madhuvan,” South and Central Asia Fulbright Conference, Kochi, India, February 24, 2020.
  • “Zooming in on Mozoomdar: A Microhistory of Brahmo Belief,” Religion in South Asia Section, American Academy of Religion, Denver, November 18, 2018.
  • Discussant, “Yoga and Politics: South Asia and Beyond,” Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, October 12, 2018.
  • “The Creation of a Mahatma: Creative License in Ratnadeep Pictures’ Tulsidas (1954),” Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, October 23, 2015.

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Religion
International Exchange Alumni

Teaching

At Hamilton College

Indian Buddhism
Sacred Space in South Asia

At New York University

Religions of India

Academic Service

2020
Lead Teaching Fellow
Center for Teaching and Learning
Columbia University
2018
Research Assistant
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan
Columbia University
2018
Graduate Mentor
Laidlaw Scholarship Program
Columbia University