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 whose members 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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Religion Department                                                  124 N 3rd St., Floor 3
Columbia University Philadelphia, PA 19106
80 Claremont Ave. +1 (815) 298-4294
New York, NY 10027


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


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


English (native)

Hindi (fluent)

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


“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.

“Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India by Harris Solomon (Review).” Global Public Health 11, no.2 (2018): 318-19.

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, Online, November 20, 2021.

“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.

Invited Talk, “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.

Chair/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 (AAR)

International Exchange Alumni

Teaching and Academic Service

Instructor of Record

Spring 2022 “Religions of India” New York University

Lead Teaching Fellow

2020-2021 Center for Teaching and Learning Columbia University

Teaching Assistant

Fall 2020 “Introduction to Judaism” Barnard College
Spring 2019 “Millennium: Apocalypse and Utopia” Barnard College
Fall 2018 “East Asian Buddhism” Columbia University
Spring 2018 “Hinduism” Barnard College

Research Assistant

2018 History of Diagnosing Cognitive Decline Columbia University
Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, History

Graduate Mentor

2018 Laidlaw Scholarship Program Columbia University