Nick Tackes
Religion Department, Columbia University


I am an ethnographer of healing and religion in South Asia. My dissertation project is an investigation of care products, a term I use to describe a subset of goods, services, and service projects offered by two Hindu institutions in Mathura, India. My research will determine for which reasons, by which means, and in which ways Indians incorporate these care products into their lives. To this end, I work between Religion and Medical Anthropology.


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  • Columbia University, Department of Religion
    • PhD, 2023 (anticipated)
    • MPhil, 2019
    • MA, 2016
  • Carthage College
    • BA, 2013, Religion and Great Ideas
  • Other
    • Fall 2017 – American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS): Advanced Hindi – Jaipur, India
    • Summer 2017 – AIIS: Advanced Hindi – Jaipur, India
    • Summer 2016 – AIIS: Advanced Hindi – Jaipur, India
    • Summer 2015 – South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI): Intermediate Sanskrit – Madison, WI
    • Fall 2013 – Zabaan Language Institute: Intermediate Hindi – New Delhi, India


  • Native fluency: English
  • High Proficiency: Hindi
  • Reading: Sanskrit, French

Competitive Scholarships and Honors

  • 2020
    • Certificate of the Southern Asian Institute (Columbia University)
  • 2018
    • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award
    • AIIS Junior Research Fellowship (declined)
  • 2017
    • AIIS Language Fellowship: Hindi
    • Summer FLAS Fellowship: Hindi
  • 2016
    • Summer FLAS Fellowship: Hindi
  • 2015
    • Academic Year FLAS Fellowship: Hindi
  • 2014
    • Academic Year FLAS Fellowship: Hindi
  • 2013
    • Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship – English Teaching Assistantship – New Delhi, India

Conferences and Invited Talks

  • “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, 2018-2019)
    • “Millenium: 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
  • Primary School Teacher
    • Creative Writing (Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity, Buffalo Grove, IL, 2014)
    • English (Fulbright-Nehru Scholar, BVMB-ASMA, New Delhi, 2013)
  • CRLA-certified Writing Tutor (Carthage College, 2011-2013)


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