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.



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.

Published “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.

Received the 2021 Columbia University IRCPL Dissertation Fellowship.


During the spring 2022 semester, I will teach “Religions of India” in New York University’s Religion Department. Check out my course here.


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


(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

Competitive Scholarships and Honors

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


Conferences and Invited Talks

Professional Memberships



Instructor of Record

2022 Spring Religions of India New York University

Teaching Assistant

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

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