AboutI am a specialist in Bengali Shakta traditions, and particularly intrigued by how political authority, canonical works of literature, and esotericism mediate differences between or within religions. My current book project, Raja Krishnacandra: Hindu Kingship and Myth-Making in Early Modern Bengal, explores how an eighteenth century Bengali raja named Krishnacandra Ray — famed throughout the region as a patron of Sanskrit scholarship, a champion of tantric goddess worship, and the alleged architect of British colonialism in India — passed into myth, and what that process suggests about the formation of regional and sectarian identities. Other interests at the moment include sacrifice, ritual magic, literary exegesis, and Hindu-Buddhist interactions.
EducationColumbia University: Ph.d. (Religion, 2015); M.Phil. (Religion, 2008); M.A. (Religion, 2005)
Georgia State University: B.A. (Religious Studies, 2003)
“Back When We Were Brahmins: Historical and Caste Critique Among Bengali Householder Nāths” in The Power of the Nath Yogis: Yogic Charisma, Political Influence and Social Authority
, edited by Daniela Bevilacqua and Eloisa Stuparich. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. (Forthcoming)
“Kṣatriyas.” In Oxford Bibliographies Online, in Hinduism. (Forthcoming)
“রাজা কৃষ্ণচন্দ্র ও ১৮ শতকে বাঙালি বুদ্ধিজীবিদের ইতিহাস” (“Raja Krishnacandra and the History of Bengali Intellectuals in the Eighteenth Century”). Aksharekha
“Politics and Power” in A Cultural History of Hinduism in the Age of Empires (1500-1857)
, edited by Valerie Stoker. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. (Forthcoming)
“West Bengal, India.” Database of Religious History. Vancouver: University of British Columbia. (2020). https://religiondatabase.org/browse/818/
“Blood in the Mainstream: Kālī Pūjā and Tantric Orthodoxy in Early Modern Bengal.” International Journal of Hindu Studies vol. 23, #2
(August 2019). https://rdcu.be/bHrDI
“The Dark Knight of the Soul: Death as Initiatory Ordeal in Grant Morrison’s Batman R.I.P.” in The Assimilation of Yogic Religions Through Pop Culture
, edited by Paul Hackett. Lanham: Lexington Books. (2017)
ProjectsRaja Krishnacandra: Hindu Kingship and Myth-Making in Early Modern Bengal
. (Book manuscript in progress)
“Buddhist China in the Indian Imagination: Locating the Goddess Tara in Hindu Tantras.” https://www.iias.asia/profile/joel-bordeaux
Upcoming Talks and Conferences
“This Charming Mantra: Language Choice and Style in Bengali Tantric Chapbooks.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting
. San Antonio, November 2021.
“The Goddess Tara, Buddhism, and ‘Chinese’ Ritual in Hindu Tantra.” Leiden University, February 2021. https://youtu.be/77oz4tb8r0Y
“Distinctive Features of Buddhist Tantra.” Union Theological Seminary. New York, March 2020.
“The Song Remains the Same? 2000+ Years of Interpreting the Bhagavad Gita.” Hunter College. New York, February 2020.
“Some Strategies for Translating Bengali Onomatopoeia.” Translation Across Time and Space
. Indiana University India Office Gateway. New Delhi, January 2020.
“Crossover Appeal: Exoticism and Localization of the Goddess Tara in Hindu Sources.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting
. San Diego, November 2019.
“The Continuing Story of Buddha and The Beast: Vajrayana and Comparative Religion in Contemporary Thelema.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting
. San Diego, November 2019.
“পশ্চিমদেশীয় পেগানিস্ম আর ভারতের ধর্মীয় ঐতিহ্যদের কত মিল?” (“How Similar Are Indian Religious Traditions and Western Paganism?”). Public talk sponsored by Mudra Prakasana
. Krishnanagar, October 2019.
“Gopal Holeo Shotti: Historical Reflections Through the Lens of Gopal Bhar.” Presidency College. Kolkata, October 2019.
MembershipsAmerican Academy of Religion
American Institute of Bangladesh Studies
Association for Asian Studies
Society for Tantric Studies