I 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.


Columbia University: Ph.d. (Religion, 2015); M.Phil. (Religion, 2008); M.A. (Religion, 2005)

Georgia State University: B.A. (Religious Studies, 2003)


“Politics and Power (A Case Study from Bengal)” in A Cultural History of Hinduism in the Age of Empires (1500-1857), edited by Valerie Stoker. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. (Forthcoming)

“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)


Raja Krishnacandra: Hindu Kingship and Myth-Making in Early Modern Bengal. (Book manuscript in progress)

“Back When We Were Brahmins: Historical and Caste Critique Among Bengali Naths” in The Power of the Nath Yogis: Yogic Charisma, Political Influence and Social Authority, edited by Daniela Bevilacqua and Eloisa Stuparich. (In progress)

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

“Crossover Appeal: Exoticism and Localization of the Goddess Tārā 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.



American Academy of Religion

American Institute of Bangladesh Studies

Association for Asian Studies

Society for Tantric Studies


Joel Bordeaux

Profile picture of Joel Bordeaux


active 4 days ago