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)

Other Publications

“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. (Forthcoming)

“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)

“From Bauddha Deśa to Śākta Pīṭha: “Re/Locating the Hindu Goddess Tārā.” Journal of Hindu Studies. (Forthcoming)

“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. (2022)

“Ritual Theory at the Margins of a Minority Tradition.” The Religious Studies Project. (2021). https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/response/ritual-theory-at-the-margins-of-a-minority-tradition/

“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)

Blog Posts


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


    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    “Yoga Mom: Queen Maynamati’s Advice to Prince Gopichand.” Paper presented at 2023 Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions: Religions and Technologies. Vilnius, Lithuania, September 2023.

    “The Witch-Cult in Southern Asia: A Study in Backcrossed Hybridization.” Paper presented at India in the Making of the Global Esoteric, 1200-2000. Kasteel Oud Poelgeest, Amsterdam, June 2023.

    “Sukur Mohammad’s Gopīcandrer Sannyāsa and Bhavānīdās’ Gopīcandrer Pāṃcālī.” Paper presented at Body and Embodiment in the Middle Bengali Imaginary. Jagiellonian University Kraków, January 2023.


    European Association for the Study of Religions

    Vereninging Vrienden van Het Instituut Kern

    Association for Asian Studies

    Society for Tantric Studies


    Joel Bordeaux

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