Skip to main content
Joanne Punzo Waghorne

Joanne Punzo Waghorne


Professor
Religion

jpwaghor@syr.edu

521 Hall of Languages
315.443.5715


Research and Teaching Interests

Joanne Punzo Waghorne works in contemporary theoretical directions in the study of religion, new religious movements, globalization, and transnational migration. Spatial theory, visual studies, and urban studies inform her interdisciplinary approach which she works to integrate with her roots in History of Religions and phenomenology. Her concerns include re-visioning World Religions/Comparative Religion in a post-colonial/post-modern era. Her publications contextualize these issues in contemporary urban India, Singapore, and in the Hindu diaspora. Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, and the American Institute of Indian Studies have supported her fieldwork in India. During academic 2007-2008, she was a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellow and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Asian Research Institute (Globalization and Religion cluster), National University of Singapore, researching gurus, devotees, and their international organizations in Singapore. She travels frequently to Singapore to continue research.

Click here to download a high resolution faculty photo.

Courses

REL 101

Religions of the World

REL 102

Religion Today in a Globalizing World

REL 227 Gods: A Cross-Cultural Gallery
REL 327 Yoga: From Ancient Religion to Modern Practice
REL 487/687  Global Hinduism
REL 621 Teaching World Religions in Theory and Practice

Recent Gradaute Seminars

  • REL 600. Spirituality, Community, and Cosmopolitanism

    • This seminar is an experiment in placing two conversations in dialogue: the debate and long discussion of communitarian and cosmopolitan in political philosophy, political theory, and cultural studies circles with the ongoing discussion of the rise of spirituality (often in contrast to "religion") in the contemporary world.

  • REL 600. Making Space for Religion

    • Do religious spaces require special consideration? In the context of newer spatial theory, what if anything, sets apart religious places? Are there some modalities that distinguish religious senses of space from others?  Are these questions relevant, or do we have to reframe the way we look at space in the context of religiosity? The seminar can accommodate those working in ancient, medieval, modern or contemporary materials.

  • REL 600. Cities: Sacred-Secular-Cyber
    • With the emergence of a new phase of urbanism—beyond the modern and modernization—that theorists struggle to name, many eyes are on the cities where majority of the world’s population will soon live. Urban life not the rural is the future of the world. Finding and understanding the religious or the sacred in this new landscape has the potential to change the way we view religion apart from the long-held connections between the natural world and the divine.

Education

  • M.A./Ph.D., History of Religions, University of Chicago (1976)
  • A.B., Biblical Studies/Asian Studies, Wilson College (1967)

Career

  • Professor, Syracuse University, 2002-present.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993-2002.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1987-1993.
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Bowdoin College 1983-85.
  • Assistant Professor, Study of Religion Program, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 1975-1983.

Books

Place/No-Place in Urban Asian Religiosity edited by Joanne Punzo Waghorne (ed). Place/No-Place in Urban Asian Religiosity. ARI-Springer Asian Series. Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New York: Springer, 2016.
Diaspora Diaspora of the Gods: Modern Hindu Temples in an Urban Middle-Class World
Oxford University Press, 2004. This book was awarded “Excellence in the Study of Religion, Analytical-Descriptive Category” by the American Academy of Religion at the annual meeting, November 2005.
Raja The Raja's Magic Clothes: Re-visioning Kingship and Divinity in England's India
In the series "Hermeneutics: Studies in the History of Religions" edited by Kees Bolle. University Park: Penn State Press, 1994.
Flesh Gods of Flesh/Gods of Stone: The Embodiment of Divinity in India
Co-edited with Norman Cutler. Columbia University Press (first published by Anima Press, 1985).
Images Images of Dharma: The Epic World of C. Rajagopalachari
New Delhi: Chanakya Publications, 1985. Out of print but in libraries under ISBN: 8170010047.

Book Chapters & Articles

In Progress:

  • The Soul of a Little Red Dot: Placing Hindu-based Spiritual Movements in Singapore. (Manuscript in progress)

In Print:

  • “Urban Hinduism.” 2017. Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism. Edited by Tracy Coleman. New York: Oxford University. Summary online at http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com
  • "From Diaspora to (Global) Civil Society: Global Gurus and the Processes of De- ritualization and De-ethnization in Singapore." In Hindu Rituals at the Margins: Transformations, Innovations, Reconsiderations edited by Tracy Pintchman and Linda Penkower, 186-207. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2014.
  • “Reading Walden Pond at Marina Bay Sands—Singapore.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 82, 1: 217–247 (March 2014)
  • "Engineering an Artful Practice: On Jaggi Vasudev's Isha Yoga and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living." In Gurus of Modern Yoga: edited by Ellen Goldberg and Mark Singleton, 283-307. New York: Oxford University Press,
  • “Beyond Pluralism: Global Gurus and the Third Stream of American Religiosity.” In Religious Pluralism in Modern America edited by Charles L. Cohen and Ronald L. Numbers, 228-250. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013
  • “A Birthday Party for a Sacred Scripture: The Gita Jayanti and the Embodiment of God as the Book.” In Iconic Books and Texts edited by James Watts, 283-298. Sheffield, UK: Equinox, 2013. (reprint)
  • "A Birthday Party for a Sacred Text: The Gita Jayanti and the Embodiment of God as the Book and the Book as God." Postscripts 6.1–3: 225–242 (2010). 
  • "Global Gurus in Motion: Challenges for the Academic Study of Religion." Religion and Culture 15: 39-55/ 57-72 (2008) (Seoul National University). In English and Korean.
  • Spaces for a New Public Presence: The Sri Siva-Vishnu and Murugan Temples in Metropolitan Washington DC.” In The Practice of American Sacred Space edited by Louis P. Nelson. Bloomington: Indian University Press, 2006.
  • "Comparison: Moving out of the Scholar's Laboratory" Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (Journal of the North American Association for the Study of Religion). (2004)
  • Criterion (Divinity School, University of Chicago) "Frank Reynolds: The Postmodern Man Who Looks a Lot Like Socrates." (2001)
  • "The Gentrification of the Goddess" in International Journal of Hindu Studies 5:3, 2001.
  • "The Diaspora of the Gods: Hindu Temples in the New World System, 1640-1800" in Journal of Asian Studies 58 (Aug. 1999).
  • "The Chariots of the God/s: Riding the Line Between Hindu and Christian in South India" in History of Religions 39 (Nov. 1999).
  • "The Hindu Gods in a Split-level World: The Sri Siva-Vishnu Temple in Suburban Washington, D.C." in Gods of the City, Robert Orsi, ed. Indiana University Press, 1999.
  • "The Divine Image in Contemporary South India: The Renaissance of a Once Maligned Tradition" in Made on Earth, Born in Heaven: Making the Cult Image in the Ancient Mediterranean and Contemporary India, ed. Michael B. Dick. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1998.
  • "Mylapore" in Temple Towns of Tamil Nadu, edited by George Michell. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1993.
  • "Dressing the Body of God: South Indian Bronze Sculpture in Its Temple Setting." With photographs by Dick Waghorne. Asian Art (Sackler Museum of the Smithsonian Institution). Summer 1992.
  • "Vahana: The Conveyers of the Gods" in Living Wood: Sculptural Traditions of Southern India, ed. George Michell in connection with the exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1992.
  • "From Robber Baron to Royal Servant of God: Gaining a Divine Body in South India" in Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees, ed. Alf Hiltebeitel. SUNY Press, 1989.
  • "From Geertz's Ethnography to an Ethno-theology?" in Anthropology and the Study of Religion, Robert L. Moore and Frank E. Reynolds, eds. Chicago: Council for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1984.
  • "When the Mother Goddess is not a Mother" in Anima 7 (March 1981).
  • "A Body for God: An Interpretation of the Nature of Myth Beyond Structuralism" in History of Religions 21 (Aug. 1981).
  • "The Case of the Missing Autobiography" in Journal of the American Academy of Religion 49 (Dec. 1981).
  • "Rajaji, the Brahmin: A Style of Power" in Religion and the Legitimation of Power in South Asia, ed. Bardwell Smith. E.J. Brill, 1978.
  • "The Power of the Word: Rajaji, the Kathakar" in Journal of the University of Madras 47 (Jan. 1975).

Work Anthologized

  • "The Hindu Gods in a Split-level World: The Sri Siva-Vishnu Temple in Suburban Washington , DC ." In Religion and American Culture: A Reader edited by David G. Hackett. 2 nd edition, New York : Routledge. 2003.
  • “Chariots of the God/s: Riding the Line Between Hindu and Christian in South India,” in Popular Christianity in India: Riding Between the Lines, ed. Demsey and Raj ( Albany : SUNY, 2002).
  • “The Embodiment of Divinity in India.” Introduction to Gods of Flesh/Gods of Stone: The Embodiment of Divinity in India. In From Sacred Text to Internet edited by Gwilym Beckerlegge. Aldershot UK : Ashgate, 2001.
  • "The Hindu Gods in a Split-level World: The Sri Siva-Vishnu Temple in Suburban Washington , DC ." In The Expanding Landscape: South Asian and the Diaspora edited by Carla Petievich, New Delhi: Manohar, 1999. (A different version of the above article for readers in India.)

Short Articles and Reviews

  • “Revisiting the Question of Religion in the World Religions Textbook.” Religious Studies Review 31, 1&2 (January and April 2005).
  • “The Discipline of Religion and the Problem of the Empirical.” A Review Symposium on Russell McCutcheon’s The Discipline of Religion for the Bulletin of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion, 33, 3&4 (September and November 2005), p.85-87.
  • "Frank Reynolds: The Postmodern Man Who Looks a Lot Like Socrates." Criterion 40, 3 (Aug 2001) p 2-15.
  • "Background Books" on "Hinduism and the Fate of India." Special Issue. The Wilson Quarterly (Summer, 1991) 51-52.
  • "King" in the Harper's Dictionary of Religion. 1996.
  • Plus reviews in The Journal of Asian Studies, The Journal of Religion, History of Religions.

Fellowships and Research Abroad

  • Research funds, Syracuse University continuing research in Singapore
    • January/February 2017
    • June/July 2015 (and return to India)
    • July 2014 • September-October 2013
    • May-June 2012
    • May-June 2011
    • May-June, 2010.
  • Senior Fellow, American Institute of Indian Studies. Short-term work in Chennai, India December 2008-January 2009 Continuation of research on guru-centered organizations.
  • Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship and Visiting Senior Research Fellow (sabbatical leave program), Asian Research Institute (Globalization and Religion cluster), National University of Singapore, August 2007 to August 2008.
  • Senior Fellow, American Institute of Indian Studies. Short-term work in Chennai, India. January 2008 and December 2008 (upcoming).
  • Research funds, Syracuse University, July 2005. Prilimary research on new Hindu-based religious movements in Singapore. Working with the help of Prof.Vineeta Sinha and others in the Department of Sociology, National University of Singpore.
  • Research funds, Syracuse University, June-July 2004. Preliminary research in Chennai to identify a new comparative project on the organizations, temples and charities centered on Divine Persons (Shirdi Sai Baba, Rama Krishna etc,), as well as the charities of other temples (Tirupati) and religious organizations (Theosophical Society) in contemporary urban life—with an eye to the effects of globalizations.
  • Research funds, Syracuse University. March 2003. Continued research in London to update work on South Indian Hindu temples.
  • University Research Council, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, summers 1996, 1999. Research in London at the British Library on colonial records as well as fieldwork on new Hindu temples built in metropolitan London.
  • Faculty Fellow, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, fall 1997. Initial writing period for my current book, The Diaspora of the Gods: Modern Hindu Temples and Their Urban Middle-Class Patrons.
  • Fellowship for University Teachers, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1994-95. Field research in Madras, India: "Making Space for Hinduism: New Temples in Urban India, the United Kingdom and the United States."
  • Senior Fellow, American Institute of Indian Studies, 1986-87 Madras, India. Research on the rituals of the Kapaleeswara Temple, Mylapore and of new temples in suburban Madras City.
  • Post-doctoral Grant, Social Science Research Council, 1983 Research in the British Museum and the India Office Library on the British attitude toward religious rituals in the princely states of India and the effects of British "reforms" on the development of religion in these states. (summer)
  • Senior Fulbright Fellow, Faculty Research Abroad, Department of Education, 1978-79. Research in the former princely state of Pudukkottai in Tamilnadu to reconstruct the rituals at the royal court and the royal rituals at the state temple.
  • University of Madras, Research Associate, Department of Politics and Public Administration, 1972-73. Research on C. Rajagopalachari, a major figure in the independence movement and an active statesman who was equally known for his retellings of India's religious epics.
  • NDEA Title VI Fellow, University of Chicago: 1969-72 Tamil language studies.
  • Junior Fulbright Fellow: English Tutors Program, 1968-69. Teaching English and beginning the study of Tamil literature at Ethiraj College in Madras.

Professional Organizations (Member)

  • American Academy of Religion
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • American Anthropological Association

University Service

  • Member of the steering committee for the new Space, Place, and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion, 2014-
  • Member of the steering committee for Space, Place and Religious Meaning Consultation of the American Academy of Religion, 2007-2013
  • Director of Graduate Studies, 2009-2013, 2015-2016
  • Member of the Faculty Advisory Board for the Syracuse Humanities Center 2008-2010
  • Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Religion, 2006-2007.
  • Member, Tenure and Promotion Committee of the College of Art and Sciences. Syracuse University, 2003-2004.
  • Campus Director, North Carolina Center for South Asian Studies, 2001-2002.
  • American Institute of Indian Studies. Elected to the Executive Committee, 1996-1999.
  • Member of the Executive Committee for the Triangle South Asia Consortium, 1988-2002.
  • Re-elected to steering committee, Religion in South Asia Section, American Academy of Religion, 1992-95.
  • Member-at-large, Publications Committee, American Academy of Religion, 1990-1993.
  • Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, Appointed to the South Asia Advisory Committee, 1990-1993.

Recent Lectures and Public Presentations (Major presentations from 2017-2000 only)

  • “The Soul of a Little Red Dot—Cosmology and Statecraft in Singapore.” Talk presented at the workshop, “Mining for New Topics and Resources—The Future of Comparative Religion in a Transatlantic Perspective,” CERES at Ruhr Universität Bochum, June 13, 2017
  • “The Soul of a Little Red Dot—Singapore, Macrospaces and Microplaces.” Invited talk for the Globalisation and Religion Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, February 2, 2017.
  • Respondent for a panel “Globalization and Transnational Networks in South Asian Religious Worlds: Vaishnav, Shaivite, and Ambedkarite Traditions.” New York Conference on Asian Studies (regional AAS) at Utica College, Sept 14, 2016.  The four papers developed from my graduate seminar on Globalization and Religion.
  • “Yoga and the Power of Togetherness in Sathsang in Singapore” invited paper for the panel Moments and Movements: Collaboration and Ambivalence Across South Asia and the Fragmented Diaspora. Society for Cultural Anthropology Biannual Meeting, Cornell University, May 14. 2-16.
  • “The Soul of a Little Red Dot—Singapore, Macrospaces and Microplaces.” Invited talk in conjunction with a special Manuscript Review Workshop for Deonnie Moonie, Assistant Professor. Religious Studies Program, University of Oklahoma, Norman, April 20-22, 2016.
  • “Cultural Flows in Singapore” presentation for Cultural Flows in Space and Time: Reimagining Asian Diaspora, Workshop for Community College Faculty. Cornel University, February 5, 2016.
  • “Saint Above (Beyond) Religion: Mapping Shirdi Sai Temples in Chennai” invited paper for the panel Urban Religion in India. The 44th Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison WI October 22-25, 2015
  • “How is a Guru like a High-rise” invited keynote presentation for the "Spirits of the City," University of California graduate workshop and conference. University of California, Santa Barbara under the auspices of California Multi-campus Research Group interested in religion and urban place-making, Santa Barbara, May 30-31, 2015.
  • Rethinking Public and Person: Guru-Centered Movements in Singapore” for the panel “Gods into Politics: Political Positionings and Religious Domains in Asia.”  American Anthropological Association annual meeting, Washington DC, December 3, 2014
  • Respondent and chair for the panel: “Where Class Meets Religion”: Reshaping the Middle-Class and Hindu Worlds in Contemporary India.” American Academy of Religion annual meeting, San Diego, November 25, 2014
  • “New sites for Spiritual Practices in Singapore High-Rise Buildings.” Invited talk at Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities, Lunch Series at Singapore University for Technology and Design. July 29, 2014. 
  • “Hindu Gurus Moving up: New sites for Spiritual Practices in Singapore or How is a Guru like a High-Rise?” For the panel “Religion Rising: The High-rise Building as a Site for Religious/Spiritual Encounter” (0rganizer) AAS-in-Asia (first annual meeting), National University of Singapore, July 19, 2014
  • “Santa Baba or Christmas Chennai Style.”  For the panel “Shirdi Sai Baba: A Saint for all Seasons, for all Reasons in a Time of Indeterminacy,” Association for Asian Studies annual meeting, Philadelphia, March 27-30, 2014
  • Respondent for the panel “Rolling, Playing, Evangelizing: Religious Architecture at Work.” For the Space, Place, and Religious Meaning Group at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Chicago, November 17, 2012.
  • Invited respondent for the workshop, 2013 Lewis Henry Morgan Workshop-Comparison with Peter Van der Veer, University of Rochester, Nov 13-14, 2013
  • “Gods in the High-Rise: Hindu Gurus Above It All.”  The Fourth Annual South Asia Religions Distinguished Lecture at McGill University, March 9, 2012.
  • “Reading Walden Pond at Marina Bay Sands.” For “Surveying Sacred Space: An Interdisciplinary, Interfaith Symposium,” Pepperdine University, Malibu, February 17 & 18, 2012.
  • “Alone Together: The Re-emerging Person and Reconfiguration of ‘Community’ in Guru-centered Movements in Singapore.” For the panel (which I organized) "Changing Conceptions and Configurations of Hindu Communities" for the Hinduism Group, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Francisco, November 20, 2011.
  • “Singapore—A Bellwether or an Anomaly in Migration Issues.” For “Sacred Worlds in Motion: a Roundtable discussion of Religion and Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller’s The Age of Migration (Guilford Press, 4th ed., 2009) sponsored by the Religion and Migration Consultation, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion November 21, 2011.
  • "Space without Place: Borderless 'Spirituality' within a Global City in Asia." For the panel "Portmanteau Space: Bringing Religious Meaning to Nonreligious Spaces," sponsored by Space, Place, and Religious Meaning Consultation, October 31, 2010 for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • "Birthday Party for the Bhagavad-Gita: Gita Jayanti 2008, Singapore." Paper for the 3rd Iconic Books Symposium, Syracuse University, October 1-3, 2010.
  • "Global Gurus: From Proselytizing to Publicity." Paper for the Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in the Era of Globalization, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore September 16-17, 2010.  (In absentia)
  • Respondent for the panel "Global Hinduism and Material Expressions of Belonging." Association for Asia Studies Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, March 25-28, 2010.
  • Organizer with Ann Gold and Gareth Fisher of an international conference Place / No Place: Spatial Aspects of Urban Asian Religiosity, Syracuse University, October 2-4, 2009.  Presented as part of that conference, "Alone Together: Global Gurus, Cosmopolitan Space, and Community."  Syracuse, October 2-4, 2009.
  • "Birthday Party for the Bhagavad-Gita: Gita Jayanti 2008, Singapore." Presentation for the 2nd Iconic Books Symposium, Hamilton College, September 4-6, 2009.
  • "Making Room for the New Asia in Religious Studies: Materialism and Spirituality Upside Down." Invited public lecture for the University of Maine at Farmington, May 1, 2009.
  • “Global Gurus in Motion: Challenges for the Academic Study of Religion.” “Distinguished Lecture” for Department of Religious Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea, June 25, 2008.
  • “Global Gurus in Motion: Re-linking public and person in a new space?” Presentation for a joint seminar of the South Asia Studies Program and the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, April 22, 2008.
  • “Religious Cosmopolitanism: Ethnicity, Oppression and Religion. A Conversation Between Joanne Waghorne and Bryan Turner.” Roundtable discussion for the Religion and Globalisation in Asian Contexts Cluster of the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, December 4, 2007.
  • “Developing a Religious Studies Ethnography: Moving Away from Texts and into the ‘Field’.” Presentation for a panel on New Directions in the Study of Religion sponsored by the Globalization and Religion cluster of the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, November 27, 2007.
  • “Global Gurus and the “De-Ethization” of Hinduism In Singapore and the United States.” Presentation for the Asia Research Institute Seminar Series, National University of Singapore, September 18, 2007.
  • “Beyond Pluralism: Global Gurus and the Third Stream of American Religiosity.” Invited paper for the conference on 'Religious Pluralism in Modern America,' held in Madison, WI, April 13-14, under the auspices of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.
  • Respondent for the panel “A Conversation about Joanne Waghorne’s Diaspora of the Gods: Modern Hindu Temples in an Urban Middle-Class World. Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Boston, March 22-25, 2007.
  • “Adhikara and the Twin Dilemmas of Authority and Rights of Access in the Diaspora.” Paper for the Dharma Association of North American meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Washington, DC, November 17-21,2006.
  • “Making Hinduism Global: “New” Guru-Centered Religious Movements as Confluent with or Counter to Hindutva?” Invited paper for the conference “Political Hinduism” organized by Vijay Lal. University of California at Los Angles, May 6 and 7, 2005.
  • “Sannidhi/ Samadhi: The Temple-Tomb in Tamilnadu.” Invited paper for “Koyil” the first annual Tamil Studies Conference. University of California at Berkeley, April 30 to May 1, 2005.
  • “New Religious Movements in an Era of Rapid Globalization: From Urban India to the World.” Invited lectures for the Global Studies Program at Siena College, Loudonville, New York, April 7-8, 2005.
  • “Hindu Temples in New Global Middle-Class Space.” Invited paper for the “Temple Transfers” The Barbara Stoler Miller Memorial Conference. Columbia University, February 12, 2005.
  • “Spaces for a New Public Presence: Hindu Temples in Metropolitan Washington DC .” Paper presented for the panel “ Diaspora - Space and Identity” at the 19th Annual South Asia Conference at the University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California, February 13-14, 2004.
  • “Shiva Festivals: Grandeur and Intimacy.” Invited presentation for the seminar Procession, Performances, and Pujas: India’s Hindu Festivals sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, November 8, 2003.
  • “New Bronzes/ New Ritual Contexts.” Invited presentation for the symposium in conjunction with the exhibit The Sensuous and the Sacred: Cholas Bronzes from South India. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian sponsored by the American Federation of Arts. Washington DC, March 8, 2003.
  • “Thinking Locally, Building Globally: A New Kind of Hindu Temple in a Transnational Religious Landscape.” Invited presentation at the symposium “(Un)Common Ground: Rethinking American Sacred Space. University of Virginia School of Architecture, October 31-November 2, 2002.
  • “The Paradox of the ‘Paradigmatic Sovereign’: Saiva Temples in 18 th and 19 th Century Madras.” Paper presented in the panel “Kingship in a Changing World: Rearticulating Rajadharma in Colonial India at the 31 st Annual Conference on South Asia. University of Wisconsin, October 11-13, 2002.
  • Organized for the North Carolina South Asia Center, Symposium “South Asian Identities and Narratives of Origins” included speakers for the Department of History, University of Michigan and departments of religion from Washington and Lee University and Rutgers University. Chapel Hill, March 29-30, 2002.
  • "Comparison: Moving out of the Scholar's Laboratory." A paper for the panel "Comparison in the History of Religions: Reflections and Critiques" for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Denver, November 18, 2001.
  • Invited presentation on "comparison" honoring the work John B. Carman the annual Conference for the Study of Religion in South India. Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, Massachusetts, June 14-17, 2001.
  • Invited presentation for "India Through Others Eyes" at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple. Lanham Maryland (Metropolitan Washington DC), June 2, 2001.
  • "Mylapore Shaiva Temples: The Royal Lord in a Middle-Class World." Paper for the panel "From Madras to Chennai: The City that Milton Singer Never Saw" for the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. Chicago, March 22-25, 2001. (Organized the panel)
  • "Seeing the Goddess in an Urban World: Temple Iconography for a New Age." Invited paper for the symposium "Experiencing Devi: Hindu Goddesses in Indian Popular Art" at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. Iowa City, February 24-24, 2001.
  • "Thinking of Milton Singer/Rethinking the "City" in India: Architecture and Urban Space Beyond the Bounds of the "Colonial". Roundtable papers organized and presented for or the 29th Annual Conference on South Asia. University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 13-15, 2000.