Amanda Lucia

Amanda LuciaAssociate Professor
(951) 827-2137

Curriculum Vitae


Amanda J. Lucia is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at University of California, Riverside where she is a Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Immigration and Religion at UCR. Her research engages American religions and Hinduism by focusing on religious encounters between North Americans and South Asians since the early-19th century. Lucia’s current book project is an ethnographic study of American spirituality as it is constructed in festival environments in the United States. Her first book, Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014) investigated transnationalism and gender in a global guru movement. After earning a BA in Religion and India Studies at Indiana University, she completed her MA and PhD in the History of Religions at the The University of Chicago. Her current interests include guru authority and sexuality, the logics of bricolage spirituality, and the politics of cultural representation.

Former Institution

Austin College, Visiting Assistant Professor, 2010-2011


Ph.D. History of Religions 2010, University of Chicago

M.A. History of Religions 2004, University of Chicago

B.A. Religious Studies/India Studies 1998, Indiana University


Academic Senate Committee on Research Award (2016-17)

UCEAP Academic Integration of Study Abroad Award (Fall 2015)

“The Public Practice of Immigrant and Minority Religions in Southern California,” Advancing Intercultural Studies: A Quarterly Seminar Series, funded by the Mellon Foundation, through the Center for Ideas and Society, UCR (Spring 2015)

Emory Elliott Book Award for Reflections of Amma, Center for Ideas and Society, UCR, 2013-2014 (Spring 2015)

Reflections of Amma named one of “The Best Spiritual Books of 2014” (top 50), Spirituality & Practice (Spring 2015)

Innovative Learning Technology Initiatives (ILTI) Award, UCR (Winter 2015)

Academic Senate Omnibus Travel Award, Committee on Research, UCR (2014-15)

Outstanding Mentorship Award, Sisters in Strength Undergraduate Club, UCR (Spring 2014)

Co-PI: Religion in Diaspora and Global Affairs (RIDAGA) Humanities Studio Award, UCHRI/Luce Foundation(2013-15(16))

Hellman Fellowship, University of California, Riverside (2013-15)

Academic Senate Omnibus Travel Award, Committee on Research, UCR (2013-14)

Regents Faculty Fellowship, Committee on Research, UCR (2013-14)

Mellon Workshop, CIS, UCR, Co-PI/Director: ISIR (Institute for the Study of Immigration and Religion) (2013-14)

Mellon Workshop, CIS, UCR, Co-PI/Director: ISIR (2012-13)

Stimulus Money, Office of the Chancellor, UCR, Co-PI/Director: ISIR (2011-12)

Faculty Research Grant, UCR (2011-12)

ACLS Mellon New Faculty Fellowship (declined) (2011-2013)


Hindi/Urdu, Sanskrit, French

Academic Publications


Spiritual Nomads: Creating the Self and the Cosmos in Festival Spaces, in draft.

Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.

Reviewed in: Journal of Contemporary Religion, Nova Religio, Spirituality & Practice, Choice Connect, Commonground Magazine,

Featured in:; New Books in Religion,, Asia Research Institute (ARI) Reading Group, Singapore, Spirit Matters Podcasts,, Publishers Weekly

Awards: Emory Elliott Book Award Winner, Center for Ideas and Society, UCR, 2013-2014; Named one of “The Best Spiritual Books of 2014” (top 50), Spirituality & Practice

Articles (Peer Reviewed)

“Mormons Playing Holi at the Hare Krishna Temple: Cultural Representation, Proselytization, and the Productive Spaces of Festival,” in draft.

“ ‘Give Me Sevā Overtime:’ Selfless Service and Humanitarianism in Mata Amritanandamayi’s Transnational Guru Movement” History of Religions, (2014) 53: 4: 188-207.

“Innovative Gurus: Tradition and Change in Contemporary Hinduism,” International Journal of Hindu Studies, (2014) 18, 2: 221-263.

“Backdoor Hinduism: A Recoding in the Language of Spirituality” Nidan: International Journal for the Study of Hinduism, (2011) Vol. 23: 53-71.

“Hinduism without Religion: Amma’s Movement in America” CrossCurrents: Special Issue: Religion in Asia Today, (2011) Vol. 61, Issue 3: 374-398.

“Female Immigration as a Catalyst for Ritual Practice: A Social History of Hinduism in the United States” Journal of Hindu Studies (2010) 3(2): 189-215.

Articles (Non-Peer Reviewed)

with Jennifer Scheper Hughes, Jim K. Lee, and S. Romi Mukherjee, “California’s New Religion of the Streets,” BOOM: A Journal of California, December 23, 2015,

“The Playful Seduction of Colors: Chanting ‘Hare Krishna’ by Accident,” October 24, 2015.

“Toward a Theory of Festival,” October 24, 2015.

“How ISKCON took Hinduism to the US Heartland,” Scroll.In, January 16, 2015,

“Who Needs a Hug(ging) Saint?” Religion in American History, September 21, 2014, 

Chapters in Edited Volumes (Peer Reviewed)

“Haptic Logics: The Transmission of Affective Power in the Guru-Disciple Relationship,” in Generating the Guru: Genealogies of Religious Authority in South Asia, edited by István Keul and Srilata Raman, forthcoming.

“Saving Yogis: Spiritual Nationalism and the Proselytizing Missions of Global Yoga,” in Asian Migrations & Global Religion: Studies on Transnational Religious Movements, edited by Brenda Yeoh and Bernardo Brown, Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming.

with Michael Alexander, “Aum Shalom: Jews, Gurus, and Religious Hybridity in the United States,” in Religion, Politics and Culture in Los Angeles, edited by Richard Flory and Diane Winston, forthcoming.

“Mata Amritanandamayi,” in Religious Genius, edited by Alon Goshen-Gottstein, The Elijah Interfaith Institute, forthcoming.

Encyclopedia Entries

“Hinduism in the United States” Oxford Bibliography of Religion in America, edited by John Corrigan, forthcoming.

“Festivals.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism. Ed. Tracy Coleman. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

“Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust/Embracing the World,” BRILL Encyclopedia of Hinduism, vol. V, edited by Knut A. Jacobsen. Leiden: BRILL (2013), 523-30.

Book Reviews

Nicholas Campion, The New Age in the Modern West: Counterculture, Utopia and Prophecy from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Present Day, Sept. 22, 2016,, a publication of the American Academy of Religion.

Véronique Altglas, From Yoga to Kabbalah: Religious Exoticism and the Logics of Bricolage, Nova Religio, Vol. 20, No. 1, (Aug. 2016): 134-135.

Orianne Aymard, When a Goddess Dies: Worshipping Ma Anandamayi after Her Death, The Journal of Religion, Vol. 96, Issue 2 (April 2016): 252-253.

Michael J. Altman, “Imagining Hindus: India and Religion in Nineteenth Century America,” Religious Studies Dissertation Reviews, February 23, 2015,

Vincent Wimbush, ed. MisReading America: Scriptures and Difference, Inscriptions, Vol. 9, Spring 2014: 2-4.

Jacob Copeman and Aya Ikegame, eds. The Guru in South Asia, Religious Studies Review, (2014) Vol. 40 (1): 55-56.

Jacob Copeman and Aya Ikegame, eds. The Guru in South Asia, Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 4 (2013): 212-213.

Tulasi Srinivas, Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism Through the Sathya Sai Movement, Journal of Asian Studies, (2011) Vol. 70 (3): 894-896.

Kavita Ramdya, Bollywood Weddings: Dating, Engagement, and Marriage in Hindu America, Journal of Hindu Studies, (2011) 4(1): 109-110.

Sumathi Ramaswamy, The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India, History of Religions, (2011) Vol. 51, No. 2: 185-188.