Amanda Lucia

Amanda LuciaAssociate Professor
(951) 827-2137

Curriculum Vitae


Amanda Lucia’s research engages encounters between Hinduism and American religions. In studying contemporary global guru movements and American appropriations of Hinduism, her research and teaching focuses on new religious movements, gender, immigration, ethnicity, globalization, postcolonial theory, and ethnographic methodology. Her first book is an ethnographic account of Mata Amritanandamayi’s guru movement in the United States, entitled Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014). Lucia’s current research investigates the creation of sacred space and subjectivity through cultural appropriation in contemporary transformational and yoga festivals in the United States. This focus on festival, space, and displays of religious prowess and spiritual authenticity complements another project based in her ethnographic research at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India 2013. As co-director of the Institute for the Study of Immigrant Religions at UCR, she is also engaged in a collaborative humanities studio researching religious festivals in immigrant communities in Southern California. Her articles and reviews have been published in Nidān, CrossCurrents, History of Religions, Journal of Asian Studies, and Journal of Hindu Studies.

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


Hellman Fellowship, UCR, 2013-2014
Academic Senate Omnibus Travel Award, Committee on Research, UCR, 2013-2014
Regents Faculty Fellowship, Committee on Research, UCR, 2013-2014
Religion in Diaspora and Global Affairs (RIDAGA), Humanities Studio Award, University of California Humanities Research Initiative (UCHRI), 2013-2015
Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Chicago, 2013
Mellon Workshop, Center for Ideas and Society, UCR, Institute for the Study of Immigrant Religions (ISIR), 2012- 2013 / 2013-2014
Stimulus Money, Office of the Chancellor, UCR, ISIR, 2011-2012
ACLS Mellon New Faculty Fellowship 2011-2012(3) (declined)
Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), Dissertation Fellowship 2008-2010
Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS)/Divinity School, Dissertation Research Stipend, 2009
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS), Malayalam 2005-2006
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS), Hindi 2003-2005
American Institute of India Studies (AIIS)/Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) – Hindi (Jaipur, India) 2003
College Year in India Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Varanasi, India) 1996-1997

Research Area

Languages: Hindi/Urdu, Sanskrit, Malayalam, French, German

Academic Publications


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

Articles (Peer Reviewed)

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

“Hinduism without Religion: Amma’s Movement in America” CrossCurrents: Special Issue: Religion in Asia Today, September 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

Encyclopedia Entries

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


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: 185-18


Translation of selections from the Sadhvi Shakti Parishad’s (a subsidiary of the VHP) Matramahashakti, (Hindi original) available at the Regenstein Library, The University of Chicago. (2007)

Manuscripts in Press

“Give me sevā overtime:” Humanitarianism and Selfless Service in Mata Amritanandamayi’s Movement” History of Religions (approved 3/2014)

“The Innovative Guru: Tradition and Change in Contemporary Hinduism,” International Journal of Hindu Studies (approved 2/2014)

Manuscripts in Progress


Exhibit India: the Aesthetics of Authenticity (in progress)

Articles (Peer Reviewed)

“Textuality, Sexuality, and Embodiment: performing the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra” (in progress)

Chapters in Edited Volumes

“Beyond the Critique of Consumerism: Display and Exhibit at the Kumbh Mela 2013,” Society for Pilgrimage Studies, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (accepted, forthcoming)

“Mata Amritanandamayi,” Religious Genius Project, The Elijah Interfaith Institute (accepted, forthcoming)

Amanda J. Lucia and Michael Alexander “Jew-Boos/Jew-Hoos: Hybridity, Safety, and the turn toward the East among Los Angeles Jews,” Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California (in progress)