I am historian of American religion with a background in American Studies and literature. My research focuses on race and immigration in American religion, “cults” and new religious movements, the American metaphysical tradition, and Asian American religions. I am currently writing a dissertation on the early history of yoga in the United States from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century.
In 2011, I edited and introduced a new and definitive edition of the The Kybalion, a metaphysical classic and strong influence on the modern positive thinking movement, for Tarcher/Penguin which has since been translated into Romanian and Portuguese (for Brazil), with forthcoming editions in Turkish and Portuguese (for Portugal). I have also written over two dozen articles for popular audiences in such venues as The History Channel, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Yoga Journal, Air & Space Smithsonian, the Indian news site Scroll.in, and Tides, the magazine of the South Asian American Digital Archive.
- “The Swami Circuit: Mapping the Terrain of Early American Yoga.” Journal of Yoga Studies 01 (2018): 5-44.
- “Rishis and Rebels: The Punjabi Sikh Presence in Early American Yoga.” Journal of Sikh and Punjab Studies 23:01-02 (2016): 93-129.
- “The Hindu in Hoodoo: Fake Yogis, Pseudo-Swamis, and the Construction of African American Folk Magic.” Amerasia 40:01 (2014): 35-56.
- “Brooklyn Bhikkhu: How Salvatore Cioffi Became the Venerable Lokanatha.” Contemporary Buddhism 14:01 (2014): 169-186.
- “From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga.” Sikh Formations 08:03 (2012): 369-387.
- “The Many Lives of Mohan Singh, a Pioneering Aviator Who Conned America as a Yoga Guru.” Scroll.in (2019).
- “Bhagat Singh Thind in Jail.” Tides: The Magazine of the South Asian American Digital Archive (2018).
- “Why A Glass-eating Yogi Fled To India Just When He Had Hollywood on the Mat.” Scroll.in (2015).
- “The American Yoga Scare of 1927: How Traveling Yogis Toppled the Oklahoma State Government.” Tides: The Magazine of the South Asian American Digital Archive (2015).
Reviews and Review Essays:
- “Mythical Posturing: Hagiography, History, and Scholarly Judgment in Recent Works on Modern Yoga and Hinduism in America.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 21:3 (2018): 103-109.
- “One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life by Mitch Horowitz.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 19:1 (2015): 124-125.
- “Contemporary Esotericism, edited by Egil Asprem and Kennet Granholm ” Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism 14:2 (2014): 253-256.
- RGST7: Religion in America (3 Quarters)
- RGST101: New Religious Movements
- ASAM162: Asian American Religions
- RLTH100: Religion, Identity, and Vocation
- RLTH334: American Religious Experience
(California Lutheran University)
- 8G1: Interpretation of Literature (5 Semesters)
- 8G9: American Lives- Religious Cults
(University of Iowa, Department of English)
- RS21: Zen Buddhism
- RS71: Introduction to Asian American Religion
- RS81: Modern Iran
- ASAM2: American Migration Since 1965 (8 Quarters)
- ASAM4: Introduction to Asian American Popular Culture
- ASAM5: Introduction to Asian American Literature (3 Quarters)