Jun. Prof. Carola Lorea

October 2023
ERC Synergy grant award

for the project MANTRAMS: Mantras in Religion, Media and Society in Global Southern Asia

Since 2023
Junior Professor for the Study of Religions

‘Rethinking Global Religion’. University of Tübingen, Germany.

Senior Research Fellow

Asia Research Institute – National University of Singapore. Religion and Globalisation Cluster.

Chair of AGSF

Asian Graduate Student Fellowship and Singapore Forum on Southeast Asian Studies

Research project CoronAsur

Founding editor of CoronAsur: Religions and COVID-19; PI of collaborative research project "Religion going viral: Pandemic transformations of religious lives and ritual performances in Asia"

ARI Research Fellow

Asia Research Institute – National University of Singapore.

Religion and Globalisation Cluster.

Digital Archive "Songs of the Old Madmen"

PI of the Endangered Archives Programme grant EAP1247

Visiting Professor

IAS (Institute for Advanced Studies), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Centre for the Study of Social Systems (CSSS).

Gonda Research Fellow

J. Gonda fund, Leiden. Research project "Metaphor, Meaning and Oral Exegesis: The Upside-Down Language of the Songs of Sādhanā"

DAAD Research Fellow

University of Heidelberg, Germany. South Asian Institute.

IIAS Research Fellow

International Institute for Asia Studies, Leiden, Netherlands.

Lecturer of Bengali

Italian Institute of Oriental Studies, University of Rome La Sapienza

PhD in South Asian Studies

(Culture e civilta’ dell’Asia e dell’Africa). Italian Institute of Oriental Studies, La Sapienza University of Rome – Jadavpur University, Kolkata (jointly supervised).

MA in South Asian Studies,

110 cum laude/110 Degree in Oriental Languages and Cultures. Institute of Oriental Studies, La Sapienza University of Rome.

Research Interests

  • Popular religious movements of South Asia, Dalit religions and Tantric traditions
  • Religion, gender and alternative constructions of sexuality
  • Ethnographic theory, embodied research, practice-led research, methodology for the study of esoteric movements
  • Epistemologies of the global South and epistemic justice
  • Religion and media; orality, aurality, and digital humanities
  • Religion and sound, religion and the senses, sensory scholarship
  • Songs, festivals and ritual performances
  • Borderlands, migration and displacement
  • Islands, diasporas and transnational religious networks
  • Eastern India, Bangladesh, Andaman Islands and Bengali diasporas
  • Religion and the COVID-19 pandemic; Post-secular approaches to study health and the environment


2016. Folklore, Religion and the Songs of a Bengali Madman: A Journey Between Performance and the Politics of Cultural Representation. Leiden: Brill.

Communities of Sound: Religion, Caste and Displacement in the Bay of Bengal. Under preparation.


(Translator). Bhattacharya, Nabarun. 2016. Gli Ammutinati di Calcutta [Calcutta's Mutineers; original title: Kangal Malshat, translated from Begali]. Milano: Metropoli d'Asia. 

with Parthapratim C. (editors and translators). 2012. Orchidea Barberini nei panni di Banalata Sen: Jibananda Das e la poesia bengali al di là di Tagore [Jibanananda Das and Bengali poetry beyond Tagore; original title Banalata Sen, translated from Bengali]. Kolkata: N.E. Publishers. 

with Mario Prayer and Neeman Sobhan. 2012. Corso di lingua bengali [A complete course of Bengali language for Italian speakers]. Milano: Hoepli. 

Edited Volumes

with Rosalind Hackett (eds.). 2024. Religious Sounds Research Beyond the Global North: Senses, Media and Power. Amsterdam University Press.

with Rohit Singh (eds.). 2023 (October) The Ethnography of Tantra: Textures and Contexts of Living Tantric Traditions. New York, SUNY (production phase).

with Emily Hertzman, Erica Larson, and Natalie Lang. 2023 (June). CoronAsur: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age. University of Hawaii Press (production phase).

with Rosalind Hackett (eds.). 2024 (January). Religious Sounds Research Beyond the Global North: Senses, Media and Power. Amsterdam University Press (production phase).

Special Issues

Co-edited with E. Larson, A. Chaudhuri, E. Hertzman. "Faith in Immunity: Covid Vaccines, Religions and Structures of Trust.” Journal of Asian Medicine. Spring issue 2024 (forthcoming).

Co-edited with N. Mahadev, N. Chen and N. Lang. Religion and the Covid-19 Pandemic: Mediating Presence and Distance. Religion, 52: 177-198.

Co-edited with Jayati Bhattacharya (guest editors). Re-centering the Bay of Bengal: Connected Spaces in an Inter-Asian Bordersea. IIAS Newsletter (Spring 2020 Issue).

Co-edited with Matthew Pritchard (guest editors). 2018. Translation Impossible: The Ethics, Politics and Pragmatics of Radical Translation in South Asian Literatures. Special Issue of: Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry 5.3: 1-103.                 


2024. A Sonic Vaccine for a White-Collar Disease: Matua Approaches to Covid-19, Rural Pride, and Sonic-Sacred Healing. Asian Medicine. (Spring issue, forthcoming)

 2024. “From Dharma  to  Sound:  Decolonizing  Definitions  of  Religious Community.” AЯGOS 3(2): 64–71. DOI: 10.26034/fr.argos.2024.4753

with Aditi Mukherjee and Dishani Roy. 2023. “A Dalit Religion Online: Clashing Sensoryscapes and Remote Ethnographies Behind the Screen.” Journal of Dialectical Anthropology. 

 2023. “From Oral Tradition to Digital Archive: New Primary Sources for the Study of Baul Traditions.” Journal of Hindu Studies (Oxford) 16 (3): 344-371. 

2022. Sonic Matters: Singing as Method and the Epistemology of Singing across Bengali Esoteric Lineages. American Anthropologist.

with N. Mahadev, N. Chen and N. Lang. “Religion and the Covid-19 Pandemic: Mediating Presence and Distance.” (editorial introduction). Religion, 52 (Spring issue) 2022. 

2021. Remote or unreachable? The gender of connectivity and the challenges of pandemic fieldwork across the Bay of Bengal. In "Collaboratory of Indian Ocean Ethnographies". The Society of Cultural Anthropology. 23 September 2021.

2021. বাংলাদেশের মতুয়া সম্প্রদায়ের স্থানীয় সমাজ কাঠামোতে সহাবস্থানের স্বরূপ ও প্রতিবন্ধকতা. Bhabanagara: International Peer-reviewed Journal of Bengal Studies. Dhaka Vol. 13 no. 15: 1623-47.

2020. Contesting Multiple Borders: Bricolage Thinking and Matua Narratives on the Andaman Islands. Southeast Asian Studies 9 n.2 (August 2020).

2020. Religious returns, ritual changes and divinations on COVID‐19 (Special Section article). Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale (2020) 0, 0 1–2. © 2020 European Association of Social Anthropologists.

2018. Migrating Repertoires in the Middle of the Ocean: A Little-known History of Displacement and Bengali Identity. Rivista degli Studi Orientali (RSO) 91, Special Section 2 De-Centering Dominant Narratives in India: 51-66.

2018. Pregnant Males, Barren Mothers and Religious Transvestism: Transcending Gender in the Songs and Practices of 'Heterodox' Bengali Lineages. Asian Ethnology 77. 1/2: 169-213.

2018. Sectarian Scissions, Vaishnava Deviancy, and Trajectories of Oral Literature: A Virtual Dialogue between the Bengali Songs of Bhaktivinod Thakur (1838-1914) and Duddu Shah (1841-1911). Zeitschrift für Indologie und Südasienstudien, Band 35: 83-114.

2018. সম্প্রদায়গত সামাজিক বিভাজন এবং বৈষ্ণব অপসম্প্রদায় : ভক্তিবিনোদ ঠাকুর  এবং দুদ্দু শাহের গান. Bhābnagar International Journal of Bengal Studies 9, no. 10: 1075-1098.

2018. “I Am Afraid of Telling You This, Lest You’d Be Scared Shitless!”: The Myth of Secrecy and the Study of the Esoteric Traditions of Bengal. Religions 9(6), 172: 1-24.

2017. “"How Many Know How to (Make) Love?" - Semantic Understanding of Bengali Baul Songs and Politics of Power in the Lineage of Bhaba Pagla. Kervan - International Journal of Afro-Asiatic Studies 21: 81-116.

2018. Snake charmers on parade: A performance-centered study of the crisis of the Ojhā healers. Asian Medicine 13 (1-2), 247-275, 2018.

with Zami Tahmidal, 2016. Inter-religious Encounter and Proselytism in Pre-Mughal Bengal: An Analysis of the Report by the Jesuit Father Nicolas Pimenta. Indian Historical Review 43.2: 234-369.

2016. বাউল চর্চা এবং ইতালি, আন্তঃসাংস্কৃতিক আদানপ্রদানের সংক্ষিপ্ত ইতিহাস. Bhābnagar International Journal of Bengal Studies 4: 467-482.

2014. Territory, Loss and Identity: The Songs of a Displaced Guru and His Performers. Journal of Folklore and Folkloristics 7.2: 50-68.


2014. Why Do You Go Swimming in the River Full of Algae? Conception and Contraception in Baul Songs and Oral Teachings. Journal of Folklore and Folkloristics 7.1: 9-45.

2014. Searching for the Divine, Handling Mobile Phones: Baul Lyrics and Their Osmotic Response to Globalization. Journal of History and Sociology of South Asia 8.1: 59-88.

2013. Playing the Football of Love on the Field of the Body: The Contemporary Repertoire of Baul Songs, Journal of Religion and the Arts 17.4: 416-451.

2011. “Il Bangladesh in Italia: rilevazioni sul “lemmario dell'uso” della lingua italiana”. ITALS, Didattica e linguistica dell'italiano come lingua straniera. 9. 27. ISSN 2239-9615

Chapters in edited books

2024. “The potential of a sonic turn: Towards an acoustemology of the post-secular.” In Religious Sounds Beyond the Global North. Amsterdam University Press.

with Rohit Singh. 2023. “Introduction: Tantric traditions as lived religion: Re-imagining Tantra with ethnography”. In The Ethnography of Tantra, p. 1-57. SUNY press.

with  E. Hertzman, E. Larson and N. Lang. 2023. “Introduction: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age”. In CoronAsur: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age, p. 1-34. University of Hawaii Press.

With Raka Banerjee, Dishani Roy, Fatema Aarshe, Khaled Oli Bin Bhuiyan, Mukul Pandey. 2023. The Sonic and the Somatic: Matua Healing Practices during COVID-19  CoronAsur: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age, pp. 144-150. University of Hawaii Press.

2023. Untouchable Kirtan: Sonic liberation on the Andaman Islands. In Sounding the Indian Ocean: Musical Circulations in the Afro-Asiatic Seascape, edited by Julia Byl and Jim Sykes, 99-119. Oakland: University of California Press.

2022. Singing Tantra: Aural Media and Sonic Soteriology in Bengali Esoteric Lineages. Oxford Handbook of Tantric Studies, edited by Glen Hayes and Richard Payne, C37.S1–C37.N31.

2020. Religion, Caste and Displacement: The Matua Community. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Edited by Willem van Schendel.

2020. Dancing Skulls and Red Hibiscus Flowers: Nabarun’s Tantric Imaginaries and the Radical Aesthetics of Subversion. In Nabarun Bhattacharya: Aesthetics and Politics in a World After Ethics. Edited by Sourit Bhattacharya, Arka Chattopadhyay and Samrat Sengupta, 177-192. New Delhi: Bloomsbury.

2018. Body, Land and Displacement: Songs and Rituals of Embodiment among the Bengali settlers on the Andaman Island. In Makbulnama. Edited by Kazi Abu Zumman and Ajijul Hoque Mondal, 88-101. Kolkata: Bangiya Sahitya Samsad.

Online academic publications

with Raka Banerjee, Dishani Roy et al. The Sonic and the Somatic: Matua Healing Practices during COVID-19  CoronAsur: Religion and COVID-19 research blog. Published on 22 January 2021. 

2020. Religion going viral: Pandemic transformations and ritual performances in Asia . ARIScope. 13 November 2020. 

2020. Spiritualizing Confinement and the Rise of Meditation Apps. CoronAsur: Religion and COVID-19 research blog. Published on 19 June 2020.

2020. CoronAsur: Religion, senses and media at the time of the Corona-demon. CoronAsur: Religion and COVID-19 research blog. Published on 18 May 2020.

2019. Building Digital Archives: Tools, Techniques and Approaches. Endangered Archives Blog (Official Blog of Endangered Archives Program, British Library). December 6, 2019. 

2018. Folklore in South Asia: The Politics and Ethics of Digital Archives. Special issue on Digital Archives. Café Dissensus. February 1, 2018.

2017. Bengali Settlers in the Andaman Islands: The Performance of Homeland, IIAS Newsletter 77: 4-5.

Book reviews in academic journals

Review of:  Aniket De, “The Boundary of Laughter: Popular performances across borders in South Asia.” Asian Ethnology 82/1 (2023): 191-195

John Stevens, “Keshab: Bengal’s Forgotten Prophet” International Journal of Hindu Studies 25.3 (2021).

“The Legacy of Vaishnavism in Colonial Bengal” Edited by Ferdinando Sardella and Lucian Wong. Journal of Hindu Studies. Forthcoming.

Carol Salomon, “City of Mirrors: Songs of Lalan Sai” edited by Saymon Zakaria and Keith Cantu. Religions of South Asia. 13.3 (2021): 385-387.

Kristin Hanssen, “Women, Religion and the Body in South Asia: Living with Bengali Bauls.” Asian Ethnology 78/1 (2019): 228-230.

Heidemann, Frank and Philipp Zehmisch, eds. “Manifestations of History: Time, Space, and Community in the Andaman Islands”. Asian Ethnology 76, 1 (2017): 168-171.

Hess, Linda. “Bodies of Song: Kabir Oral Traditions and Performative Worlds in North India”. Journal of Religion and the Arts 20 (2016): 518–521.

Saxena, Neela. “Absent Mother God of the West”.  Rivista di Studi Orientali RSO 89 (2016): 103-5.

Chakraborty, Mridula Nath, ed. “Being Bengali: at Home and in the World”. Rivista di Studi Orientali RSO 88 (2015): 231-233.



  • 2024: Course on Religious Sounds: Music, Silence and Noises. (open to students of Religion, Anthropology, and Musicology Dep.)
  • 2024: Course on Religion and Society in South Asia Today (co-taught with Dr. Claire Maes, Indology Dep.)
  • 2024: Master Thesis Supervision: Mukul Menon, Internet Remediations of Devotional Temple Music from Kerala. Erasmus Mundus ‘Media Art Cultures’ Master’s program, Krems, Austria.
  • 2023: Course on the Anthropology of Sound, Department of Anthropology.
  • 2023: Course on: Introduction to Bengali language and literature, Department of Linguistics
  • 2022: Guest lecturer for PhD Course in Culture e Civilta’ dell’Asia e dell’Africa, Italian Institute of Oriental Studies.
  • 2019-2021: Guest lecturer at National University of Singapore. Topics: Religion and gender in South Asia; Religion and media; traditional performance in Asia.
  • 2020: Trainer for Methods and ethics of remote ethnography. Part of research project “Religion Going Viral”.
  • 2019: Accompanying field-trip coordinator for NUS Global Classroom project in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
  • 2019: Reading session leader of premodern Bengali Literature. “Middle Bengali Camp”, Morocco, Bab Zouina. Organized by University of Chicago Department of South Asian Literatures.
  • 2018: Guest lecturer at National University of Singapore. Undergraduate course “Performance in Asia”.
  • 2018: Guest lectures on religion, displacement and sound. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Centre for the Study of Social Systems.
  • 2017: Guest lecturer at Südasien-Institut, University of Heidelberg. Topics: Bengali literature; methods for the study of oral literature; the 1947 Partition, migration and music.
  • 2016: Lecturer of Bengali language and literature at the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies, University of Rome La Sapienza (modulo semestrale per corso di laurea triennale).
  • 2013-2014: Lecturer for the module “The study of folklore and oral traditions in South Asia”, open to undergraduate and graduate students of Anthropology and Asian Studies, University of Rome (ciclo di sette seminari).

Convened conferences & workshops

  • Faith in Immunity: Religions, Covid vaccines and Structures of Trust”, 27-28 October 2022. Synchronous + asynchronous online workshop via MSTeams and Zoom. Asia Research Institute, NUS.

  • Mantras: Sounds, Materiality and the Body”, a three-day hybrid workshop I co-organized with Finnian Gerety (Brown University), Gudrun Buhnemann (University of Madison-Wisconsin) and Borayin Larios (University of Vienna), 12-14 May 2022. Co-funded by Asia Research Institute, ARI events grant. 

  • Religion and the Covid-19 Pandemic: Mediating Presence and Distance”, Asia Research Institute & Yale-NUS College, 29-30 April 2021.

  • Sounds, Bodies and Power: Politics and Poetics of Religious Sound”, Asia Research Institute, NUS. 27th-28th February 2020.

  • Building Digital Archives: Tools, Techniques and Approaches”, School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University, 4th to 8th November 2019. 

Invited Lectures

  • “Tidalectics of Mud and Water: Embodied Places and the Making of a Displaced Dalit Religion”. 31 May 2023, CEMIS, University of Göttingen.“

  • From Oral Tradition to Digital Archives”, University of Rome La Sapienza. 27 January 2022.

  • “Mapping Changes in Religion and Globalization Across Asia”. 20th Anniversary of Asia Research Institute roundtable series. 19 October 2021.

  • Ways of Listening, Ways of Knowing“ -- Communities of Sound: Caste, Religion, and Displacement Across the Bay of Bengal. St Louis University, 22 October 2021

  • “Feminist Avataras and Anti-Patriarchal Claims in the Narratives of the Matua Community”. Distinguished lectures series, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Calcutta. 19 August 2021.

  • “Covid-19 in South Asia: Ritual innovations and Religious Responses”. Indiana University, Dhar India Studies Centre distinguished lecture series, 10 March 2021.

  • Invited discussant for “Decolonizing Archive, Rethinking Canons”, Cambridge University, Discussant for panel on Global Intellectual History (26 March 2021).

  • Singing Knowledge: Sound, Seed and Siddhi Across the Bay of Bengal”. Colombia University. South Asia Seminar. Organized by Carla Bellamy. 16 November 2020.

  • “Songs as Method: The Epistemology of Singing in Bengal”. National University of Singapore, South Asia Seminar. 23 October 2020.

  • "An Avatara for Women? Mimesis and Counter-Narratives in the Bay of Bengal”. Concordia University, Montreal. 4 February 2020.

  • “Womanhood, Gender Identity and the Sexual Body in Baul Songs”. Concordia University, Montreal. 4 February 2020.

  • “Sounding the Bay of Bengal: Politics and Poetics of Religious Sound in the Matua Community”. Delivered at the conference Contemporary Caste, Gender and Minority Questions in West Bengal and Bangladesh. St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, 1 November 2019.

  • “Digital archives of folklore in South Asia: Ethical and practical issues”. Jadavpur University, Kolkata. 5 November 2019.

  • “Womanhood, Gender Identity and the Sexual Body in Baul Songs”. Concordia University, Montreal. 4 February 2020.

  • “How does a displaced religion sound like? Notes from research with the Matua community in the Bay of Bengal”. University Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 2 October 2019.

  • “Sectarian scissions, Vaisnava deviancy, and trajectories of oral literature: A virtual dialogue between the Bengali songs of Bhaktivinod Thakur (1838-1914) and Duddu Shah (1841-1911)”. South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg. 20 June 2018.

  • “Oral repertoires of religion and displacement: Performed homeland(s) around the Bay of Bengal” organized by the Centre for the Study of Social Systems (CSSS), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 22 February 2018.

  • “Migrated traditions and oral repertoires: Performed homeland(s) around the Bay of Bengal” organized by the Centre of Advanced Study Programme (Phase III) of the Department of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, 15 February 2018.

  • “Community and Culture in and Across Asian Borderlands”. With Dr. Erik de Maaker. Grand Opening of the Asian Library, Leiden, 14 September 2017.

  • Invited discussant for the panel "On the Meanings of Marginalization: Memories, Histories, and Strategies among South Asian Diasporas", for ICAS 10, July 2017 (Chiang Mai, Thailand).

  • "Bengali songs in the Andaman Islands: Imagined and Performed Homeland(s)". South Asia Institute Colloquium, University of Heidelberg, 7 July 2017.

  • “The Performance of Homeland and the Oral Traditions of the Bengali Settlers in the Andaman Islands". Lunch lecture series, International Institute for Asian Studies, IIAS, Leiden, 18 April 2017.

  • “Pregnant males, barren mothers and religious transvestism in Bengali heterodox lineages”. University of Leiden, Netherlands. Invited talk organized by Modern South Asia Seminar. 26 October 2016.

  • “Territory, loss and identity: a displaced Guru as cultural hero for displaced performers”. Vidyamandira College of Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata. Invited lecture organized by Prof. Makbul Islam, Dept of Folklore. 8 September 2014.