Amanda J. Lucia is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where she is a Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Immigration and Religion. Her research focuses on religious encounters between North Americans and South Asians since the early-19th century. Her first book, Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (2014) investigates a contemporary guru movement (that of Mata Amritanandamayi) through the ethnographic accounts of devotees. Dr. Lucia’s research interests include guru authority and sexuality, and the politics of cultural representation. Her current book project, Spiritual Nomads: Creating Yogic Selves and Spirituality in Festival Spaces is a study of American spirituality through yoga festivals. We spoke mainly about her research on Amma, the so-called “Hugging Saint,” and what it reveals about contemporary spirituality, guru-disciple relationships and other phenomena. Learn more about Amanda Lucia here: