Lola Williamson’s research centers on Hinduism in the United States with an emphasis on yoga and meditation movements. She founded the Hinduism in America Consultation of the American Academy of Religion. Her book, Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion (New York University Press, 2010) uses Self-Realization Fellowship, Transcendental Meditation, and Siddha Yoga as case studies to argue that these and similar groups form a distinct category of new religion. Williamson is currently working on an edited volume with Ann Gleig called Homegrown Gurus: From Hinduism in America to American Hinduism.
Lola completed a PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Languages and Cultures of Asia with a focus on South Asia, particularly Hinduism and early Buddhism. She now teaches at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where she also directs the Peace Studies interdisciplinary minor. Further information can be found at her institutional website here.
Chapter: “Hindus in the United States” in Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, and Political History. Xiojian Zhao, ed. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011.
Chapter co-authored with Devparna Roy: “The Changing Face of Indian Hindu Identity in Mississippi” in Ethnic Heritage in Mississippi. Shana Walton, ed. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.
Book: Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. New York: New York University Press, 2010.
Chapter: “Death is Not Final: Attitudes toward Dying, Death and Medicalization among American Hindus” in Religion, Death, and Dying in America. Lucy Bregman, ed. New York: Praeger Press, 2009.
Invited article: “An Ethnographic Study of Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements in America” in Swadharma: Harvard’s Hinduism Journal, Volume II, May 2007. Issue title: Hinduism in America: A Study in Adaptation and Diversity.
Chapter: “The Perfectibility of Perfection: Siddha Yoga as a Global Movement” in Gurus in America. Thomas Forsthoefel and Cynthia Humes, eds. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2005.
Yearning to Belong: Discovering a New Religious Movement by John Paul Healy, Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, 2011 (Vol. 2, issue 1).
A History of Modern Yoga by Elizabeth De Michelis, Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, 2010 (Vol. 1, issue 2).
Compassionate Action by Chatral Rinpoche, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 34, issue 3, September 2008.
Silence Unheard: Deathly Otherness in Patañjala Yoga by Yohanna Grinshpon, Journal of Asian Studies, Feb. 2004 (Vol. 63, no. 1).
The Integrity of the Yoga Darshana by Ian Whicher, Journal of Asian Studies, Aug. 2002 (Vol. 61, no. 3).