Leslie Orr, PhD
Professor, Religions and Cultures
Leslie Orr joined the Department of Religion at Concordia in 1991. Her research interests include the religious and social history of medieval Tamil Nadu; women in pre-colonial South Asia; devadasis; temple architecture, iconography and epigraphy; the interaction of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam; the history of South Indian sectarian movements; and colonial/ missionary Indology. Her current research projects include "South Indian Inscriptions: Media, Messages, and Mobilizations" and, with ArchanaVenkatesan, Anna Seastrand, and Crispin Branfoot, “The Navatirupatis and Vaishnava temple-networks in South India.”She is the author of the book Donors, Devotees and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu (NY: Oxford University Press, 2000), and co-editor with A. Luithle-Hardenberg and J. Cort of Co-operation, Contribution and Contestation: The Jaina community, British Rule and Occidental Scholarship from the 18th to early 20th century (Berlin: EB Verlag, forthcoming).
Religious and social history of medieval Tamil Nadu
Women in pre-colonial South Asia
Temple architecture, iconography and epigraphy
Interaction of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam
History of South Indian sectarian movements
Colonial/ missionary Indology
Temple-building, record-keeping, and history-making in Tamil Nadu
Women, Gender, and Sexuality
“Chiefly Queens: Local Royal Women as Temple Patrons in the Late Chola Period” in The Archaeology of Bhakti: Royal Bhakti,Local Bhakti, ed. E.Francis & C. Schmid, Pondichéry: Institut Français de Pondichéry / Ecolefrançaise d'Extrême-Orient, 2016
“Non-Wives and Their Networks in Medieval Tamilnadu,” in Looking Within/ Looking Without: Exploring Households in theSubcontinent through Time, ed. Kumkum Roy. New Delhi: Primus Books, 2014
“The Sacred Landscape of Tamil Saivism: Plotting Place inthe Realm of Devotion,” in Mapping the Chronology of Bhakti: Milestones, Stepping Stones, and Stumbling Stones, ed. Valérie Gillet. Pondichéry: Institut Français de Pondichéry / Ecole françaised'Extrême-Orient, 2014
"The Medieval Murukan: The Place of a God among his Tamil Worshippers," in Hindu Ritual at the Margins: Transformations, Innovations, Reconsiderations, L. Penkower and T. Pintchman, ed. University of South Carolina Press, 2013.
"Orientalists, Missionaries and Jains: The South Indian Story." in The Madras School of Orientalism: Producing Knowledge in Colonial South India. T.R. Trautmann, ed. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009.
"Cholas, Pandyas, and 'Imperial Temple Culture' in Medieval Tamilnadu." in The Temple in South Asia. Adam Hardy, ed. London: British Academy, 2007.
"People of the Festival." Co-authored with Richard H. Davis, in Melanges tantriques a la memoire d'Helene Brunner/Tantric Studies in Memory of Helene Brunner. D. Goodall and A. Padoux, eds. Pondicherry: Ecole francaise d'extreme-orient/Institut francais de Pondichery, 2007.
"Domesticity and Difference/Women and Men: Religious Life in Medieval Tamilnadu." in Women's Lives, Women's Rituals in the Hindu Tradition. Tracy Pintchman, ed. NY: Oxford University Press, 2007.
"Identity and Divinity: Boundary-Crossing Goddesses in Medieval Tamilnadu." in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion 73:1 (2005), 9-43.
Recent graduate seminars and reading courses
Religion and Art in South and Southeast Asia (2015-2016)
Jain and Buddhist Attitudes to Non-violence (2015-16)
"Scripture" in Buddhist and Hindu Traditions (2013-14)
Women and Hinduism (2012-13 and 2014-15)
Cosmologies of India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism (2010-11)
Social History of Indian Religions (2009-10)