Close menu Resources for... William & Mary
W&M menu close William & Mary

Mark McLaughlin

Teaching Professor of South Asian Religions

Email: [[mjmclaughlin]]
Office: Wren 312
Interests: South Asian Religions, History and Philosophy of Meditation and Yoga, Sacred Space in South Asia, Tomb and Relic Traditions, Sustainability and Religion

Mark McLaughlin is a Senior Lecturer of South Asian Religions. He holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies with a specialization in South Asian Religions and Sanskrit from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

McLaughlin’s research utilizes sacred space as a lens to better understand lived religion and its philosophical roots. In this regard, he is interested in notions of presence in sacred space, ritual interaction with space, tomb and relic worship, and sacred architecture as an expression of mythico-historical personality of place. He is currently working on a book project that explores the roots of samādhi (Hindu tomb-shrine) burial practice and the development of samādhi worship traditions through a case study of the samādhi mandir of a the 13th-century siddha and Varkari sant, Jñāneśvar Mahārāj in Āḷandī, Maharashtra.

McLaughlin is currently exploring three other directions of research and teaching interest. He has been pioneering the capture and use of 360º video content of sacred space in India to give students an immersive experience of the spaces they are studying by means of Google Cardboard VR headsets (News story about this project here). Additionally, for several years now, McLaughlin has been teaching an experiential course on the biomedicalization of meditation where students practice secular evidence-based meditation techniques while examining the Buddhist and Hindu philosophical perspectives of self that were shaped by these same practices. Lastly, he has been collecting data on the intersectionality of sustainability and religion in India, which he has been engaged with on the ground as the Program Director of the Bengaluru/Goa Summer Abroad Program.

McLaughlin’s current courses include “Introduction to Hinduism,” “Meditation and the Mind,” “Tombs, Temples, and Topography: A Survey of Sacred Space in India,” “Feminine Power and Female Voices in Hindu Traditions,” and “Modern Hinduism.”

  • RELG 213 Introduction to Hinduism
  • RELG 308 Meditation & Wellness
  • RELG 150 Tombs, Temples, and Topography: A Survey of Sacred Space in India
  • RELG 365 Feminine Power and Female Voices in Hindu Traditions
  • RELG 361 Inclusion/Exclusion: Explorations in Modern Hinduism
  • RELG 364 Yoga & Tantra: Histories and Philosophies of Yoga
  • RELG 308 Religious Expression and the Impact of Globalization (India abroad course)