Curriculum Vitae

Leilah Vevaina received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the New School for Social Research in 2015. She has an MA in Anthropology from The New School (2007) as well as an MA in Social Thought from New York University (2005). Her research lies in the intersection of urban property and religious life within the legal regimes of contemporary India. She has conducted fieldwork in Mumbai, India and Hong Kong, with specific focus on the Indian Zoroastrian, or Parsi, community, with generous support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation as well as the American Institute of Indian Studies. Her book manuscript entitled, “Trust Matters: Religious Endowments, Parsis & Property in Mumbai” focuses on religious endowments and the trust as a mechanism of property management in the city.

In addition to her focus on Zoroastrian global philanthropic networks, Leilah is researching Zoroastrian death rituals and their legal and funerary infrastructures. Two articles have been published in early 2018 in Modern Asian Studies and in Political and Legal Anthropology Review. Each piece further develops the ways in which the public charitable trust structures debates over urban religious practices: the relationship of a community to its poorer members, and the rights of women who transgress religious custom, respectively. She has published an article on the current state of the Zoroastrian funerary grounds in Mumbai entitled, “Excarnation & the City: The Tower of Silence Debates in Mumbai”, as part of the edited volume, Topographies of Faith: Religion in Urban Spaces, 2014.

Research projects


Contributions to a Collected edition

Vevaina, L. (2019). Adjudicating the sacred: The fates of “Native” religious endowments in India and Hong Kong. In P. van der Veer, & K. Dean (Eds.), The secular in South, East, and Southeast Asia (pp. 261-285). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Link

Vevaina, L. (2015). Good thoughts, good words, and good (trust) deeds: Parsis, risk, and real estate in Mumbai. In P. van der Veer (Ed.), Handbook of religion and the Asian city: Aspiration and urbanization in the twenty-first century (pp. 152-167). California: University of California Press. Link

Journal Articles

Vevaina, L. (2018). Good Deeds: Parsi trusts from ‘the womb to the tomb’. Modern Asian Studies, 52(1), 238-265. Link

Vevaina, L. (2018). She's come undone: Parsi women's property and propriety under the law. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 41(1), 44-59. Link

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