Stephan Kloos is a medical anthropologist (PhD 2010, UC San Francisco & Berkeley) specialized on Asian health industries. He is a senior researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, where he also serves as the acting director of the Institute for Social Anthropology.
Since 2001, Stephan has continuously conducted internationally funded research projects on the sociocultural, political, and economic dynamics of Sowa Rigpa’s development in the 20th and 21st centuries. From 2014-19, he led the ERC Starting Grant RATIMED to document and study the emergence of a transnational Sowa Rigpa industry.
Stephan has published extensively on Sowa Rigpa, the family of Tibetan, Himalayan and Mongolian medicines. He contributed to scholarship on nationalist movements, postcolonial science, and global health, introducing the terms “pharmaceutical assemblage” and “humanitarianism from below.” His work has been covered in, and informed, numerous international media and press reports.
Currently, Stephan Kloos is developing a new, integrative approach to health and medicine, considering Asian medicines as dynamic and innovative industries rather than “traditional culture.” Amidst far-reaching shifts in healthcare globally, Asian medical industries emerge as a major player both in and beyond Asia. It is therefore crucial to understand how these industries operate and develop, what interests drive them, and which role they play in local/global healthcare systems and in Asia’s political/economic transformations.