Stephan Kloos is a medical anthropologist (PhD 2010, UC San Francisco & Berkeley) specialized on Sowa Rigpa, also known as Tibetan medicine. He serves as the acting director of the Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
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 Kloos has published extensively on Tibetan, Himalayan and Mongolian medicine. 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 is interested in developing a new, integrative approach to health and medicine, considering Asian medicines as dynamic and innovative industries rather than “traditional culture.” As Asian medicines are undergoing an unprecedented industrial revolution, Sowa Rigpa can provide a particularly illustrative perspective not only on this huge, barely-understood process, but also on Asia’s political and economic transformation, and global shifts in healthcare.