I am an anthropologist interested in tracing contemporary political, economic, cultural and environmental developments in Asia through a critical focus on the domain of health and medicine. While much of my research takes place in South and Inner Asia and grew out of a critical engagement with Tibetan medicine, I have consistently applied a broader comparative and theoretical perspective. Among other things, I have worked on exile and nationalism, cultural heritage, Tibetan environmentalism, Buddhist engagements with capitalism, Asian medical industries, postcolonial science, pharmaceutical assemblages, humanitarianism from below, and Global Health.
I am a senior researcher and the deputy director at the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA) in Vienna, and have led the institute as acting director from 2019 to 2023. I hold a PhD from the Universities of California, San Francisco and Berkeley (UCSF & UCB), and a Habilitation (professorial qualification) in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Vienna, where I regularly teach. Before joining ISA, I was a research fellow at the French Institute of Pondicherry (India) and worked for the international NGO Nomad RSI.
Since 2001, I have continuously led and conducted competitively funded, international research projects, including an ERC Starting Grant (RATIMED) from 2014-2019. My research has been published in major journals (e.g. Current Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Social Science & Medicine, EASTS) and publishing houses (Duke University Press, Routledge), and covered in numerous national and international media reports. Currently, I am working on a monograph that explores Tibetan engagements with nationalism, capitalism, and the world through the prism of Tibetan medicine and its emergence as an industry.