I am a Doctoral Candidate in Social Anthropology (Universität Bielefeld) and Associate of the Contemporary South Asia Studies Programme (University of Oxford). In my research and teaching, I explore Muslim belonging, the ambivalence of the sacred and electoral politics in India; I also sometimes write on Indian diplomacy (see research interests). My diploma thesis analyzed various connections between religious identities and political agency among Muslim peace activists in Gujarat (monograph published by Sage, New Delhi); after a Master's dissertation on India's diplomatic culture (published in Journal of International Relations), my PhD concerns the formation of Muslim identities in Lucknow under the working title "How do strategic discourses combine with personal experiences to form Muslim belonging in a North Indian town? The politics and poetics of belonging" (more on this in my Blog). A spin-off from this is a comprehensive dataset on religion and politics in Uttar Pradesh published under an open license, which enables much more localized statistical analyses than previously possible. Given this diverse set of projects, my publications also frequently stress methodological fundamentals, building on ethnographic, psychometric and spatial data generated during so far 17 months of fieldwork.
Institutionally, my current research is jointly supervised at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (Prof. Pfaff-Czarnecka) and at the Department of Anthropology, University College London (Dr. Michelutti); for field research, I was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Throughout summer 2013, I worked and wrote at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies at the University of Oxford. Earlier, I read political science, sociology and peace and conflict studies (Dipl.-Pol.) at the Universität Marburg from 2004 to 2009, development studies and cultural anthropology at the School for International Training, Jaipur, in 2008 and area studies of contemporary India (M.Sc.) at the University of Oxford from 2009 to 2010. From 2010 to 2011, I worked as part- and later full-time research fellow in comparative politics and international development studies at the Universität Marburg, and in 2012 as visiting faculty for research methods at SIT Study Abroad in New Delhi.
In Marbug and New Delhi, I taught roughly 230 contact hours since 2007, in eight undergraduate classes in comparative politics (on democracy in South Asia) and research methods (on academic skills, fieldwork, and independent study projects) as well as one graduate class in comparative politics (on religion and politics), both German and English medium. In my teaching, I strive to encourage regular academic writing in peer groups to strengthen students' analytical skills (for more detail, see teaching portfolio).
So far, I obtained three Cusanus scholarships (German federal competitive scholarships for 1% top batch), two DAAD scholarships (one returned) and won about 20.000 Euro in additional grants from various bodies (writing and travel grants, data acquisition, transcription costs, etc). I also got computing power allocated at the OSC cluster worth 27.000 Euro in FEC for my UP dataset.
I am currently a member of the German Research Network Religion and Conflict at FEST, the German Association for Asian studies (DGA, since 2013 Spokesperson, Early Career Network, and visiting board member), the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) and the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS).