I am a political anthropologist of urban India (with degrees in political science, area studies and a PhD in sociology / social anthropology) and currently work as an Associate of the Contemporary South Asia Studies Program at the University of Oxford. In my research and teaching, I explore Muslim belonging, the ambivalence of the sacred and electoral politics in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh; I have also written on Indian diplomacy (see research interests). Throughout, I am intrigued by the resilience of individual diversity in the face of groupism, a theme in many of my publications that I explore through ethnographic, psychometric, spatial and statistical data generated in so far 18 months of fieldwork.
Over the last years, my PhD by publication was jointly supervised at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (Prof. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka) and the Department of Anthropology, University College London (Dr. Lucia Michelutti); during fieldwork, I was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; throughout summer 2013, I wrote a first draft at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford. 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. 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.
Since 2007, I taught roughly 230 contact hours in Marburg and New Delhi, in the fields of comparative politics, research methods and academic skills, both German and English medium. Most classes have been independently evaluated and received excellent feedback. I have also designed curricula in international development studies (graduate level) and methods training (undergraduate level), and co-supervised undergraduate students' fieldwork projects. In my teaching, I regularly include academic writing and peer editing exercises to strengthen the analytical skills of my students (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 a write-up grant from the Bielefeld Young Researchers' Fund. My paper on the "Wazirganj Terror Attack" presented at AAS 2014 won the SAC Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper. I also obtained about 15.000 Euro in additional grants from various bodies (writing and travel grants, data acquisition, transcription costs, etc) and got computing power allocated at the ARC cluster worth 32.500 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 as spokesperson of the Early Career Network and visiting board member), the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) and the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS).