I am a political anthropologist of urban India with degrees in political science, area studies and a PhD in sociology / social anthropology. Currently, I work as Postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity; since 2010, I also have a second institutional home as an Associate of the Contemporary South Asia Studies Program at the University of Oxford. In my research and teaching, I explore geographies of Muslim belonging, the ambivalence of the sacred and electoral politics in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (see research interests and teaching portfolio). Throughout, I am intrigued by the resilience of individual diversity in the face of groupism, which I explore through ethnographic, psychometric, spatial and statistical data generated in so far 18 months of fieldwork. I have also written research software, work with journalists (e.g. here or here) and collaborate in open data initiatives.
Until its defence in 2015, my PhD 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. From 2010 to 2011, I worked as 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.
As a working dad, I have experimented with various part-time arrangements over the last years, and currently work flexible from home three days a week. Caring for our two children takes time, but also sparks creativity and helps me to resonate better with diverse life worlds - a key ethnographic skill. I thus came to appreciate the role of mothers, fathers and a generally more diverse faculty in producing knowledge about society, and strive to establish family-friendly parameters wherever I am in a capacity to do so: I don't teach at evenings, arrange childcare when organizing events (e.g. here), and consider non-academic experience when recruiting students and choosing collaborators.
To fund my work, I have 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 20.000 Euro in additional grants from various institutions (writing and travel grants, data acquisition, transcription costs, etc) and got computing power allocated at the ARC cluster worth 39.000 Euro in FEC for my Big Data work (paid for through a lump sum agreement with the Social Science Division).
In terms of professional bodies, 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).
Oh, and if all the above sounds a bit braggy for your taste (as it does, sometimes, for mine), each CV has its (not-so-)secret shadow CV ...