I am a political anthropologist of urban India with degrees in political science, area studies and a PhD in sociology / social anthropology. Since 2017, I work as Lecturer in Social Anthropology & Development at the Department of International Development, King's College London.
Using a distinct mix of ethnographic and Big Data methods grounded in long-term fieldwork, my research explores geographies of Muslim belonging, the ambivalence of the sacred and electoral politics in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (see research interests). I am the author of 'Being Muslim and working for peace: Ambivalence and ambiguity in Gujarat' (SAGE 2013) and have published in journals such as Economic & Political Weekly, Environment and Planning A, Field Methods, the Journal of South Asian Development and SAMAJ (see publications). I have also written research software and curate a comprehensive open dataset on religion and politics in India.
At King's, I teach core development anthropology and mixed methods, act as personal tutor to undergraduates, and supervise postgraduate and research students (see teaching portfolio). I especially welcome PhD proposals that concern popular politics, religion and/or the political economy of contemporary South Asia - please get in touch if you feel this might apply to you. Besides teaching at the Department of International Development, I am also an associate faculty at King's India Institute.
Beyond King's, I collaborate as Senior Research Partner with the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and as Associate of the Contemporary South Asia Studies Program at the University of Oxford.
Until its defense 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, in 2012 as visiting faculty for research methods at SIT Study Abroad in New Delhi and in 2016/17 as Postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. 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 about two days a week. Caring for our children takes time, but also sparks creativity and helps me to resonate better with different 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. And I'd surely much rather put my kids to bed than serving on an all-male panel...
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 research (paid for through a lump sum agreement with Oxford's Social Science Division).
I am currently a member of the German Association for Asian studies (DGA, from 2013-2017 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).
Last but not least: 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 ...