My primary field of research is the critical study of medicine, religion, and the body. Some of my past and current projects incorporate ethnographic, historical, and philological methods to explain how and why people in south India “do things with texts” to heal and promote wellbeing. My research also looks at the academic study of Asian medicines in/and the medical and health humanities and explores links between art, aesthetics, and ethnography.
I am also the creator of Manuscriptistan
, a photo-ethnographic art project that probes the aesthetics of Indian manuscript cultures — @manuscriptistan
[Twitter] & @manuscriptistan
My research has been supported by fellowships and awards from several organizations, including the Kluge Center, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, European Institutes for Advanced Study, American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fulbright-Hays Program.
My current projects include a large study tracking the history of Ayurveda in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries and its relationship with American health and spirituality. I continue to study and translate a Sanskrit allegory about medicine, statecraft, and the body (Jīvānandanam
). An article on Hanuman’s “medicine journey” to retrieve life-saving herbs in the Sanskrit Ramayana
and some of the episode’s iterative lives in South Asia and elsewhere is forthcoming in a book on medicine and religion in Asia. I continue to exhibit and publish work from my photo-ethnography project (Manuscriptistan) on the aesthetics of manuscript archives in India. And finally, I am also the Editor of India Review
and an Associate Editor of Asian Medicine