Social and Cultural Anthropology

Prof. Dr. Karin Polit

Director of the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Universität Tübingen
Abteilung für Ethnologie
Burgsteige 11
72070 Tübingen




Room: 128

Office hours, inquiries and deadlines

Office hours in the Winter term 2023/24 will be held on Tuesday from 10:00 - 12:00.
You can sign up for them via the plattform.

For written inquiries, please note the following:

As of now, only requests sent from your university email address will be processed, unfortunately emails from other addresses often disappear. Please note that emails cannot be answered on weekends. Since I receive a lot of emails, it is advisable to send your email on a working day between 07:00 and 18:00, otherwise it might get lost.

I will answer your emails usually by Thursdays 10:00. If I have not replied by then, please feel free to contact me again.

In very urgent cases, you are welcome to write to Ms. Arold, who will then forward your request to me.

I kindly ask you to address only content-related questions, requests for expert opinions and letters of reference, and questions concerning my courses or the supervision of mobility semesters and theses directly to me. All other questions should be directed to the departmental or general academic advisor.

The deadline for all assignments is always the end of the current semester, i.e. March 30 for the winter semester and September 30 for the summer semester. In order to ensure that your work is processed as quickly as possible, from now on no work will be accepted that is submitted after this deadline unless otherwise agreed upon.



Research topics

  • The global hierarchy of value and the circulation of ideas, goods and aesthetic regimes related to cultural heritage, ritual and religion.
  • Education, Work and Art in Resistance to Global and Local Inequalities (In collaboration with Prof. Gabriele Alex, University of Tübingen and Imre Kertész Kolleg, University of Jena)
  • Religion, Ritual, Performance
  • Stress, education and teen suicide in India
  • Media and Youth Culture in New Delhi
  • Gender (violence, medicine, reproduction, youth)
  • Medical anthropology (new technologies - mental health - violence)
  • Mourning for own reproduction when children die early - USA, Europe, India, Japan (in cooperation with Prof. Harish Naraindas, JNU, New Delhi)

Since 04/2018

at the Department of Anthropology, University of Tübingen

Venia Legendi Award in Anthropology

at University of Heidelberg


University of Heidelberg

Topic: "Ethnographic Reflections on Practices of Gender and Agency among Dalit Women in the Central Himalayas"

Magister Artium Anthropology
Bachelor of Arts Anthropology

at James Cook University, North Queensland, Australia



When Gods set out to wander: The value of art, heritage and ritual in Uttarakhand, India. (Habilitation thesis, submitted in April 2015. Faculty of Behavioural and Empirical Social Sciences, University of Heidelberg). New York: Oxford University Press.

Fieldwork in South Aisa, Special Issue 'The Oriental Anthropologist', Vol. 14 (1) .

Keep My Share of Rice in the Cupboard : ethnographic reflections on practices of gender and agency among Dalit women in the Central Himalayas. Heidelberg: Universitätsbibliothek der Uni Heidelberg. URL:


(with C. Brosius Ed.). Youth in South Asia. Special Issue. The International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies.

(with H. Walsdorf Hg.) Rituelle und Performative Lernkulturen. Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz.

(with G. Alex Ed.) Childbirth and its Accompanying Rituals. Draupadi: Heidelberg.


Gifts of love and friendship: On changing marriage traditions, the meaning of gifts and the value of women in the Garhwal Himalays. In Journal of Hindu Studies.

Educational Stress and suicidal behavior among young middle class students in North India. In: Christiane Brosius und Karin Polit (Hg.) Youth in South Asia. Special Issue. The International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies.

Rituelles Lernen in ritueller Praxis: Kinästhetisch-mimetisches Lernen am Beispiel nordindischer Ritualpraktiken. In: Karin Polit und Hanna Walsdorf (Hg.). Rituelle und Performative Lernkulturen. Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz.


When Gods set out to wander: the divine pilgrimage oft he godking „Jakh“ in the Central Himalayas. 59min, (Kamera, Regie, Konzept: K.Polit; Schnitt: S. Ewald und F. Pfeiffer)

Jugendkulturen in Indien und deren Rituale. 4,12 min. (Konzept, Mitarbeit und Protagonist: K.Polit – in Zusammenarbeit mit F. Pfeiffer und C. Bertolo, Universität Heidelberg)


Doctoral students

  • Sarah Ewald „Acts of resistance in the every-day life of the conflict zone Kashmir“ [link]
  • Poonam Kamath „Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Infertility and Women’s Bodies: A Feminist Perspective“ [link]
  • Margarita Lipatova „“An ethnography of European refugee camp: structural violence in the ´refugee regime´” (in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle)
  • Uzma Falak Mehraj “Army cordons, how shall the songbird fly?”: Women’s Songs as Archives of State Violence and Resistance in Kashmir
  • Eric Schwabach "National Heritage and Local Meanings: An Ethnography of Kedarnath's temples"
  • Reyhan Özşahin „We Women are transforming marriage and everything else!“ A study of the transformation of marriage practices in a Shaybaseine Kurdish community.
  • Ana Clara Alves de Oliveira "The Aesthetics of Desire: a Study of the Construction of Female Orientalist Stereotypes in the Photographic Collection of Pierre de Gigord."


Doctoral thesis successfully defended:

Pallabi Roy „Locating Childlessness in India“ (Ko-Betreuung mit Prof. Gabriele Alex, Universität Tübingen)

Gaurav Lamichhane „Involuntarily Childlessness in Nepal: plural healing practices, masculinity, maleinfertility, and healing journeys of Nepali men“ [link]


winter term 2019/20

Forschungsmethodik: Input

Planning & preparation mobility semesters

The Experiences of Caste in Contemporary India

Einführung in Theorien und Methoden der Ethnologie

Politik- und Religionsethnologie

summer term 2019

Forschung & Anwendung: 360° Videografie in der Ethnologie

Forschung/Anwendung : Atmosphäre und Affekt

winter semester 2018/19

Politik und Religionsethnologie

Planning and preparation of mobility semesters

summer term 2018

Title: Kolloquium-BA
Module: BA-11-1

Title: Digital Ethnography
Module: MA-06-1 / MA-04

Title: Kolloquium-MA
Module: MA-09

winter term 2016/17

Title: Forschungsmethodik Input
Module: BA-07-2

Title: Forschungsmethodik Praxis 2
Module: BA-07-2

Title: Forschungsmethodik Praxis 3
Module: BA-07-2

prior terms

SuSe 2016

Die Ethnologie Kaschmirs (Heidelberg)

Nov 2015

Medical Technology (JNU Delhi)

WS 2015/16

Health and Social Structure in South Asia (Heidelberg)

WS 2015/16

Performances of Healing in South Asia (Heidelberg)

WS 2015/16

Anthropological Writing and Research Methods (Public Health, Heidelberg)

SuSe 2015

Reproductive Loss, Technology and Bereavement (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2015

Einführung in die Medizinethnologie (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2015

Anthropology of Violence (Heidelberg)

WS 2014/15

VL Einführung in die Medizinethnologie (Münster)


Social Structure (Theories of Class, Caste and Social Stratification) (Münster)

WS 2014/15

Regionalseminar: Performance Cultures in South Asia (Münster)

WS 2014/15

Master Thesis Kolloquium (Münster)

WS 2014/15

Medical Anthropology Theories and Methods (Public Health, Heidelberg)

SuSe 2014

New Medical Technologies (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2014

The Anthropology of Mental Health and Structural Violence, mit Exkursion nach Buchenwald (HD)

SuSe 2014

Einführung in die Medizinethnologie (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2014

Master Thesis Kolloquium (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2014

Doktoranden Kolloquium (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2014

The Anthropology of Structural Violence and Mental Health (Heidelberg)


Anthropologie der Gewalt und psychischen Gesundheit (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2010

Reproduktive Gesundheitstechnologien (Lehrauftrag an der Uni Tübingen)

SuSe 2010

Modul Cultural Anthropology and Arts Therapy (In Zusammenarbeit mit der katholischen Hochschule Freiburg und der Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen)

SuSe 2010

Youth and Media (mit Prof C. Brosius)

SuSe 2010

Feldforschung: Vorbereitung für M.A. Studierende (Lehrauftrag an der Uni Münster)

SuSe 2009

Youth in South Asia (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2008

Theateranthropologie (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2008 08.Juli – 08. August summer school

moving images and media rituals (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2007

mit Martin Kunz – Seminar und Lehrforschung mit Studierenden zum Thema Entwicklungsethnologie in Delhi und dem Zentral Himalaya. (Heidelberg und Delhi)

SuSe 2007

Theorien zu Gender und Feminismus: Körper, Praktiken und Stereotypen in Südasien (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2007

Ritual und Theater (Heidelberg)

WS 2006/07

Theories of Gender and Feminism: Bodies, Practices and Stereotypes in South Asia (Heidelberg)

SuSe 2005

Theorien zu Gender und Agency anhand der Ethnographie Nordindiens (Heidelberg)