Short Bio

Roman Sieler has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University (2011) as well as experience in development cooperation in the field of health in South Asia. For his doctoral thesis, he has conducted research on secrecy and transmission of varmakkalai, a manual medico-martial tradition in the South of Tamil Nadu and sub-discipline of Siddha medicine. A revised version of his dissertation has been published by Oxford University Press in 2015 as Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets: Medicine and Martial Arts in South India. Roman currently is employed as a fulltime researcher at the Collaborative Research Center 1070 “RessourceCultures”. His current research interests include Siddha medicine, South Indian variants of Muslim medicine and the transmission and practice of non-institutionalised forms of health care in India, from ethnographic and ethnohistorical perspectives.



PhD in Anthropology, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.
Dissertation: Lethal Spots – Vital Secrets: Varmakkalai, a South Indian Healing/Martial Art. Supervisors: William S. Sax and Gabriele Alex.
Revised version published 2015 by Oxford University Press, New York.

11/ 2006
M.A. in Anthropology at South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.
Thesis: Unberührbare Körper: Ethnologische Überlegungen zu Kaste und Embodiment (Untouchable Bodies: Anthropological notes on Caste and Embodiment), published online by Heidelberg University.



Since September 2017
Postdoctoral Researcher, Collaborative Research Center “ResourceCultures”, Tübingen University.

8/2016 – 8/2017
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.

3/2014 – 8/2016
Assistant Professor and Course Coordinator, Master of Arts ‘Health and Society in South Asia’, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University.

4/2012 – 3/2014
Postdoctoral Researcher at Dept. of Social Sciences, Institut Français de Pondichéry (French Institute of Pondicherry), India.

3/2011 – 3/2012
Associate Lecturer at Tübingen and Heidelberg.

August 2008 – November 2011
Affiliate Doctoral Researcher at the French Institute of Pondicherry, India.

January 2007 – December 2007
Intern for Monitoring and Research, Swiss Red Cross Society, as part of Tsunami rehabilitation efforts in South India for interpretation, translation, and surveys on Water and Sanitation.

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