My work interrogates the image of Europe as the geography of science, progress, and liberal values; and the contradictions that follow when different groups or institutions mobilize this image. As such, it stands at the intersection of political anthropology, economic anthropology, the anthropology of the body, and the anthropology of Europe.
A Spiritual Science? Knowledge, Health, and Body in the Anthroposophy Movement
Anthroposophy is a spiritual school founded by Rudolf Steiner in 1912, which he called “a spiritual science.” In founding the Anthroposophical Society, Steiner aimed at bringing together occult knowledge, natural science, and Christianity. In this research project, I approach Anthroposophy ethnographically, as a lived religion, as a way of understanding the world, and as an approach to health and well-being in Germany. I investigate the ways in which this group has been contesting notions of political freedom during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am also interested in how Anthroposophist medical doctors and everyday Anthroposophists negotiate, deliberate, and maybe reconcile science and spirituality.
Pedagogies of Flesh: Sexuality, Race, and Value in the Sex Education of Postcolonial Germany
This project is an ethnography of White German sexual pedagogues in Berlin, a city where ideas of open sexuality and progress are coupled together. Although sex education is mandatory in schools in Germany, it is usually taught by invited NGO professionals who are trained in sexual pedagogy, a discipline with its roots in sexology of the early 20th century. Basing the necessity of their practice and discipline on scientific claims, these “liberal” and “progressive” sexual pedagogues assume a universal knowledge of sexuality. By tracing the connections between sexuality, racialization, and commensuration of value from German colonialism onwards, in this project, I aim to understand how comprehensive sex education that is widely celebrated by liberals may have not so "progressive" effects on the racialization of Islam and Whiteness in present-day Germany.