I received my Phd degree at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin. Following my interest in the changing perceptions and uses of medical products as they move through the conditions of globalization, for my PhD fieldwork I examined the political and social transitions that happen in the transfer of the traditional antimalarial medicinal plant Artemisia annua L. from China to Tanzania. Malaria in Tanzania became a lens for exploring local and global health governance. Based on thirteen months of ethnographic research, I scrutinized why health levels have stagnated due to poverty as well as policy and global power relations, and critically revealed the dialectics and reciprocities between different actors and their relationship to existing influential reference systems (such as the WHO, the pharmaceutical industry).
Since 2008 I am a research fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Berlin as well as an associate member of its cluster Medical Anthropology.
Between 2011 and 2014 I conducted a research project in collaboration with the NGO “World Doctors”, the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Berlin, and the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar. The project aims to develop a productive relationship between Zanzibar´s traditional and biomedical health care system in order to improve access to, and quality of, health services for the clients of both systems.
Since 2015 I am a postdoctoral fellow with the ERC-funded project GLOBHEALTH at Cermes3 in Paris. My current research project aims to contribute to the understanding of health and medical practices as they are configured by the dynamics of transnational mobility; specifically, it will examine the “South-South” circulation of traditional Asian medical practices, substances, and procedures between India and Tanzania.
In 2015 I became an ERC-funded Postdoctoral Fellow with GLOBHEALTH at the Cermes3 in Paris (Centre de recherche médecine, sciences, santé, santé mentale, société). My research project is part of the project component “Globalizing Therapeutic Techniques and Industrial Products in Asian Medicine”. It explores East African-Asian interactions and their transformative potential in regard to health.
In 2017 I started my DFG-funded project that investigates the transformation of the traditional healthcare sector in Zanzibar, including the changing roles of healers as a consequence of globalization and the transposition of biomedical technology.
Global health governance; social inequality and medicine; anthropology of pharmaceuticals; traditional medicine; HIV/AIDS and malaria, migration and health
Research Area (s)
East Africa (Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Ethiopia); India
2017. “From coastal to global: The transnational flow of Ayurveda and its relevance for Indo-African linkages“. Global Public Health (1-16), DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2017.1281328
2010. „The rise to prominence of Artemisia annua L. – the transformation of a Chinese plant to a global pharmaceutical. African Sociological Review 14 (2): 24-46.
Monographs and Edited Volumes
2014. „Notions of efficacy around a Chinese medicinal plant: Artemisia annua – an innovative AIDS-therapy in Tanzania“. In: Van Dijk, R., H. Dilger, M. Burchardt and T. Rasing (Eds.): Religion and AIDS-Treatment in Africa: Saving Souls, Prolonging Lives. London u.a.: Ashgate: 271-295.
Chapters in Edited Book
in Print: Artemisia annua and Grassroots Responses to Health Crises in Rural Tanzania. In: T. Aftab, M. Naeem, and M. Masroor A. Khan, Artemisia annua: prospects, Applications and Therapeutic Uses, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida.
2014. „Notions of efficacy around a Chinese medicinal plant: Artemisia annua – an innovative AIDS-therapy in Tanzania“. In: Van Dijk, R., H. Dilger, M. Burchardt und T. Rasing (Hrsg.): Religion and AIDS-Treatment in Africa: Saving Souls, Prolonging Lives. London u.a.: Ashgate: 271-295.
2014. Together with Mustafa Abdalla, Anika König, Dominik Mattes, Ursula Probst, Britta Rutert, Judith Schühle, Nasima Selim. Conference report on the 5th Annual Medical Anthropology Young Scholars Meeting, 4-5 July 2014, Freie Universität Berlin. In: Medicine, Anthropology, Theory. 1. Dezember 2014
Together with H. Dilger and T. Nienstedt 2012. Bridging gaps in health care and healing: Traditional medicine and the biomedical health care sector in Zanzibar. Freie Universität Berlin. ISBN: 978-3-00-040272-2.
Conference Presentations (since 2007)
2015. From coastal to global: Circulation of Ayurveda between India and Tanzania. Poster-Presentation. Globhealth Inaugural Conference: From International to Global: Knowledge, Diseases and the Postwar Government of Health. Bierville, France.
2014. Global health governance and malaria: A case study from Tanzania. Working group Medical Anthropology, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
2013. Medicine, power and mobility in global contexts: Malaria in Tanzania. Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
2013. The rise to prominence of Artemisia annua L.: Transformation of a Chinese plant to a global pharmaceutical. Anthropology research group on Eastern Medicines and Religions, Oxford, United Kingdom.
2012. Notions of efficacy and innovative AIDS therapies in Tanzania. 15th Anniversary Conference of the Work Group Medical Anthropology, Vienna, Austria.
2012. Crossing borders with(in) medicine: Dialectic efficacy-constructions of an antimalarial-plant. Annual Conference of the American Anthropological Association, San Fransicso, USA.
2012. Bridging gaps in health care and healing: Traditional medicine and the biomedical health care sector in Zanzibar. Ministry of Health Zanzibar, Stone Town, Zanzibar.
2012. Treatment-seeking behavior for malaria in Tanzania – Uncertainty and trust in medicines and therapeutic techniques. Annual Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Nanterre University, Paris, France.
2012. The rise to prominence of Artemisia annua L.: Transformation of a Chinese plant to a global pharmaceutical. La mondialisation de la santé et du medicament au XXe siècle: saviors, industrie, regulation, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France.
2012. Engagements of healers and anthropologists in processes of recognition. Working group Medical Anthropology, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
2011. Social life of medical technologies and pharmaceuticals. Panel chair together with Claire Beaudevin (Cermes3). Annual meeting of Medical Anthropologists Young Scholars, University of Warsaw, Poland.
2010. Health Politics in an Interconnected World. An International Essay Competition of the Irmgard Coninx Foundation, the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), and Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany.
2010. Artemisinin-basierte Therapien im Spannungsfeld von lokaler Aneignung und globalen (Macht-)Strukturen [Artemisinin-based therapies in the context of local appropriation processes and global power structures]. Annual Meeting of the NGO Anamed e.V., Stuttgart, Germany.
2010. Medicating crisis: The rise to prominence of Artemisia annua L. – the transformation of a Chinese plant to a global pharmaceutical. Annual Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Maynooth, Ireland.
2010. Gesundheit global. Forschungen zu Kultur und Medizin [Global health. Research on culture and medicine]. Long Night of Science, the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
2009. Developmental effects of fair trade. Conference on development policy, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin, Germany.
2009. Self-reliant treatment for malaria in developing countries. German Agro Action, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
2009. Development policy issues on health in East-Africa. Centre for Rural Development (SLE), Berlin, Germany.