I am an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. I received a Magister in Ethnologie in 1998 at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), and a PhD from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (USA), in 2006. I taught at Princeton University in 2006 and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Religion and Media at New York University in 2007. In 2012 -2013 I was fellow as the Institut d’Études Avancées de Nantes, France. I have conducted ethnographic field research in Gibraltar, the US, and India on topics including ritual, religious labor, violence, nationalism, and disgust. I am the editor of Violence: Ethnographic Encounters (Berg Press, 2009) and author of Muslimische Heilige in Gujarat: Sufismus, Synkretismus, und Praxis im westlichen Indien (Editio Cortis Aquilae, 2008) and Pogrom in Gujarat: Hindu Nationalism and Anti-Muslim Violence in India (Princeton University Press, 2012).
My current research, in collaboration with John Borneman, concerns the meaning of integration of foreigners following the large entrance of refugees and migrants into Germany in 2015. The research is ethnographic and focuses on the work of “projective identification” in encounters between culturally-identified Germans and the new migrants. How do xenophilic and xenophobic public moods (Stimmungen) change and affect the play of projections? In what way does erotic conflict enter these projections? And how does the experience of this conflict intensify or modify public moods and the experience of integration? Finally, we ask how the new migrants experience “legal certainty” a central concept to the rule of law, and whether or not this experience contributes to the creation of a “holding environment” for them.