Curriculum Vitae

CareerResearch Grants │ Honours and positions │ Teaching

Professional career

2023 –  
Adjunct Professor, Philosophical Faculty I, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

2020 –  
Director of the Department 'Anthropology of Politics and Governance' at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

2020 –  
Adjunct Professor for Social Anthropology, Leipzig University

2012 – 2020
Professor of Anthropology & Head of Department of Anthropology, University of Leipzig

2008 – 2012
Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney

2007 – 2010
Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Anthropology, School of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney

2002 – 2007
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University Halle

1998 – 2002
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department for Anthropology, University of Heidelberg, in an interdisciplinary project called: “Theatricality as a model in social sciences”, funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation)


Post-doc at the Martin Luther Universty Halle-Wittenberg, Habilitation (post-doc degree), title of the thesis: "Journalistic Practices and the Re-making of Leadership Traditions in India"

PhD in Anthropology at the University of Heidelberg, title of the thesis: "Negotiating the Divine. Temple Religion and Temple Politics in Contemporary India"

Research grants - a selection

2020 – 2022
Partner Investigator on the Australian Research Council Grant, “Life, living and livelihood in Satellite Cities: New Urban forms in India” (Australian Research Council Grant, DP200101306, AU $ 184.342 (application together with principle investigators Tanya Jakimow and Hari Ramaswami)

2020 – 2022
German Research Council Grant, RA 1003/4-1 “Infrastructure and the re-making of Asia through adopting, orchestrating and cooperating”, € 135,106 (application together with Anja Senz, University of Heidelberg)

2020 – 2023
German Research Council Grant on “The role of digital governance for re-spatializing the Indian nation state”, as part of the Collaborate Research Centre (SFB 1199) “Processes of Specialization under the Global Condition”, € 406,560

Honours and positions

Since 2023
Member of Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW)

Since 2023
Member of the German Science and Humanities Council (WR)

Since 2023
Spokesperson International Max Planck Research School ‘Global Multiplicity: A social Anthropology for the Now’

Since 2023
Co-Spokesperson Halle–Leipzig Research Initiative New Global Dynamics: Worlds in Crisis?

Since 2020
Member of the editorial board Series on 'Integration and Conflict Studies', Berghahn Books

Member of the Senat of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Member of the advisory board of the ERC project “Universal Health Coverage and the Public Good in Africa: An Anthropological Study", Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo

Member of the advisory board of the ESRC project “Learning from small cities: Governing imagined futures in India’s smart urban age“, Kings College, University of London 

Since 2012
Member of the editorial board South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

Since 2010
Member of the editorial board of Religion in Society: Advances in Research

Teaching experience

Since 1999, Ursula Rao has continuously taught lectures, seminar and tutorials at the University of Heidelberg, University of Halle, University of New South Wales and University of Leipzig

Introduction to Anthropology / Introduction to Area Studies / Religion, Ritual, Performance / South Asia / Theory in Anthropology / Anthropology of the Senses / Media Anthropology / Visual Anthropology / Globalisation

Political Anthropology / Topics in the Anthropology of India / Topics in Anthropological Theory / Methods in Anthropology / Post-Colonialism / History of Anthropology / Anthropology & Museum

Workshops / Colloquia
PhD Colloquium / Writing workshop: writing a journal article / Writing workshop: How to write a fund application / Student field trip to India Bhopal

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