Anthony Cerulli

Credentials: Professor of South Asian Studies

Position title: ** On leave academic year 2021-2022 **


Phone: (608) 262-3915

1232 Van Hise Hall

PhD, University of Chicago
MA, Yale University
BA, Loyola University Chicago

ORCiD  Humanities Commons  UW Experts

Research Interests
Anthony Cerulli’s primary field of research is the critical study of medicine, religion, and the body. His past and current projects incorporate ethnography, history, and philology to explain how and why people in south India do things with texts to heal and promote well-being. His research also contributes to the medical and health humanities, and his and photography exhibits and publications explore links between art-making, history, and ethnography.

In the 2021-22, Anthony is the David B. Larson Fellow in Health and Spirituality at the Kluge Center.  His research has also been supported by the Library of Congress Asian Division (2017), Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2015), National Endowment for the Humanities (2021, 2012-13), Institut d’études avancées de Paris (2012-13), European Institutes for Advanced Studies (2012-13), American Council of Learned Societies (2011), and Fulbright-Hays (2004-05). He has been Directeur d’études invité at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris, and he is the Editor of India Review.

Anthony welcomes inquiries and applications from students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in the areas of history of medicine and medical anthropology in South Asia, religion in South Asia, and global medical and health humanities.


  • Books and Edited Volumes

2020, Medicines and Memories in South Asia. Co-edited with Lisa Brooks and Victoria Sheldon. Asian Medicine 15, no. 1.

2018, The Gift in India in Theory and Practice. Co-edited with Miriam Benteler. International Journal of Hindu Studies 22, no. 2.

2013, Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History. Co-edited with Dominik Wujastyk and Karin Preisendanz. New Delhi: Manohar Press.

2012, Somatic Lessons: Narrating Patienthood and Illness in Indian Medical Literature. Albany: State University of New York Press.

  • Articles, Chapters, and Essays

2021, “Pedagogy, Philology, and Procedural Medical Knowledge.” South Asian History and Culture (

2021, “Disease: Discourse and Interpretation in Premodern South Asia.” Religion Compass 15, no. 12 (

2021, “Allegory and History, Life and Embodiment.” In Body and Cosmos: Studies in Early Indian Medical and Astral Sciences in Honor of Kenneth G. Zysk, edited by T. Knudsen, J. Schmidt-Madsen, and S. Speyer, 209-232. Leiden: Brill.

2020, “Epilogue: Healing Concerns in South Asian Texts, Histories, and Societies.” Asian Medicine 15, no. 1: 183-196.

2020, “Introduction: Medicines and Memories in South Asia.” Co-authored with Lisa Brooks and Victoria Sheldon. Asian Medicine 15, no. 1: 3-9.

2020, “Archival Aesthetics: Framing and Exhibiting Indian Manuscripts and Manuscript Libraries.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 43, no. 3: 455-477.

2018, “Politicking Ayurvedic Education.” Asian Medicine 13, no. 1-2: 298-334.

2018, “Gifting Knowledge for Long Life.” International Journal of Hindu Studies 22, no. 2: 235-255.

2018, “The Gift in India in Theory and Practice.” Co-Authored with Miriam Benteler. International Journal of Hindu Studies 22, no. 2: 191-196.

2016, “Body, Self, and Embodiment in the Sanskrit Classics of Āyurveda.” In Refiguring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions, edited by B. Holdrege and K. Pechilis, 59-88. Albany: State University of New York Press.

2016, “Mineral Healing: Gemstone Remedies in Astrological and Medical Traditions.” Co-authored with Caterina Guenzi. In Soulless Matter, Seats of Energy: Metals, Gems and Minerals in South Asian Religions and Culture, edited by Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dähnhardt, 73-93. Sheffield and Bristol, CT: Equinox.

2016, “അവസാനം മലയാളം വായനക്കാർക്ക് ജീവാനന്ദനം എത്തിച്ചേർന്നു.” ആമുഖം – പി. കെ. വി. ആനന്ദ് (ട്രാൻസ്), ജീവാനന്ദനം, 3-9. തൃശ്ശൂർ: കുന്നത്ത് മന ആയുർവേദം പുസ്തകങ്ങൾ.”

2015, “Unpuzzling an Aporia: Theorizing Acts of Ritual and Medicine in South India.” Journal of Ritual Studies 29, no. 2: 25-43.

2015, “Storytelling and Accountability for Illness in Sanskrit Medical Literature.” In Disease, Religion, and Healing in Asia: Collaborations & Collisions, edited by I. Vargas-O’Bryan and Z. Xun, 86-101. London: Routledge.

2014, “Editors’ Introduction: Roundtable on Intellectual Freedom, Vigilantism, and Censorship in India.” Co-authored with Eswaran Sridharan. India Review 13, no. 3: 274-276.

2014, “Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Warring Doctors and Meddling Ministers.” Co-authored with Sarah Berry. Mosaic 47, no. 1: 111-128.

2013, “Mad Scientists, Narrative, and Social Power: A Collaborative Learning Activity.” Co-authored with Sarah Berry. Journal of Medical Humanities 34, no. 4: 451-454.

2013, “Zoroastrianism.” In Religions of the World: An Introduction to Culture and Meaning, edited by Lawrence Sullivan, 283-304. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

2013, “The Joy of Life: Medicine, Politics, and Religion.” In Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History, edited by A. Cerulli, K. Preisendanz, and D. Wujastyk, 159-179. New Delhi: Manohar Press.

2012, “On the Allegorization of Action for Health.” eJournal of Indian Medicine 5, no. 1: 25-35.

2011, “Calculating Fecundity in the Kāśyapa Saṃhitā.” In Health and Religious Rituals in South Asia: Disease, Possession and Healing, edited by Fabrizio Ferrari, 114-126. London: Routledge.

2010, “Āyurveda.” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume II: Texts, Rituals, Arts, and Concepts, edited by K.A. Jacobsen, H. Basu, A. Malinar, V. Narayanan, 267-280. Leiden: Brill (revised online ed., 2013).

2009, “Know Thy Body, Know Thyself: Decoding Knowledge of the Ātman in Sanskrit Medical Literature.” Co-authored with Brahmadathan U.M.T. eJournal of Indian Medicine 2, no. 3: 101-107.

2009, “Narrative Wellbeing: Ānandarāyamakhin’s The Joy of Life (Jīvānandanam).” Indian Journal of History of Science 44, no. 2: 231-246.

2009, “On the Nature of the Patient in Sanskrit Medical Literature.” In Ashtanga Hridaya Sathram, edited by N.K. Mahadevan, 74-77. Kottayam: Sreekrishna Ayurveda Kendra.

2008, “Mental Disease in the Āyurvedadipīkā of Cakrapāṇidatta.” In Navathy Pranamam (essays for V.M.C. Shankaran Namboodiri on his 90th birthday), edited by V.M.D. Namboodiri. Venkitangu: Ullanoor Mana Trust.

Photography Publications and Exhibitions

2020, “Manuscriptistan.” Chazen Museum of Art, Faculty 2020 Exhibition, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI (group exhibit: Jan–Aug, 4 pieces).

2019, “Manuscriptistan.” Kamin Gallery, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (solo exhibit: Sep–Dec, 62 pieces).

2019, “’Manuscript Country’: Landscapes of South Asian Manuscript Libraries” (photo-essay). Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries Blog.

2018, “Manuscriptistan 01” and “Manuscriptistan 04.” Light, 07 (Fall): 10-11.

2011, “കേരളം അനുദിനം/keraḷaṃ anudinaṃ/Kerala Everyday.” The Little Theatre Gallery, Rochester, NY (solo exhibit: Sep–Oct, 20 pieces).

2011, “South India Snaps.” Mercer Gallery (Director’s Choice), Monroe Community College-SUNY, Rochester, NY (solo exhibit: Apr–Jun, 16 pieces).

2010, “Malabari Manorama: Scenes from Kerala.” Demarest Hall Gallery, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY (solo exhibit: Jan–Feb, 25 pieces).


Gateway to Asia: Trek and Encounter (ASIAN 100)
Health and Healing in South Asia (ASIAN 218)
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Asia (ASIAN 655)
Introduction to Buddhism (ASIAN 308)
Introduction to Hinduism (ASIAN 306)
Perfectible Bodies in Religion, Medicine, and Politics (ASIAN 505)
Religion in South Asia (ASIAN 274)

The Mahābhārata
Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
History of Medicine in India