Anthony Cerulli is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research combines ethnographic, historical, and philological methods to address central issues in the study of religion, such as the nature of ritual, comparitivism, and the politics of religious rhetoric. His work also contributes to the fields of narrative medicine and medical humanities, where, in the American literary context, he has written about the relationship between religion, science, and authority in the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The lion’s share of his work is in South Asian Studies, where he examines associations between Indian religions and healing systems. He is especially interested in how and why people “do things with texts” to heal and sustain wellbeing. To that end, his research looks at the intersections of premodern and modern literary cultures in India at sites of ritual healing, among Hindu communities, and in institutions of medical education.
- historical ethnography about education among contemporary college-educated and traditionally-trained practitioners of Ayurveda and changes in ayurvedic education in India from 1890 to 1975
- translation of a Sanskrit allegory about medicine and the body, Life Delighting (Jīvānandanam)
- photoethnography project—Manuscriptistan—about the aesthetics of manuscripts and archives in India;
- edited volume on physicians and patients in premodern South Asia
- a study of Hanuman’s “medicine journey” to retrieve life-saving herbs in the Sanskrit Ramayana and some of the episode’s iterative lives in South Asia and elsewhere, both premodern and recent, to understand how the story’s multiple retellings have contributed to the survival, transformation, and/or disappearance of healing lore in South Asia
Photography Exhibitions and Publications
2020. “Manuscriptistan.” Chazen Museum of Art, Faculty 2020 Exhibition, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI (Feb–May: 4 pieces, group exhibit).
2019. “Manuscriptistan.” Kamin Gallery, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (solo exhibit: September–December, 62 pieces, solo exhibit).
2019. “‘Manuscript Country’: Landscapes of South Asian Manuscript Libraries” (photo-essay). Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies Blog, University of Pennsylvania Libraries.
2018. “Manuscriptistan 01” and “Manuscriptistan 04.” Light, 07 (Fall).
2011. “കേരളം അനുദിനം/keraḷaṃ anudinaṃ/Kerala Everyday.” The Little Theatre, Rochester, NY (solo exhibit: September–October, 20 pieces).
2011. “South India Snaps.” Mercer Gallery (“Director’s Choice”), Monroe Community College-SUNY (solo exhibit: April–June, 16 pieces).
2010. “Malabari Manorama: Scenes from Kerala.” Demarest Hall, Hobart & William Smith Colleges (solo exhibit: January–February, 25 pieces).