I study and teach courses about medicine, religion, and the body, often with a focus on history and culture in South Asia. I incorporate ethnographic, historical, and philological methods in my research, and the questions and problems I address contribute to conversations in the medical and health humanities.

I am also the creator of Manuscriptistan, a photo-ethnographic art project that probes the aesthetics of Indian manuscript cultures — @manuscriptistan [Twitter] & @manuscriptistan [IG] — and the relationships of art, artmaking, and ethnography.

Some of the organizations that have supported my research include the Guggenheim Foundation, Kluge Center, NEH, ACLS, European Institutes for Advanced Study, and Fulbright-Hays.


Ph.D., University of Chicago
M.A., Yale University
B.A., Loyola University Chicago

Work Shared in CORE

Book chapters
Book sections

Other Publications


Books & Edited Volumes

  • 2022. The Practice of Texts: Education and Healing in South India. Oakland: University of California Press (Luminos Open Access).

  • 2020. Time, Continuity, and Rupture: 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. SUNY Series in Hindu Studies. Albany: State University of New York Press (ACLS Fulcrum ebook).

Articles, Chapters, Essays

  • 2023. “Religion and Medicine in Sanskrit Literature: The Rāmāyaṇa and the Politics of an Epic Plant.” In Situating religion and medicine in Asia: Methodological insights and innovations, edited by Michael Stanley-Baker, 165–197. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

  • 2023. “Shaping the Study of South Asia: The Annual Conference on South Asia at UW–Madison.” Co-authored with Sarah Beckham and Andrea Fowler. In Wisconsin in the World: Internationalization at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, edited by Elise Ahn 293–300. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.

  • 2022. “Vies et renaissances des manuscrits en Asie du Sud.” Le Bulletin des Belles Lettres 2022, nº3, “Science si humaine” (November), 18–23. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

  • 2022. “L’art dans l’archive: Manuscrits dans l’histoire de l’Inde.” In L’Arthaśāstra. Introduction et extraits par Marinette Dambuyant et photographies et postface par Anthony Cerulli, 251–268. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

  • 2021. “Pedagogy, Philology, and Procedural Medical Knowledge.” South Asian History and Culture 13, no. 1: 135–155.

  • 2021. “Disease: Discourse and Interpretation in Premodern South Asia.” Religion Compass 15, no. 12: 1–10.

  • 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, Toke Knudsen, Jacob Schmidt-Madsen, and Sara Speyer (eds.), 209–232. Leiden: Brill.

  • 2021. “Manuscriptistan 18.” In Sosio-ekologi kelapa laut by Firuza Begham Binti Mustafa. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

  • 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.

  • 2018. Manuscriptistan 01” and “Manuscriptistan 04.” Light: A Journal of Photography and Poetry 7 (Fall): 10–11.

  • 2016. “Body, Self, and Embodiment in the Sanskrit Classics of Ayurveda.” In Refiguring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions, Barbara Holdrege and Karen Pechilis (eds.), 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, Fabrizio Ferrari and Thomas Dähnhardt (eds.), 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, I. Vargas-O’Bryan and Z. Xun (eds.), 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: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature 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, Lawrence Sullivan (ed.), 283–304. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

  • 2013. “The Joy of Life: Medicine, Politics, and Religion.” In Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History, A. Cerulli, K. Preisendanz, and D. Wujastyk (eds.), 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 Kasyapa Samhita.” In Health and Religious Rituals in South Asia: Disease, Possession and Healing, Fabrizio Ferrari (ed.), 114-126. London: Routledge.

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

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

  • 2009. “Narrative Wellbeing: Anandarayamakhin’s The Joy of Life (Jivanandanam).” 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, N.K. Mahadevan (ed.), 74–77. Kottayam: Sreekrishna Ayurveda Kendra.

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

Photography Exhibits

  • 2025. “Archives + Textures + Aesthetics.” Gallery II, Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI (Mar–May, juried solo exhibit).

  • 2024. “Framing the Archive.” Fluno Center Gallery, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI (Oct–Dec: # tbd, solo exhibit).

  • 2023. “The Aesthetic Shape of History.” Roberta’s Art Gallery, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Whitewater, WI (Nov–Dec, 47 pieces, juried solo exhibit).

  • 2023. “The Archive as Art.” Solarium Gallery at Houghton House, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY (Mar–Apr: 57 pieces, juried solo exhibit).

  • 2020. “Manuscriptistan.” Chazen Museum of Art, Faculty 2020 Exhibition, Madison, WI (Feb–Aug: 4 pieces, juried group exhibit).

  • 2019. “Manuscriptistan.” Kamin Gallery, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (09 Sept – 13 Dec, 45 pieces).

  • 2011. “കേരളം അനുദിനം/keraḷaṃ anudinaṃ/Kerala Everyday.” The Little Theatre, Rochester, NY (Sept – Oct, 20 pieces).

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

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

Blog Posts


My current projects include a large study tracking the history of Ayurveda in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries and its relationship with American health and spirituality. I continue to study and translate a Sanskrit allegory about medicine, statecraft, and the body (Jīvānandanam). An article on 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 is forthcoming in a book on medicine and religion in Asia. I continue to exhibit and publish work from my photo-ethnography project (Manuscriptistan) on the aesthetics of manuscript archives in India. And finally, I am also the Editor of India Review and an Associate Editor of Asian Medicine.

Anthony Cerulli

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