Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Anthony Cerulli was recently awarded a fellowship through the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Cerulli was one of six selected to receive the competitive fellowship, “ACLS/SSRC/NEH International & Area Studies Fellowship,” for his project “Medical Narratives and Allegorical Bodies in Indian Medical Literature.”
Cerulli’s project examines the ethics of illness and presents a genealogy of the “patient” in the cultural discourses of medicine, religion, and politics in premodern Indian history. By elaborating a hermeneutics of medical discourse, which draws on theories in religious studies, medical anthropology, and the history of medicine, the study utilizes narratives of illness in Sanskrit medical literature and a seven-act Sanskrit medical allegory from the 17th century as lenses through which to view the role of religion in the historical development and practice of Indian medicine.
During the yearlong fellowship, Cerulli will conduct fieldwork in Kerala on the history and contemporary state of traditional medical education in South India. He will also finish work on his first monograph, “Somatic Lessons: Narrating Patienthood and Illness in Indian Medical Literature,” and a translation into English of the Sanskrit allegory, “The Joy of Life.” Additionally, Cerulli has been invited to give a series of four lectures in the spring of 2012 at L’École de Haute Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) at the University of Paris. His talks will cover a range of topics, including the history of medicine in India, the relationship of rituals and texts, and religion and literature in South Asian history. This summer he will finish co-editing a book, “Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History,” which is forthcoming in early-2012.
The ACLS Fellowship Program gives awards to individual scholars working in the humanities and social sciences in order to encourage humanistic research. Funded through the National Endowment for the humanities, the ACLS and a number of other institutions and individuals, the program rewards scholars pursuing research and writing on the societies and cultures of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union.
Prior to joining the HWS faculty in 2008, Cerulli received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, his M.A. from Yale University and his B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago. During a Fulbright Fellowship in 2004-05, he conducted research in India and England.
Cerulli is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Oriental Society, the International Society for Iranian Studies, the Kerala Council for Historical Research, and the Classical Ayurvedic Texts Society. He is also the managing editor of India Review, a peer-reviewed journal published by Taylor & Francis, Routledge.