University of Heidelberg

Dr. Sheela Saravanan

Dr. Sheela Saravanan Dr. Sheela Saravanan
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin


  • Research associate

Contact information

Heidelberg University
South Asia Institute
Department of Anthropology
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, Room 502
69120 Heidelberg

DFG project "Wunschkinder"
Phone: +49 6221 54-8848

Short biography

Dr. Sheela Saravanan has 2 Masters from Indian Universities of Bombay and Pune in Geography and Development Planning. Her Ph.D. thesis from Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia in Public Health was on the influence of biomedical frameworks of knowledge on local birthing practices in India. She has worked and published on the status of reproductive health in South Asia, violence against women and female infanticide in India earlier and now specializes on new and assisted reproductive technologies in the context of Asia and Europe. Since 2007 she has worked in the German Universities of Heidelberg, Bonn and Goettingen. She has published on global injustice, exploitation and objectification in the process of commercial surrogacy in India. Theoretically she has applied the Sen’s (2009), Nussbaum’s (2004) ‘capabilities approach’ for global justice in the context of commercial surrogacy in India and Jordan’s (1993) concept of ‘authoritative knowledge’ to assess the extent to which there is a synthesis of both biomedical and locally practiced knowledge in the design and content of TBA (Traditional Birth Attendant) training in India. Since January 2016 she is working at South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University on a DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) funded project. The research aims to examine individual notions of ‘desired children’ (Wunschkinder/Vansh) shaped by social experiences in the German and Indian contexts that lead to selective abortions. In this project she draws on Feminist theories and its interlinks with disability issues. She will be teaching ‘Global Reproductive Technologies: Socio-Ethical and Legal Dimensions’ during the summer semester at SAI 2016, details of which is published online.

Curriculum Vitae

Download PDF file here.

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Konferenzen und externe Vorträge

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Aktuelle Publikationen
Occasional Paper Series

Heidelberg Ethnology

Richard Fox

Alle Ausgaben hier.


Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets: Medicine and Martial Arts in South India

Roman Sieler

Weitere Informationen hier.


Patient Agency Revisited: "Healing the Hidden" in South India.

Roman Sieler

Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 28: 323-341.


Modern Asian Studies

Volume 48 - Issue 05 - September 2014

Hier klicken für den Artikelüberblick.


Asymmetrical Conversations

Contestations, Circumventions, and the Blurring of Therapeutic Boundaries

Epistemologies of Healing, Vol. 14, edited by Harish Naraindas, Johannes Quack, and William S. Sax, New York 2014.
In der UB: click here.


The anthropology of neoliberal India: An introduction.

Daniel Münster und Christian Strümpell

The politics of dispossession in an Odishan steel town

Christian Strümpell

Beide aktuell in Contributions to Indian Sociology 48 (Feb. 2014).


Ritual Healing and Mental Health in India.

William Sax

Transcult Psychiatry (Feb. 2014).

Ethnologie in Heidelberg