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Educational qualification Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, USA
M.A., University of Hyderabad, India
B.A. (“Specialty”), Russian State University for the Humanities, Russia


Dr. Venera R. Khalikova is a cultural and medical anthropologist who specializes in the cultural politics of medical plurality, nationalist discourse, body practices, and consumption. Her research is focused on South Asia and the Himalayan region. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript that investigates the ideologies of health and cultural belonging in India as shaped by the government policy on alternative medicine and the growing market of alternative health products and pharmaceuticals. Through the analysis of healthcare infrastructure, doctors’ and patients’ medical ideologies, and media discourse, the book traces the hierarchical entanglements across Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, and other state-sanctioned forms of alternative medicine, putting forward the theories of biomoral citizenship and the biopolitics of homegrown consumption.

Khalikova holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, USA where she was working under the supervision of Dr. Joseph S. Alter. Prior to the doctoral program, she had studied anthropology in India and Russia. Khalikova is a recipient of several prestigious grants and fellowships, including The Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship, and The Government of India General Cultural Scholarship. She is an author of several academic publications in English and Russian. Moreover, as a Contributing Editor at Cultural Anthropology, she also writes posts about teaching anthropology.

Research interests

Anthropology of India, nationalism, nationalist discourse, plural and alternative medicine (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani), medical knowledge, ideologies of healthy consumption, body and sexuality, cultural citizenship.

Courses taught


ANTH 2111 Contemporary Anthropological Theory

ANTH 2310 / UGEC Gender and Culture

ANTH 3324 / ANTH 5324 Indian Culture and Society

ANTH 3630 / ANTH 5631 Language, Symbols and Society

ANTH 6010 Seminars in Anthropological Theory

Outside CUHK

ANTH 101 Introduction to Anthropology, Savannah College of Arts and Design

ANTH 1738 Gender Perspectives in Anthropology (undergraduate seminar), University of Pittsburgh

ANTH 1797 / RELSTU 1517 Mountains, Medical Systems, and Health, “Pitt in the Himalayas” Study Abroad Program, India

ANTH 1752 Anthropology of Food, University of Pittsburgh

Current research

Ayurvedic Commodities, Health Discourse, and Nationalism in North India

Awards and grants

2021 Direct Grant for Research, Chinese University of Hong Kong. “‘I am not an expat, I am brown’: Racialized Subjectivities of High-earning Mobile Professionals from India in Hong Kong”

2020 Direct Grant for Research, Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Multiple Belonging and Acts of Citizenship among Indians in Hong Kong”

2017 Best Graduate Student Paper Award, from The Science and Medicine in South Asia (SMSA) Special Interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), American Anthropological Association (AAA).

2017 Arts and Sciences Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh

2016 Best Graduate Student Paper Prize, from The Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Integrative Medicine (CAM/IM) Special Interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), American Anthropological Association (AAA).

2015 Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, The Wenner-Gren Foundation, Gr. # 9093

2014 Social Science Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh

2014 Summer Research Grant, University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh

2013 Summer Research Grant, Asian Studies Center: Indo-Pacific Council, University of Pittsburgh

2013 Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh

2012 Summer Research Grant, University Center for International Studies and The Asian Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh

2011 Arts and Sciences Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh

2010 University Medal for Academic Excellence, University of Hyderabad, India

2008 General Cultural Scholarship, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Government of India

2008 Golden Medal for Academic Excellence, Russian State University for the Humanities, Russia

Other positions held

Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh

Contributing Editor, Cultural Anthropology


American Anthropological Association (Society for Cultural Anthropology, Society for Medical Anthropology, Society for Feminist Anthropology)

Medical Anthropology Young Scholars

Association of Medical Anthropology Russia

Hong Kong Anthropological Society

Selected Publications
2021 Medical pluralism. In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology (eds) F. Stein, S. Lazar, M. Candea, H. Diemberger, J. Robbins, A. Sanchez & R. Stasch. http://doi.org/10.29164/21medplural
2020 Khalikova, VR, Jin, M, Chopra, SS. Gender in Sustainability Research: Inclusion, Intersectionality, and Patterns of Knowledge Production. J Ind Ecol. 2020; 1– 13. https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13095
2020 A Local Genie in an Imported Bottle: Ayurvedic Commodities and Healthy Eating in North India. In Food, Culture, and Society DOI:10.1080/15528014.2020.1713429
2019 Doctors of Plural Medicine, Knowledge Transmission, and Family Space in India. In Medical Anthropology, 10.1080/01459740.2019.1656621
2018 Medicine and the Cultural Politics of National Belonging in Contemporary India: Medical Plurality or Ayurvedic Hegemony? In Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Special Issue: Indian Medical Traditions between State and Village: Representations, Encounters, Legitimizations, Exclusions.
2017 The Ayurveda of Baba Ramdev: Biomoral Consumerism, National Duty, and the Biopolitics of ‘Homegrown’ Medicine in India. In South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 40(1): 105–122.
2009 The World around the Extreme Sports Bicycle. In Youth Subcultures of Moscow, ed. Gromov, pp. 253–296 (in Russian)
2008 Ethnosocial Environment and Inter-Ethnic Relations in Bulava village, Ulchski district, Khabarovski krai. In RSUH Student Field Research, Vol. 3, pp. 60–76 (in Russian)
2007 Ethno-National Identity of Children and Teenagers of Bessarabian Bulgarians in Ukraine. RSUH Student Field Research, Vol. 2, pp. 30–39 (in Russian)
Reviews and Online Posts
2019 Theresia Hofer. Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018, 286 pp. (pbk). In Asian Anthropology DOI: 10.1080/1683478X.2019.1583084
2017 Commitment, Citation, and Context: An interview with Bharat Jayram VenkatCultural Anthropology, August 11 (co-authored with Ned Dostaler)
2017 Teaching with Digital Technologies: In-Class ApplicationsCultural Anthropology, June 2
2017 Teaching with Digital Technologies: An Introduction to a Series of postsCultural Anthropology, April 24.
2016 Book review: Naraindas, Harish, Johannes Quack, and William S. Sax (eds.) 2014. Asymmetrical Conversations: Contestations, Circumventions, and the Blurring of Therapeutic Boundaries. Berghahn Books. In Social Anthropology, 24(2), pp. 269–270
2016 The Chemical Refrain, an #AmAnthro Panel Review for Cultural Anthropology
2014 Book review: Lock, Margaret and V-K Nguyen. 2010. An Anthropology of Biomedicine. In Medical Anthropology and Bioethics, Vol. 7 (in Russian and English)
Invited talks and guest lectures
2019 Healthy Food, Taste and Identity: Thinking About the Transformation of Ayurveda in a Globalized India. At the Hong Kong Anthropological Society, March 22.
2018 Strengthening the Body and the Nation through Traditional Medicine and Biomoral Consumption in India. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 2.
2017 “Plural Medicine and Nationalism in Contemporary India.” At Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, USA. April 12
2016 “Medical Systems in Anthropological Theory and Indian Politics.” Invited lecture at Centre for Medical Anthropology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, June 21
2015 “Language, Politics, and the Hierarchy of Institutionalized Plural Medicine in North India.” At Center for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India, April 21
Conference sessions/workshops organized and chaired
2020 (conference canceled) Co-organizer: “Practices of Citizenship and Belonging among ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Asian Migrants.” At the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, March, Boston.
2017 Chair: “Patients and Healers in South Asia: New Epistemologies, Professional Dilemmas, and Responses to Modernity”. At the 46th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin Madison, October 28
2016 Chair and co-organizer:  Rethinking Gender Normativity, Sexuality, and Morality through Non-Biomedical Epistemologies. The Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Minneapolis, November 16–20
2016 Organizer: “Successful Grant Writing” Workshop for Social Science Researchers. At the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, August 18
Selected conference presentations
2019 “Alternative Health Commodities and the Discourse of Trust in India.” At the AAA 2019, Vancouver.
2018 “Pursuing Health and Belonging through Biomoral Consumption: A Case of the Ayurvedic Industry in Contemporary India.” At the workshop TransAsian Connections. Theme: States of Fortification: Connecting Asia through Technologies of Food and Health, organized by SSRC. December 2018, Hanoi
2018 “Organic or Ayurvedic? Entangled Ideologies of Health, Class, and Cultural Identity in Contemporary India.” At the Workshop: Transecting Healthy and Sustainable Food in the Asia-Pacific, Yale-NUS Singapore, July 30-August 2
2017 Doctors and “Medical Houses:” Family-based Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India. The 46th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin Madison, Oct 28
2017 Gender in Policy and Design for Sustainable and Resilient Communities. At the joint meeting of The International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) and the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST), Chicago, IL, USA, June 25-29
2017 Community, Gender, and Life Course: Sustainability for Whom? At the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Santa Fe, March 28–April 1
2016 Yoga, Herbs, and ‘Homosexuality Cures’: Approaching Sexual and Gender Difference in Indian Medicine, at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Minnesota, USA, November 16–20.
2016 Therapeutic Plurality, Ayurvedic Hegemony and the Cultural Politics of Nationalism in North India, at the workshop Indian medicine: Between state and village, organized by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, the Netherlands, June 23–24
2015 Rhetoric, Rituals, and the Biopolitics of a ‘Homegrown’ Medicine in India. American Anthropological Association Meeting, Denver, USA, November 18–22
2015 “Muslim” Unani and “Global” Ayurveda: Convergence and Disparity of Two Medical Traditions in India. At The Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies, Pittsburgh, USA, October 9–11
2015 Medicinal Plants Discourse: Seeking and Selling Health in the Indian Himalayas. At 7th Annual Anthropology Postgraduate Student Forum, “Impacting the World: Emerging Voices of Asian Anthropology”, Chinese University of Hong Kong, January 23–24
2013 Medical Ideologies and Negotiated Treatment in the Context of Structured Medical Pluralism in North India. At Joint International Conference by EASA Medical Anthropology Network, AAA Society for Medical Anthropology, and Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain, June 12–14
2013 Research on Medical Pluralism in the 21st century, or Ubiquitous Questions of Ethics, Methods, and Funding. At the 4th Annual Meeting, Medical Anthropology Young Scholars, Spain, June 10–11
2007 Ethnosocial Environment in Bulava village, Khabarovsky district. At the Russian Student Conference, RSUH, Moscow, Russia, December
2007 Bulgarian Diaspora in Ukraine. At the Congress of Young Scholars, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, November
2006 Co-presenter (with Valentina Chubarova) Ethnic Stereotypes and Inter-Ethnical Relations in Krinichnoe village, Ukraine. At the Russian-Ukrainian Student Conference, RSUH, Moscow, Russia
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