Jürgen Schaflechner

Jürgen Schaflechner

Jürgen Schaflechner
Cultural Anthropology
Languages and Literatures of South Asia
Media Anthropology

Religious Minorities
South Asia
Documentary/ Ethnographic Film
Cultural Theory


Current Projects: 

Current Film:


(trailer found here: http://www.frontaalfilm.com/ressentiment)

After the fall of the Soviet empire and the triumph of global capitalism, modernity appeared to keep its dual promise of liberty and equality. The spreading of human rights and democratic forms of government were intrinsically linked to free flows of global capital and free markets. Supported by technological developments and an ever-increasing digitalization of daily life, the future contained the promise of abundance and recognition for all.

Only a few decades later, however, we witness an oppositional trend: A revival of nationalism paired with xenophobia, an increasing tribalization of politics, a public sphere oscillating between cruelty and sentimentality, and a Left caught up in wounded attachments. Social media, once the promise to give voice to the disempowered, link cognitive capitalism with a culture of trolling and hyper moralization. Algorithms programmed to monetarize outrage feed isolated information bubbles and produce what many call the era of post-truth politics.

How did we enter this toxic climate? Are these developments a response to the ubiquity of neoliberal market structures eroding the basic solidarities in our society? Has the spread of social media limited our ability to soberly deal with conflicting life-worlds? And have both the left and the right given in to a form of politics where moralization and cynical mockery outdo collective visions of the future?

This film features interviews by Wendy Brown, Grayson Hunt, Rahel Jaeggi, Jan-Werner Müller, Alexander Nehamas, Robert Pfaller, Gyan Prakash, Peter Sloterdijk, and Sjoerd van Tuinen who speak about the history and current culture of resentment

Current Research Project:


How do religiously discriminated communities in India and Pakistan become political actors in the 21st century? How does the role of the digital in everyday life change the establishment and sustainability of religious minorities' social movements in transnational and local publics and, in fact, their attempts to emerge as ‘the people'? And what can case-studies of politically active religious minorities in South Asia contribute to recent discussions on the global rise of populism—whose analysis, so far, has been dominated by European and American examples? On the basis of these and other key questions, this project aims to extend studies on the current life-worlds of religious minorities in India and Pakistan, social media's influence on today's South Asian political landscapes, and, crucially, the nexus of populism and religion in its effort to produce concepts of citizenship and ‘the people.'

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2012-present             
    University of Heidelberg, Assistant Professor, Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures, South Asia Institute

Previous Academic Positions

  • 2017-2018                  
    Princeton University, Fung Global Fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies working on The Culture and Politics of Ressentiment

  • 2012-2015                  
    University of Heidelberg, (Postdoc) Research Associate, Cluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context with the project MC 3.4 Negotiating Religious Identities among Hindu Communities in Pakistan (part of the mini-cluster Nr. 3 Negotiating Religions)

  • 2011 (spring term)    
    Harvard University, Visiting Research Scholar, Department for the Study of Religion

  • 2009-2012                  
    University of Heidelberg, Research Associate, Collaborative Research Center 619 Ritualdynamik member of the project A8 Grenzen, Rituale, Reflexivität (Borders, Rituals, Reflexivity)

Fellowships and Grants 

  • Fung fellowship for researching the “Politics of Resentment” at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (2017-2018)


  • PhD from the Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures and the Department of Anthropology



Edited books

  • 2019    Pakistan. Parallel Narratives of the Nation-State, eds. Christina Oesterheld & Jürgen Schaflechner. Karachi: Oxford University Press.

  • 2019      Ritual Journeys, eds. Christoph Bergmann & Jürgen Schaflechner. London et al.: Routledge.

Chapters in books

  • 2019    “Blasphemy and the appropriation of vigilante justice in ‘hagiohistoric’ writing in Pakistan” in Blasphemy and Transgression in South Asia, eds. Kathinka Frøystad, Paul Rollier, & Arild Engelsen Ruud. New York: Routledge.


  • 2019   
    “Between documentary and dastavezi” (with Max Kramer) In Dastavezi The Audio-Visual South Asia. (1). 1–12.

Peer-reviewed articles (selection)

  • forthcoming  
    “’Self-Conscious’ Hindu Performances in Pakistan” In Journal of South Asian Studies (43).

  • forthcoming
    “Hinglaj Devi ‘solidifying’ Hindu identity at a Hindu temple in Pakistan.” In American Anthropologist

  • 2019     
    “Hinduism in Pakistan” in Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism. Ed. Tracy Coleman. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • 2017     
    “Forced conversion and (Hindu) women’s agency in Sindh” in South Asia Chronicle. (7). Berlin. (peer reviewed). 275–317.

  • 2016     
    “‘The Hindu’ in recent Urdu horror stories from Pakistan” in Zeitschrift für Indologie und Südasienstudien. (32). Bremen: Hempen Verlag. (peer reviewed). 323–35.

  • (Interview on this research project with Pervez Hoodbhoy in Urdu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEcxlapQsuU&t=309s)

Blogs and Online Publications 

Films (all found in full length at https://www.juergen-schaflechner.com/films)

  • forthcoming
    Toxic Rains. The Culture and Politics of Resentment (working title, trailer found at http://www.frontaalfilm.com/ressentiment)

  • 2016     
    Thrust into Heaven (66 min)

  • 2015     
    There they call us Hindus. here we are Pakistanis (52 min)                

  • 2013     
    Mother Calling. Kali in Karachi (45 min)

  • 2012     
    Fakeera. An Unexceptional Story (8 min)


2018                Ludwig Maximillian Universität, München

                        –“Blasphemy 2.0. Transgressive Speech Online”

                       Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University, NJ

                       –“Staging the Hindu Self. Affirmative and ‘Self-Conscious’ Politics in Pakistan

                       South Asia Seminar, Columbia University, NYC

                       –“Hindu Public Engagement and ‘Self-Conscious’ Politics in Pakistan”

                      Michigan State University, East Lansing

                       –“Thrust into Heaven” (film screening with talk and panel discussion)