Markus Schleiter is an anthropologist who currently works predominantly in the field of media anthropology, focusing on South Asian cinemas. His further longstanding interests are the politics of indigeneity and indigenous peoples of South Asia, practice theory and concepts of culture, ethnographic writing, and the anthropology of the state.
His most recent research examines the indigenous film industry of Santal people. His multi-sited field studies have incorporated visits to music studios and film sets in India, as well as long-term/in-depth audience studies in villages and towns – the latter including an exploration of the various ways in which music videos and popular films are consumed as an everyday practice. He is currently co-editing a book on indigenous film industries in the wider region of South Asia. The anthology seeks to identify connections between a disparate field of South Asian cultural producers (Bourdieu) and the emergence of ‘culturalized’ media in South Asia. In addition, he has initiated a long-term project for the archival, in Frankfurt am Main and Calcutta, of Santali VCD films and albums.
Recently, Schleiter has begun work on a new research project on the consumption of South Korean soaps and K-pop by indigenous communities in Northeast India. This will explore the ways in which these soaps may foster aspirations towards East Asian modernity among indigenous populations, as well as investigating the influence of South Korean media upon the different cosmopolitan indigeneities of Naga, Bhutia, and Mizo people in the region.
Schleiter’s earlier research includes long-term field studies conducted in a settlement of Birhor people in rural Odisha, focusing on socio-economic negotiations and Birhor everday culture. Birhor people are a formerly nomadic indigenous community and a lot of them earn their livelihood by their traditional occupation of producing ropes from the bark of a forest creeper. He has also undertaken extensive studies on governmental development work in India, as well as on ethnographic texts from the colonial era relating to the region now known as Odisha.
Nackte Jarawa: „Indigene“ Bevölkerung, Indiens Zeitungs-Boom und administrative Praktiken der Ausgrenzung. Paideuma 61: 71-94.
VideoCD Crossovers: Cultural practice, ideas of belonging and Santali popular films. Asian Ethnology 73 (1-2): 81-100.
India’s Indigenous Cinemas: A Village Video Night and the Future of Santal Traditional Dances. IIAS Newsletter 67: 10-11.
Wo es kein Bollywood gibt: Eine ethnologische Reise zum „indigenen“ Kino Indiens. Masala Newsletter 9 (2): 12-18.
mit Erik de Maaker. Indigeneity as a Cultural Practice: “Tribe” and the state in India. IIAS Newsletter 53. 16-17.
Dances with an Indian “Tribe”. IIAS Newsletter 51: 11.
Hausgötter, Hexengift und staatliche Entwicklungsexperten: Eine narrative Ethnographie über Aushandlungen um eine biomedizinische Malaria-Behandlung bei den Birhor in Orissa, Indien. Paideuma 53: 127-144.
„Tribal“ Representations: Infliction and mitigation of social suffering. Man in Society 16: 17-27.
„Zum Tanze“: Eine ethnographische Erzählung über den indischen „Stamm“ der Birhor. Journal Ethnologie. 5/06.
Enduring Endangerments: Constructing the Birhor “Tribe”, development officers and anthropologists from early twentieth-century colonial India to the present. In: Huggan, Graham und Stephan Klasen (Hrsg.) 2005, Perspectives on Endangerment. Leipzig: Olms, S. 71-82.
mit Erik de Maaker. 'Indigenous' India. IIAS Newsletter 52.
Marine Carrin, Palay Kanungo and Gérard Toffin (Hrsg.): The Politics of Ethnicity in India, Nepal and China. Neu Delhi: Primus Books. 2014. 343pp. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 38 (3): 393-341
Martin Kunz: Mahasweta Devi. Indische Schriftstellerin und Menschenrechtlerin. Heidelberg: Draupadi. 2006. 216pp. Paideuma 54: 312-314.
Tina Otten: Heilung durch Rituale. Vom Umgang mit Krankheit bei den Rona im Hochland Orissas. Berlin: Lit Verlag. 2006. 421pp. Paideuma 54: 315- 316.