Former SDAC Employees

Former Deputy Professor

Dr. Alexander Smith

Elite Master Program "Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures"

Institute for Near Eastern and East Asian Languages and Civilizations Chair of Chinese Studies (Prof. Dr. Lackner)

Dr. Alexander Smith worked for the program as the Deputy Professor from April 2018- October 2019.

I received an MPhil in Tibetan studies from Oxford University in 2010. Having specialized in Classical and Modern Tibetan, I then pursued a PhD as a member of the member of the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE, Paris), where I focused on the study of Bon ritual and divinatory manuscripts. During my time as a member of the EPHE, I was fortunate enough to be awarded a three-year doctoral grant (Contrat doctorale ED 472), which allowed me to conduct extensive doctoral fieldwork in Tibetophone communities in North India. After completing my PhD in December 2016, I was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship with the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF), where I expanded my work on Tibetan divination systems and completed my first monograph, Divination in Exile: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ritual Prognostication in Tibetan Buddhism.

Following my post-doctoral work with the IKGF, I worked for two years as the Deputy Professor of Social Anthropology in the Bavarian Elite Network’s Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures (SDAC) program at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. In addition to leading courses in social anthropology, ethnographic methods, academic writing, and visual anthropology, I worked extensively in international academic administration. With regard to my research, I am interested in expanding my previous work in the anthropology of divination and Tibetan ritual; however, my current research axis focuses on the study of diasporic identity through the lens of religious transformation in the contemporary Tibetan exile community in Europe.



“Divination in Exile: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ritual Prognostication in the Tibetan Bon Tradition”. Leiden: Brill. Link


2019 (forthcoming: December, 2019) “Prognosis, prophylaxis, and trumps: comparative remarks on several common forms of Tibetan cleromancy” in The Place of Mantic Practices in the Organization of Knowledge. Leiden: Brill, pp. 181-97.
2019 “May the Curd of g.Yang Mature: a 14th-Century Allegory for the Domestication of Sheep” in Reflections on Social Status in the Tibetan World: Proceedings of two conferences of the Franco-German project ‘Social Status in the Tibetan World’. Revue d’Études Tibétaines, 49, pp. 258-270.
2017 Résumés de thèses « Alexander K. Smith, lde’u ‘phrul, la manifestation de la connaissance : étude ethno-philologique sur la divination tibéaine avec un intérêt particulier pour une forme commune de la lithomancie Bon », Études mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines, 48, pp. 4 pages. 
2015 “Prognostic Structure and the Use of Trumps in Tibetan Pebble Divination”, in: Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 10/1, pp. 1-21.
2014 “No More Bad Dreams: Divination and Client Therapy”, in: Tibetan and Himalayan Healing: An Anthology for Anthony Aris, ed. by Charles Ramble and Ulrike Roesler, Kathmandu: Vajra Publications, pp. 651-660.
2013 lDe’u ‘phrul, the Manifestation of Knowledge: Ethnophilological Studies in the Field of Tibetan Divination with Particular Emphasis upon a Common Form of Bon Lithomancy”, in: Societas Magica Newsletter 29, pp. 2-5.
2011 “Remarks Concerning the Methodology and Symbolism of Bon Pebble Divination”, in: Études Mongoles & Sibériennes, Centralaisatiques & Tibétaines 42.

Former Research Fellows

Dr. Mo Tian worked for the program as a research fellow from November 2017 – December 2018.
Mo Tian holds a Ph.D. in history from the Australian National University (2016). His research examines the social control of rural Manchuria under Japanese occupation during 1932 and 1945. His research interest lies in the area of social change of Northeast and North China during the Japanese occupation and Republican and Communist eras. In addition, he is also interested in Chinese intellectual history, Japanese imperialism in Asia, and gender and sexuality in East Asia. Mo Tian was a teaching fellow at the Australian National University (2012-2016), a postdoctoral fellow at New York University Shanghai (2016-2017), and a research fellow at Jinan University (2017).

Selected Publications

“The condition of Asian studies in post-war Australia” for publication in eds. Asia Research Centre, Re-narrating Asian History, and Culture, Fudan University Publishing House, forthcoming in 2017, in Chinese.

Chinese translation of Babara Watson Andaya, “Response to PrasentjiDuara, ‘Asia Redux’” for publication in eds. AsiaResearch Centre, Re-narrating Asian History, and Culture, Fudan UniversityPublishing House, forthcoming in 2017.

Chinese translation of Rudolf Mrazek, “Floating. No Gears Shifting” for publication in eds. AsiaResearch Centre, Re-narrating Asian History, and Culture, Fudan University Publishing
House, forthcoming in 2017.

Chinese translation of PrasenjitDuara, “Response to Comments on ‘Asia Redux’” for publication in eds. AsiaResearch Centre, Re-narrating Asian History, and Culture, Fudan
University Publishing House, forthcoming in 2017.

“The Korean War and Manchuria: Economic and Human Effects,” in The Korean War in Asia: A Hidden History, eds. Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Adam Broinowski, Rowman &
Littlefield, forthcoming in 2017.

“The Baojia System as Institutional Control in Manchukuo under Japanese Rule (1932-45),” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Issue 4, Vol. 59, 2016, 531-554.

“A Textual Reading of My Manchuria: Idealism, Conflict and Modernity,” in Japan as the Occupier and the Occupied, eds. Christine de Matos and Mark E. Caprio, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 249-267.

“Representing Gender, Power and Body in The Wedding Banquet,” Asia Pacific World, Vol.5, No.1, Spring 2014, 110-119.

Former Program Coordinator

Julia Klingel worked for the program as a program coordinator from October 2020 – September 2021.

Former Assistants

Yasmine Nawar worked for the program first as a student assistant from November 2017-March 2018 and as a research assistant from April 2018 -May 2019.

Tatjana Röttger worked as a student assistant for the program from February 2018 -Januar 2019.