Joseph S. Alter

Joseph Alter is Professor of Anthropology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and Research Professor in the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. 



Medical Anthropology; Culture of Science; Nationalism and Colonialism; Ideology and Power; Asian Medical Systems; Gender, Sex and Masculinity; Ecology and Health; South Asia. 




The Wrestler's Body: Identity and Ideology in North India.  Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992.


Knowing Dil Das:  Stories of a Himalayan Hunter.  Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.


Gandhi’s Body:  Sex, Diet and the Politics of Nationalism. Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press. 2000.

Yoga in Modern India:  The Body Between Philosophy and Science.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.


Asian Medicine and Globalization.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

Moral Materialism: Sex and Masculinity in Modern India.  Penguin: New Delhi. 2011.




“Sacrifice and Immortality: Theoretical Implications of Embodiment in Hathayoga.”   South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 2012. 35(2).


“Yoga, Modernity, and the Middle Class: Locating the Body in a World of Desire”. Companion to South Asian Studies. 2011. Isabelle Clark-Deces, ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.


“Yoga in Asia – Mimetic History:  Problems in the Location of Secret Knowledge.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  2009. 29(2):213-229.


“Rewriting the History of Medicine in Asia: Hakim Mohammed Said and the Society for the Promotion of Eastern Medicine.”  Journal of Asian Studies. 2008 67(4):1165-1186.

“Yoga Sivir:  Performativity and the Study of Modern Yoga.” Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary, Transnational Perspectives.  2008. Mark Singleton, ed.  London: Routledge.


“Ayurveda and Sexuality: Sex, Sex Therapy, and the ‘Paradox of Virility’” In Modern and Global Ayurveda:  Pluralism and Paradigms. 2008. Pp. 177-201.  Dagmar Wujastyk and Frederick Smith, editors. Albany: SUNY Press.

“The Once and Future ‘Apeman’: Chimera, Human Evolution, and Disciplinary Coherence.” Current Anthropology  2007 48(5): 637 – 652.


“Yoga and Physical Education: Swami Kuvalayananda’s Nationalist Project.” Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity 2007 3: 20 - 36.

“Physical Education, Sport and the Intersection and Articulation of ‘Modernities’:  Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 2007 24(9): 1155-1170.

 “Yoga and Fetishism: Reflections on Marxist Social Theory.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 2007 12: 763-783.


Yoga at the Fin de Siècle: Muscular Christianity with a ‘Hindu’ Twist.”  International Journal of the History of Sport, 2006 23(5): 759-776.

Indian Clubs and Colonialism: Hindu Masculinity and Muscular Christianity”  Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2004 46 (3): 497-534.



Photograph loading

Dept. of Anthropology

3302 W. W. Posvar Hall

230 Bouquet Street

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh PA 15260 USA


Pittsburgh, PA 15260 U.S.A.





Office: 412-648-7508

FAX:   412-648-7535