The cultural and intellectual history of India, with a focus on religion, philosophy and literature in the past and present, is Prof. Malinar's main area of work. Her research mostly deals with the teachings and practices of Hinduism and Buddhism, the philosophies of Sāṃkhya and Yoga, the constructions of gender, the concepts of nature and environment, religious pluralism, and the relationship between religion and politics in modern India. Furthermore, she deals with classical Sanskrit literature (especially epics and Purāṇa) and modern Hindi literature with a focus on aesthetic concepts as well as on the literary examination of socio-political and intellectual transformations. Another research focus is the exchange between India and Europe in the fields of religion, philosophy, gender, literature and aesthetics throughout the Modern age. She regularly organizes the Zurich International Conference on Indian Literature and Philosophy on selected research topics (ZICILP)
The chair's staff research activities deal, among other things, with the interpretations of philosophical-religious plurality in Indian intellectual history, the constructions of gender, the self-image of Hindu communities, and the poetics and aesthetics of modern Hindi literature.
The sociological investigation of social structures and political-economic transformation processes is the focus of Professor Martin's research and teaching. He examines processes of democratization and of formation of state governance both at the local level (with a focus on Northern India and Pakistan) and from a theoretical point of view. In particular, he is interested in how democracy and economic growth are transforming social and economic hierarchies in South Asia. Furthermore, he investigates the relationships between agricultural change, modern politics and emancipation movements of discriminated groups. He is also interested in the issue of corruption at various levels of society and government and examines how Indian citizens relate to it.