Marion Wettstein studied anthropology, musical anthropology and media studies at the University of Zürich. From 2002 to 2008 she was assistant and scientific staff of Prof. Dr. Michael Oppitz at the Ethnographic Museum of Zürich University (Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich) where she contributed to several exhibitions. From 2007 to 2010 She was member of a four year research project “Material Culture, Oral Traditions and Identity among the Naga of Northeast India” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), and completed her PhD thesis on Naga textiles in 2011. From 2011 to 2015 she was postdoc researcher in the project “Ritual, Space, Mimesis: Performative Traditions and Ethnic Identity among the Rai of eastern Nepal” at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies (ISTB) of the University of Vienna, headed by Univ. Prof. Dr. Martin Gaenszle, funded by FWF (Fonds für Wissenschaftliche Forschung), Austria. Having been lecturer in religious science and social anthropology at the Universities of Bern and Zürich, she is now postdoc assistant at the Institute for the Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies at the University of Bern. In her current Postdoc research project “Ritual and Mimesis: Identity based on Dance” she is working about the Sakela, a ritual lay dance of the Rai in Eastern Nepal.
With a general interest in Asia and its relations to Europe, her regional specialization is the extended Himalayas, particularly Northeast India and Nepal. Her teachings includ lectures and seminars on visual and embodied ethnography, visual anthropology, ethnographic drawing, ritual studies, anthropology of religion, museum anthropology, material culture and material religion, fashion theory, mythology, and dance and movement.
Her monograph “Naga Textiles: Design, Technique, Meaning and Effect of a Local Craft Tradition in Northeast India” was published in October 2014 with Arnoldsche Art Publishers. Other majour works include “Naga Identities: Changing local cultures in Northeast India” (Snoeck 2008) which was co-edited with Michael Oppitz, Alban von Stockhausen and Thomas Kaiser and accompanied a large exhibition about the Naga in the Ethnographic Museum of Zürich University (Naga – Schmuck und Asche: Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich, 07.06.08-06.09.09), for which she was co-curator; “How ethnic identity becomes real: The enactment of identity roles and the material manifestation of shifting identities among the Nagas”, in Asian Ethnicity; and “Origin and Migration Myths in the Rhetoric of Naga Independence and Collective Identity”, in: Toni Huber and Stuart Blackburn (eds), Origins and Migrations in the Extended Eastern Himalayas. 2012. Leiden, Boston: Brill.