Prof. Dr. Heike Oberlin studied Indology and Social and Cultural Anthropology at Tübingen University, but her interest in India started in high school. She began to learn Bharata Natyam intensively in Stuttgart and Chennai, and her academic studies in Indology brought her into contact with Kutiyattam, which remains her passion today.
In 1995 she acted publicly for the first time on stage, and from then on to 2001, Oberlin studied Kutiyattam from P.N. Girija and Rama Chakyar at Kerala Kalamandalam.
She completed her Ph.D. with “summa cum laude” in Indology at Würzburg with a work about the Sanskrit theatre Kūṭiyāṭṭam. Her dissertation was awarded the Ernst-Waldschmidt-Preis 2008. Since then she has also studied and taught the Malayalam language, and still performs Kutiyattam and gives lecture-demonstrations at universities and theatres.
Just recently, in January 2018, she was invited under the “Erudite Scheme” of the Kerala State Higher Education Council as “Scholar in Residence” at Kerala Kalamandalam, her former alma mater.
She is currently the Scientific Coordinator of the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies (AOI) at Tübingen University and Associate Professor at its Dept. of Indology.