Dr. Sinah Kloß

Researcher and Coordinator of Research Group "Marking Power: Embodied Dependencies, Haptic Regimes and Body Modification"

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 62575

Sinah Kloss.jpg
© Barbara Frommann

Academic Profile

Tattoos, Body Modification and Haptic Regimes: Sensory History and Embodied Dependencies in Indo-Caribbean Communities

The research project discusses the sensory history of body modification and the interrelation of permanence, tactility, religion and servitude in Hindu Indian communities of (colonial) Suriname, Trinidad and Guyana. It focuses on the tattoos and tattooing practices of Indian indentured laborers in the Caribbean as well as contemporary Caribbean Hindu women, their tattoos and related life histories. Particularly touch and tactility are taken as a starting point to dismantle the role of "skinscapes" (Howes 2005) in asymmetrical and embodied dependencies from an anthropological and historical perspective.

Ph.D. Studies, Social Anthropology, Heidelberg University, Germany

Magistra Artium (M.A.), Human Geography, Social Anthropology and Indology, University of Göttingen, Germany

Research Group Leader "Marking Power: Embodied Dependencies, Haptic Regimes and Body Modification", BCDSS, University of Bonn, Germany

Research Associate, Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies, University of Cologne, Germany

Research Associate, Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne, Germany

Research Associate, Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University, Germany

Member of the Executive Board of the Society for Caribbean Research (Socare e.V.) (Coordinator of the Division "International Affairs") (2021-present)

Member of the Advisory Editorial Board of "Global South Studies", University of Virginia (2017-present)

Affiliated Fellowship at the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, University of Leiden, Netherlands

Visiting Research at the University of Guyana, School of Education and Humanities, Guyana

Fellowship at the Center for Religion, Economy and Politics (ZRWP), University of Basel, Switzerland

Visiting Research at the University of Guyana, School of Education and Humanities, Guyana

DFG (German Research Foundation)
Volkswagen Foundation
Fritz Thyssen Foundation
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

  •  (2022, forthcoming) Sinah T. Kloß, “Embodying Dependency: Caribbean Godna (Tattoos) as Female Subordination and Resistance,” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.
  • 2020. Tattoo Histories: Transcultural Perspectives on the Narratives, Practices, and Representations of Tattooing. New York: Routledge (Routledge Studies in Cultural History).
  • 2020. Indelible Ink: An Introduction to the Histories, Narratives, and Practices of Tattooing. In Tattoo Histories: Transcultural Perspectives on the Narratives, Practices, and Representations of Tattooing, 3–30. New York: Routledge.
  • 2020. Fairer Handel: Chancen, Grenzen, Herausforderungen, edited by Gröne, K., Braun, B., Kloß, S., Schüller, M., M. Bollig. München: oekom.
  • 2020. Giving and Development: Ethno-Religious Identities and "Holistic Development" in Guyana. In Religion and Development in the Global South, edited by Heuser, A., Köhrsen, J., , 113–138. New York: Routledge.
  • Special Issue "The Global South as Subversive Practice" (2017–2018). In The Global South, 11 (2), Indiana University Press. DOI: 10.2979/globalsouth.11.2.01
  • 2017. Sexual(ized) Harassment and Ethnographic Fieldwork: A Silenced Aspect of Social Research. In Ethnography, 18(3), 396–414. https://doi.org/10.1177/1466138116641958
  • Contesting ‘Gifts from Jesus’: Conversion, Charity, and the Distribution of Used Clothing in Guyana. In Social Sciences and Mission, 30(3), 2017, 346–365. DOI: 10.1163/18748945-03003003
  • Fabrics of Indianness: The Exchange and Consumption of Clothing in Transnational Guyanese Hindu Communities. London, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2016.
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