Sinah Theres Kloß

I'm a social anthropologist and research group leader at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), University of Bonn, Germany. My main research areas are the anthropology of religion; body politics and embodiment; material culture studies; tattooing, clothing and dress; transnational migration; and Postcolonial and Southern theory. My regional focus is on the Caribbean, especially Guyana and Suriname, but I also specialize in the transcultural flows between India and the Caribbean.


Talk @ Conference "Legacy of Slavery and Indentured Labour"

Anton de Kom Universiteit, Paramaribo, Suriname

"Godnas, Gurus and Gurmukh: Beyond Tattoos as Marks of Servitude and Resistance in Hindu Suriname and Guyana"

June 7, 2023; 10:30 am

Book Chapter

"‘We knew it!’: Caribbean Hindu Responses to Restrictions of Touch during COVID-19. 2023." In: CoronAsur: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age (eds. N. Lang, E. Larson, C. Lorea and E. Hertzman), University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 129-133.

Head of Committee @ Socare e.V. (Society for Caribbean Research)

Elected as Head of Committee in the Socare Executive Board for the period March 2023 - March 2025

Talk @ MESH Cross-pollinators

"Methods Seminar: Interview Research across Disciplines | Experiences from Anthropology and Applied Linguistics"

with Carolin Schwegler

University of Cologne, Germany

April 4, 2023 | 12.00-13.00

Call for Papers @ Journal of Indentureship and its Legacies

"Indentured Bodies / Embodiments of Indenture", edited by Sinah Kloß and Jennifer Leetsch

Research Article @ The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology

"Embodying Dependency: Caribbean Godna (Tattoos) as Female Subordination and Resistance", 2022, 27(4): 601–612.

Talk @ Ev. Erwachsenenbildungswerk Westfalen und Lippe e.V.

"Wenn der Glaube unter die Haut geht: Religiöse Symbolik in Tattoos"

Ev. Gemeindezentrum EGZ Uffeln, Vlotho

November 4, 2022, 7:30 pm

Talk @ ZERG Lecture Series

"Marks of Dependency: Religious Tattooing among Caribbean Hindu Women"

ZERG Lecture Series: "Control, Coercion, and Constraint II: The Role of Religion in Overcoming and Creating Structures of Dependency"

University of Bonn, Germany

June 28, 2022; 6:15 pm

Discussant @ Workshop

"Materialities, Relationalities, Porosities: Anthropological Perspectives on Skin Beyond the Social"

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, FU Berlin

February 18, 2022


"Tattoo," 2021. In: The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Wiley Online Library.

Book Chapter

Touching Deities: Offerings, Energies, and the Notion of Touch in Guyanese Hinduism”, In: Religion and Touch (eds. C. Welch and A. Whitehead), Sheffield: Equinox Publishing (Religion of the Senses), pp. 51-66.

Latest BookS

Edited Volume

New York: Routledge (Routledge Studies in Cultural History).

Edited Volume.

Paderborn: Brill | Fink.

Edited volume

Munich: oekom.

Upcoming Events

Conference @ BCDSS, University of Bonn, Germany

Competing Memories: The Politics of Remembering Enslavement, Emancipation and Indentureship in the Caribbean

Socare e.V.'s bi-annual conference, organized by Sinah Kloß (Bonn), Andrea Gremels (Frankfurt) and Ulrike Schmieder (Hannover)

March 29-31, 2023


The Caribbean is a space of dynamic and ever-changing memories. Here, as elsewhere, socio-political disparities and power imbalances commonly impact the capacity and means to promote specific memories and historical narratives, through which the past is created, adapted and negotiated. These dynamics influence which processes and memories are included or excluded in specific histories and which versions of the past are reconstructed, selected and interpreted.

The international conference “Competing Memories” hence focuses on the politics of memory and the constructions and representations of plural and divergent memories in Caribbean contexts, especially but not exclusively in relation to enslavement, emancipation and indentureship. As understandings of ‘history’ and ‘memory’ may vary, contributors will look at the different and strategic ways these concepts are used within and in relation to the Caribbean.

The conference is going to take place on March 29–31, 2023 at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany. It is funded by the BCDSS and the German Research Foundation (DFG). It is co-hosted by the Society for Caribbean Research (Socare e.V.) and is organized by Sinah Kloß (Bonn), Andrea Gremels (Frankfurt) and Ulrike Schmieder (Hannover). Updates will also be published on

Past events

Conference @ BCDSS, University of Bonn, Germany

Transforming Spirit Bodies: Changing Materialities and Embodied Dependencies

September 29-30, 2022

© TatuBakru, Pierre Bong, Paramaribo/Suriname 2007
© TatuBakru, Pierre Bong, Paramaribo/Suriname 2007

The interdisciplinary conference focuses on the bodies and embodiments of spirits, their (im-)materialities, and the bodily transformations, which they may be subject to in different socio-cultural contexts. Contributions analyze the embodied experiences of asymmetrical dependencies among humans and spirits and how the sensory experiences of interdependence are negotiated in their interactions. They examine and compare the particular (historical) moments and conditions under which these bodily transformations occur and how they can influence understandings of human–nonhuman interdependence.