Fabrics of Indianness: The Exchange and Consumption of Clothing in Transnational Guyanese Hindu Communities
Since the early 1990s the availability of “Indian Wear” has considerably increased in rural Guyana. To a large extent this development can be related to the financial, but also material support provided by Guyanese migrants in North America. “Indian Wear” is regularly given or sent to relatives, friends and the religious community in Guyana, either within the network of the extended family or within the framework of religious organizations. It is largely consumed during Hindu religious functions as ritual clothing, as an offering to a deity or as altar decoration. Its continuous exchange and the changing patterns of its consumption have led to social and ritual transformation within the different Hindu traditions.
Therefore, the PhD project examines the transformation of Guyanese Hindu traditions in the context of Guyanese migration to North America. It considers to what extent this transformation is linked to and influenced by transnational exchange and consumption processes. It focuses on material objects which are exchanged between Guyanese Hindus in North America and Guyana, particularly the exchange and consumption patterns of “Indian” clothing. It is based on a multi-sited ethnography conducted in Berbice, Guyana, and New York City, USA.
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Current Contact Details
Global South Studies Center
University of Cologne
Venloer Str. 151-153
50672 Cologne, Germany
Phone (+49) 221/470 89192
October 2015 – Present
Postdoctoral research fellow at the Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne, Germany
March 2015 – Present
Junior research fellow in the research group “Religion and Development in the Global South”, Center for Religion, Economy and Politics, University of Basel, Switzerland
November 2014 – September 2015
Anthropological Fieldwork in Guyana
Completion of dissertation project “Fabrics of Indianness: The Exchange and Consumption of Clothing in Transnational Guyanese Hindu Communities”
November 2010 - December 2013
Research associate and PhD candidate in the junior research group “From the Caribbean to North America and Back”, Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg.
October 2011 – February 2012
Visiting researcher at the School of Education and Humanities, Department of Language and Cultural Studies, University of Guyana.
October – December 2011
Research grant (German Academic Exchange Service) for fieldwork in Guyana.
M.A. at the University of Göttingen, final thesis: “Past and Present International Migration and Transnationalism of the Indo-Trinidadian population”.
September 2007 - August 2009
Student research assistant / tutor at the Department of Indology and Tibetan Studies at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
October 2006 to February 2007
Student research assistant at the Department of Geography at the University of Göttingen.
October 2005 to April 2010
Studies of Human Geography, Indology and Social Anthropology at the University of Göttingen.
Kloß, S. 2016 (forthcoming). Fabrics of Indianness: The Exchange and Consumption of Clothing in Transnational Guyanese Hindu Communities. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kloß, S. 2016 (forthcoming). “Manifesting Kali’s Power: Guyanese Hinduism and the Revitalization of the ‘Madras Tradition’”, Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, Special Issue 'Religion in Contemporary Caribbean Society'.
Kloß, S. 2016 (forthcoming). “Performing Authenticity through Fashion: Sartorial Contestations of Guyanese Indianness and the Creation of the Indian ‘Other’”. In: Fashion Tales. Feeding the Imaginary, edited by E. Mora and M. Pedroni, Milan: Vita&Pensiero.
Kloß, S. 2016 (forthcoming). Review of “Food and Identity in the Caribbean” by Garth, H. (2013) (ed.). Passato e Presente.
Kloß, S. 2015. “Der multiethnische Faktor: Bei den Parlamentswahlen in Guyana löst ein gemischtes Bündnis nach 23 Jahren die indisch geprägte Regierungspartei ab“. Lateinamerika Nachrichten (493/494): 62-64.
Beushausen, W., Brüske, A., Commichau, A., Helber, P. and S. Kloss (eds.) 2014. Caribbean Food Cultures: Culinary Practices and Consumption in the Caribbean and its Diasporas. Bielefeld: transcript.
Beushausen, W., Brüske, A., Commichau, A., Helber, P. and S. Kloss 2014. “The Caribbean (on the) Dining Table: Contextualizing Culinary Cultures”. In: Caribbean Food Cultures: Culinary Practices and Consumption in the Caribbean and its Diasporas. Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 11-24.