Dress Matters: Transcultural Perspectives on Belonging and Distinction

Sinah Kloß Announcement
Subject Fields
Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Social Sciences

Textiles are among some of the oldest materials and objects used worldwide in different manners to protect, aesthetically decorate or distinguish. What is defined in a society as textiles, cloth or clothing, however, varies and is influenced by diverse factors and cultural contexts. The materiality of cloth allows for discussions within historical, technological and cultural aspects, but it is also intertwined with processes of value, identity, agency, affect and power. Because cloth artifacts can be transformed, refined and even destroyed, the materiality of cloth and clothing can participate in the construction of multiple identities and becoming enmeshed in symbolic and ritual realms. Despite recognizing the complexities of dress and cloth, we focus this workshop mainly on two aspects: 1) questions of individual and group identity formation and 2) how cloth and people are entangled in deep cultural, economic and political aspects surrounding the making and use of cloth and clothing. We discuss the historical and contemporary making, unmaking and remaking of the cultural significance of dress, cloth and clothing.

A detailed program can also be found here:http://www.morphomata.uni-koeln.de/site/assets/files/4158/dm_flyer_online.pdf

With a keynote lecture by Emma Tarlo (Goldsmiths, University of London).

Welcome and Introduction

Dietrich Boschung, M. Dores Cruz, Sinah Kloß

Past Matters: Dress, Veneration and Ethnicity

Panel Chair: Monika Schausten (University of Cologne)

Sabine Schrenk (University of Bonn) “Clothing-relics: Authorized Transmitters of Reality and Closeness”

Kerstin Nowack (University of Bonn) “Clothes and the Making/Unmaking of Ethnicity in the Inca Empire”

Clothing and Identity: Postcolonial Approaches

Panel Chair: Claudia Schubert (Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur)

Ana María Presta (University of Buenos Aires) “Mulatas settled in La Plata (Charcas, today Bolivia), 1575-1635: Professional Practices, Intra-ethnic Relations, Clothing, and Identity in a Colonial Society”

Steeve Buckridge (Grand Valley State University) “Visualizing Natural Lace: Jamaican Lace-bark as the Basis of Women’s Power, Strategies, and Agency”

Dress Practices and Materiality

Panel Chair: Jenny Chio (Emory University)

Laila Abu-Er-Rub (Heidelberg University) “Golden Times: Fashion, Luxury and Metallic Aesthetics in Neoliberal India”

Lucy Norris (University College London/ESMOD University of the Arts, Berlin) “Pieced Together: Material Practices of Love and Affection”

Sinah Kloß (University of Cologne) “Inventing Uniformity? The Color and Practice of ‘Dye’ in a Guyanese Community”

Keynote Address

Emma Tarlo (Goldsmiths, University of London) “An Anthropologist in the Wardrobe: Reflections on Three Decades of Working with Dress”


Contact Information

Dr. Sinah Kloß (University of Cologne)

Contact Email