Thamar Klein

Thamar Klein is a member of Working Group Medical Diversity at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity in Goettingen, Germany. She advises the group in regard to diversity studies and queer theory and develops workshops and activities related to these issues.

Since 2009 she is also a Research Associate at the Somatechnics Research Centre of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Currently she serves as a member of the Advisory Board for TvT: Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide, a member of the Editor's Advisory Board for Liminalis: Journal for Sex/Gender Emancipation and Resistance, and is the vice-chair of the Working Group Medical Anthropology, a subsection of the German Anthropological Association.

Medical Pluralism and intersections of different therapeutic practices comprised core of her PhD project - based on 20 months of quantitative and qualitative research in Benin between 2000 and 2004. Here, processes of health care decision making within the medical landscape of Benin - shaped by a wealth of therapeutic traditions with converging and diverging philosophies - were studied. Subsequently, her postdoctoral project at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany examined how globally circulating ideas as well as technologies of sex and gender influence the way transgender identities are shaped in South Africa. The current research project examines how medical practices react to sexed/gendered diversity and how this diversity is distilled into few uniform categories. It investigates changing medical, political and legal conditions as well as the intersection of global, national and local influences on transgender identity-making in South Africa. The shifting spheres of medicine, biopolitical standardizing bodies, the state and its subjects in the gender defining process of its citizens are investigated while focusing on processes of diversity and simplified uniformity.  

Her publications in the field of medical anthropology include:

(2012 forthcoming) Configuring Trans* Citizens in South Africa: Somatechnics, Self-Formation and Governmentality. In: Geissler, W., Rottenburg, R.; Zenker, J. eds. Rethinking Governance and Biomedicine in Africa. Contributions from Anthropology. Bielefeld: Transcript.

(2009) Alafia. Globale und lokale Medizinen in Benin. Münster u.a.: Lit Verlag.

(2009) Intersex and Transgender Activism in South Africa. Liminalis 3, 15-41.

(2008) Querying medical and legal discourses of queer sexes and genders in South Africa. Anthropological Matters Journal 10(2).

(2007) Selecting Therapies in Benin: Making choices between informal, formal, private and public health services. Afrika Spectrum 42(3), 467-481.