Posted: 10/26/23

TAMIU Faculty Member Co-authors Book on Body Art


Dr. Virginia Kuulei Berndt
Dr. Virginia Kuulei Berndt  

A Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) faculty member’s recent co-authored publication focuses on the culture and meaning of body art.

The publication, Body Art, was written collaboratively by Dr. Virginia Kuulei Berndt, assistant professor of Sociology at TAMIU, and Dr. Brian Brown, professor of Health Communication at De Montfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom.

A recorded video interview about Dr. Berndt’s latest publication is available at https://youtu.be/mljn0N99pdg. A full audio version is also available at https://youtu.be/oirmB95E7Rk

Their collaboratively written work focuses on how body art can act as a catalyst for mental and physical health while also focusing on the cultural and historical components behind body art. Berndt noted that the publication aims to provide a radical rethinking into how tattoos and other body modifications contribute to healthy well-being and positive psychology.

“Body art can contribute to so many facets of physical and mental wellbeing. It can be used to cope with different illness experiences that folks have experienced…for instance, my first tattoos were done over surgical scars,” said Berndt.

She continued, “Sometimes, people will have their heads tattooed after chemotherapy when they have no hair. And then, when their hair grows back, they’ll still always have that memory that they have overcome cancer.”

Berndt noted that body art can reflect someone’s personality, act as a reflection of their aesthetic, or indicate community belonging. The publication also discusses the role of body artists and the importance of offering individuals a safe and well-regulated workplace.

“Body artists are subject to explore their artistic freedom and skill through one of the most important canvases: the human skin. Their art can be carried with people and worn all around the world, so there’s immense satisfaction in that,” said Berndt. 

Body Art is now available for purchase online via Amazon and other affiliate websites. Learn more at https://books.emeraldinsight.com/book/detail/body-art/?k=9781804558119.

For more information, contact Berndt at virginia.berndt@tamiu.edu.

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