Field, Amy Leigh, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Capital, Creatures, and Care: Farm Animal Protection Law and Human-Animal Relationships in Eastern Germany,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
AMY FIELD, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Capital, Creatures, and Care: Farm Animal Protection Law and Human-Animal Relationships in Eastern Germany,' supervised by Dr. Sally Merry. This project examined animal farming livelihoods and their regulation in eastern Germany. Like many nations in Europe, Germany is often applauded for having a very progressive animal protection regime. Eastern German farmers, however, have had to cope with this increasingly complex legal apparatus, which was imposed with the administrative absorption of eastern Germany by western Germany after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The study entailed the collection of ethnographic data including: farmer narratives of animal wellbeing, market conditions, and ethical constraints; observations of farmer-regulator interactions; observations of farmer continuing education events; and reviews of local written industry and scientific materials about animal welfare. The project explored how regulation has shaped human-animal relationships and what social consequences this regulation has had in this site marked by twenty-five years of dramatic legal, cultural, and political change. Cultural proximity and the social relations between regulator and regulated, as the research showed, can influence the outcomes of regulation and monitoring. Moreover, regulation is affected by practices and knowledges. The context of the practice and its local, pre-existing ethics, which become subject to regulation, strongly shape the way law can apprehend the practice. Human-animal relationships here were shaped by the law and by the regulator-farmer relationship.
Stamatopoulou-Robbins, Sophia Chloe, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'West Bank Waste: Governance and Garbage in Two Post-Oslo Municipalities,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod
SOPHIA STAMATOPOULOU-ROBBINS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'West Bank Waste: Governance and Garbage in Two Post-Oslo Municipalities,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod. This project investigates the politics of waste management in the West Bank. By exploring a spectrum of waste sites and circulations -- from land-filling to cross-boundary sewage flows and the growing Palestinian-Israeli trade in used clothes and scrap metal -- it analyzes the effects of geographical separation, 'state-building' efforts, and continued occupation in the absence of a Palestinian state. Waste is inseparable from the question of value. It also plays on the movement between visible and invisible. To historicize and to observe its routes of circulation, the discourses to which it gives rise and the management practices to which it is subject is therefore crucial to understanding shifts in value, visibility, and the emergence of categories through which people live their lives. With the early 1990s began an era of separation between West Bank Palestinians and Israeli citizens that is now an organizing principle of life in the area. Among the effects of this separation were two major, linked developments: 1) The division between an 'Israeli market' and, in the West Bank, a 'Palestinian market;' and 2) The treatment of Israel and the West Bank as two distinct 'environments,' the protection of which the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA), respectively, are held responsible. Through twelve months of participant observation, interviews and archival research this project examines the makeover of sewage from a public health issue to a natural resource, of household waste from fertilizer to source of public debt and the emergence of spaces within the 'Palestinian market' for the trade in what Israelis discard across the Green Line. These transformations of value intersect with the emergence of important categories such as the 'shared environment' and the 'responsible citizen,' while at times rendering invisible processes such as colonization and the growing differentiation between responsibility and authority. This study thus aims to intervene, among other things, in debates about the implications of separation and the post1994 'transfer of authority' to the PA, over parts of the occupied territories, for Palestinians' everyday lives.
Jones, Tristan Daniel, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Embodied Sovereignties: Indigenous Resistance and Tar Sands Development in Alberta, Canada,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Goldstein
Preliminary abstract: Alberta's oil or tar sands developments suggest tremendous wealth to some, and 'a slow industrial genocide' to others. Although a major driver of the Canadian economy, local Indigenous activists attribute changes in the health of the land to development-related pollution and contest further development on these grounds. Yet this conflict is about more than pollution: is is also understood by Indigenous activists an erosion of Indigenous sovereignty, which is claimed to exist prior to, and outside of, any North American political order. Thus, this conflict is about nebulous forms of sovereignty. In resistance to tar sands development, Indigenous activists draw upon traditional spiritual and subsistence practices as a form of political contestation - an assertion to an Indigenous sovereignty. I argue that these forms of traditional spiritual practice and land use are best understood through the lens of embodied practices. Thus, this research is a critical investigation into the ways Indigenous sovereignty is 'lived' through embodied practices in the arena of tar sands development. Through Indigenous methodologies, participant-observation, and critical analysis, this research is poised to enrich anthropological understandings of sovereignty as it is lived by Indigenous activists facing the potential disappearance of their communities and ways of life.
Apoh, Ray W., State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid 'The Akpinis and the Echoes of German and British Colonial Overrule: An Archaeological Investigation of Kpando, Ghana,' supervised by Dr. Ann Stahl
RAY WAZI APOH, then a student at Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, received funding in April 2005 to research on 'The Akpinis and the Echoes of German and British Colonial Overrule: An Archaeological Investigation of Kpando, Ghana' under the supervision of Professor Ann Stahl. Multiple evidential sources were explored between June and December 2005 to document how practices of Kpando people (Akpinis), were impacted by precolonial and colonial political economic pressures as well as how colonial officials negotiated their daily living arrangements in district centers far from their colonial capital. The oral history, archival documents and ethnographic information revealed more about how Kpando-Abanu was first settled by two Akan-speaking groups in about the 16th century after which they were joined by the Ewe-speaking Akpini group, who migrated from Notsie in Togo to their present locality in the 17th century. In addition, the impact of slave raids at Kpando and their socio-economic relations with neighbors and the Asantes were also made evident in the accounts. Historical/archival data, corroborated by Akpini oral history, also revealed how the German (1886-1914) and later British (1914-1957) colonial regimes established a settlement at Kpando Todzi and worked to cultivate new markets for their European products (ceramics, textile, new world crops, alcohol, Christianity, education etc). They also diverted local labor and local production toward commodities (palm oil, cotton, rubber, animal skin etc) deemed important by the metropolis. The reverberations of these varied encounters in Kpando led to the monetization and restructuring of the local economy, which impacted gendered divisions of labor, led to new forms of specialization and indigenous reactions to new products. Complementary data from archaeological test excavations at Kpando-Todzi site (colonial quarters and native support staff quarters) provides insights into the materiality of these political economic encounters. Ongoing comparative analysis of imported and local ceramics, faunal and botanical remains from the two quarters reveals continuing use of locally-produced domestic wares (pottery) and food sources (palm fruit, wild and domesticated fauna) amidst the incorporation of imported vessels and crops ( i.e. maize and cassava) in native cuisine. It also provides preliminary insights into how the colonizers simultaneously maintained and blurred their social boundaries through conformance on the one hand to the 'cult of domesticity' (suggested by use of imported vessels and tinned/canned food) at the same time as they relied on indigenous foods. The findings from this investigation will enhance a proposed museum project at Kpando and also contribute to a growing body of case studies aimed at assessing commonalities and variations in intercultural entanglements and agency in colonized hinterland regions of the world.
Mustafa, Aiman, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'News Making and the Politics of Muslim Minority Publics in Mumbai, India: An Ethnographic Account,' supervised by Dr. David Nugent
Preliminary abstract: This is a study of Muslim minority identities as they emerge from the contested practices of a network of organizations that closely engage with the Urdu language press in Mumbai, India. By examining the everyday processes through which Muslim identity is articulated through contestations within and between these organizations, and by investigating how the press interpolates these identities, I offer fresh perspectives on the ways in which mass mediated forms of communication articulate with ideas of publicness and national communities. Mobilizing around socio-religious, educational, and gender issues pertaining mostly to Muslims, organizations such as the 'Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind', 'Raza Academy', and 'Awaaz-e-Niswaan' are key interlocutors of the Urdu press, with the latter calling itself the 'authentic voice' of Muslims. By capturing contestations around the production of identity, and in the production of news, I delineate how Muslim identity is articulated in the Urdu press. A central question animating this study concerns the roles of interlocutor organisations and the press in articulations of Muslim identity. Focusing on the interface between governmental agencies, minority news media and community organizations, this project shows how minority identities within the context of a nation-state emerge through contestations among different actors articulating their ideas of Muslim minority identities.
Dincer, Evren Mehmet, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'The Reindustrialization of the U.S.: An Ethnography of Auto Workers in the American Rust Belt,' supervised by Dr. Shelley Feldman
EVREN DINCER, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Reindustrialization of the US: An Ethnography of Auto Workers in the American Rust Belt,' supervised by Dr. Shelley Feldman. This research from September 2012 until August 2014 focused on an auto engine assembly plant outside of Buffalo, New York, where the changing characteristics of industrial work and working class culture in a reindustrializing Rust Belt city of America were examined. The plant was the recipient of the 2009 government bailout. Specifically, the grantee examined the meanings of the work and industry for both traditional hires (higher-tier workers) and the new hires (lower-tiered) by focusing on the differences between as well as among them. In the dissertation that is based on this research, the research will show how meanings associated with and around work vary across generations and how these change shop floor culture. It will argue that these changes have significant implications for the future of industrial work in America. Moreover, as unions continue to lose ground and adopt and welcome more managerial rhetoric, we also see the narrowing of the gap between union and non-union industrial workplaces. Since the government bailout is key to this transformation, it is significant to understand the role of states and state-like structures in the making of American reindustrialization.
Schwartz, Saul Goodman, Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Linguistics as a Vocation: Professional Legitimacy in Endangered Language Documentation,' supervised by Dr. Rena Lederman
SAUL GOODMAN SCHWARTZ, then a student at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Linguistics as a Vocation: Professional Legitimacy in Endangered Language Documentation,' supervised by Dr. Rena Lederman. In a time of unprecedented language loss on a global scale, endangered language documentation promotes the scientific and moral value of languages and the cultures they encode as essential elements of human diversity. Language documentation is both a research paradigm in linguistics and part of a broader social movement to preserve endangered languages. Ethnographic research on documentation demonstrates that language ideologies (beliefs and feelings about language) mediate social organization and knowledge production in this subfield of linguistics through complex processes of ideological feedback. Language ideologies organize practitioners and audiences from various backgrounds into networks of collaboration and evaluation. However, these networks of expertise in turn produce new linguistic and social knowledge that can transform the ideologies, identities, and solidarities of their members and constituencies. Central to language documentation ideologies are complementary and conflicting conceptions of time and technology, which also animate socially strategic discourses about motivation and expertise in particular practitioner-audience interactions. These findings are based on participant observation fieldwork with a Siouan language documentation and revitalization project, participation in linguistics conferences and summer programs, interviews with practitioners involved in Siouan documentation, and archival research on the history of Siouan linguistics.
Hoh, Lyndsey M., Oxford U., Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'The Sound of Metal: Aesthetic Materials and Public Music Making in West Africa,' supervised by Dr. David Pratten
Preliminary abstract: The making of social life in a postcolonial state is a complex process, of which music is an evocative element (Chernoff 1978; Guilbault 1993; Agawu 2003). With a rich social history and a modern political environment that is changing, tumultuous, and even violent, West Africa produces complex, politically charged, and socially evocative music (Turino 2000; Skinner 2012; White 2008). Scholars have suggested that culture is the domain par excellence that offers outlets for expression of experiences of urbanization and contemporaneity, and that examining musical performance is a particularly powerful way of analyzing these experiences (Merriam 1964; Coplan 1985; Guilbault 2007; Wade 2013). Particularly in West Africa, public musical expression and interpretation are privileged signifiers of collective and individual orientations, and these values give definition to what it means to be West African (Feld 2012; Skinner 2012). I will expand on this vein of inquiry by asking how people express the realities and insecurities of modern life through the formation of aesthetic categories and the performance of public sound. I am concerned with the role of aesthetic materials -- particularly, brass and metal instruments -- in public performances, and how they act as containers of meaning and conduits for expression. As part of my larger inquiry on the contemporary West African experience, I am also attuned to the communal ethos and public dimension of performance, and the role of sound in shaping modern experience.
Zykowski, Kathryn Cook, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'New Muslim Identities: Student Migration, Local Negotiations, and Indian Universities,' supervised by Dr. Sareeta Amrute
Preliminary abstract: India is increasingly becoming a hot spot for international education and as of 2012 ranked second only to the United States in terms of the number of foreign students attending universities. These educational migratory paths towards India have received little scholarly attention though migration from India to the West for education, and to the Gulf Countries for labor, has been well documented. Hyderabad, the site of my research, is a cosmopolitan city known for its Information Technology educational and employment opportunities. As a result, in the last decade, international student migration to Hyderabad has increased each year. Since India's Independence, the Muslim minority has been marginalized socially, economically, and culturally. What are the effects of a growing international Muslim student population at Indian universities, and of the attendant transnational flows of ideas, bodies, and objects? This project hypothesizes that, although the notion of Hyderabad as a center of global Muslim community is produced primarily through the city's visibility as a destination of study for diasporic Muslim students, this idea is co-constructed with and taken up by the local Muslim population, who mobilize it to build opportunities for travel, economic ventures, and educational support.