Smithson, Brian Christopher, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Piety in Progress: Video Filmmaking and Religious Encounter in Benin,' supervised by Dr. James Lorand Matory
Preliminary abstract: This research explores collaborative media production in Bénin as religious encounter between Yorùbá-speaking Béninois and Nigerian video filmmakers. Béninois media professionals show ambivalence toward their Nigerian counterparts: they invite these filmmakers to Bénin to serve as experts and mentors, but they express concerns that their Nigerian guests carry with them attitudes toward religion and religious interaction that have been steeped in a national climate of mounting inter-religious tensions and violence. This study thus seeks to determine how the production of religious media becomes a forum to debate and establish norms of community and religious practice for these filmmakers, as well as for the ad hoc audiences who come to watch films being made. As an apprentice with a filmmaking troupe and a large filmmaking NGO in Pobè, Bénin, I will interview filmmakers and spectators from both sides of the Bénin--Nigeria border, participate in all stages of the filmmaking process, and attend religious services and festivals with filmmakers and other members of the community. In so doing, I will determine the roles that national identity, religious affiliation, and professional prestige play in negotiations over religious attitudes and conceptions of community. I also will seek to determine how an open production style shapes the public that can participate in conversations about religious representation, iconography, and aesthetics in media. Firsthand participation and broader analysis of the media landscape will enable me to determine the link between religious deliberation on film sets and the religious attitudes and practices of the participants.
Jaroka, Livia, U. College of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Ethnic Relations and the Management of Everyday Life among Hungarian-Speaking Urban Roma in Postcommunist Hungary,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Stewart
LIVIA JAROKA, while a student at University College of London in London, England, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on ethnic relations and the management of everyday life among Hungarian-speaking urban Roma in post-communist Hungary, under the supervision of Dr. Michael S. Stewart. Jaroka's fieldwork was focused on Roma living in the Jozsefvaros, an area in the Eighth District of Budapest. Data were gathered on Roma social organization, status, and experiences of and responses to social, cultural, economic, political, and human rights conditions since the political-system change in 1989. Special emphasis was placed on factors encouraging or discouraging assimilation or the continued classification of others as Roma. The data showed how the Roma-most of whom had lost economic security after the change of the political system-had failed to be absorbed into Hungarian society, mainly because the non-Roma population appeared to accept unrealistic, exotic stereotypes of Roma and to be unwilling to accept the integration attempts of aspiring Roma. The everyday experiences of informants showed that integration attempts were rejected by majority Hungarians even while the Roma were constantly blamed for 'not being able and willing to integrate.' The discriminative attitude among the majority was the main reason for seeking assimilation, yet many Roma, especially younger people, chose a more nationalistic Roma attitude, often antagonistic to non-Roma.
Albanese, Jeffrey Scipione Black, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Social Alterity and Regulation in Legally-Recognized Homeless Tent Cities,' supervised by Dr. Damani Partridge
JEFFREY S.B. ALBANESE, then a graduate student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in April 2014 to aid research on 'Social Alterity and Regulation in Legally Recognized Homeless Tent Cities,' supervised by Dr. Damani Partridge. Recent scholarship in diverse urban contexts has emphasized intensified forms of exclusion and spatial control that have accompanied urban transformations in the contemporary global political economy. Yet such perspectives offer few resources for understanding cases in which marginalized groups have managed to appropriate urban space and establish legally recognized residential settlements. Based on fieldwork in Oregon with a legally recognized homeless 'tiny house village' and a homeless encampment pursuing legal-recognition, this dissertation project explores connections between law, material culture, and everyday social life in the governance of urban poverty and inequality. Politically organized homeless communities have pursued legal recognition in a variety of ways-by claiming liberal rights to property and due process, by invoking international human rights law, by claiming constitutionally protected free speech and religious exercise, etc. Yet evictions of such encampments (and their occasional legal incorporation) often proceed through public health regulations, building codes, or zoning ordinances-regulatory technologies that primarily govern the built environment and only indirectly (but profoundly) govern persons. In tracing these varied legal trajectories, this research shows how the social organization and material composition of 'informal' settlements are transformed by disjunctures between marginalized groups' legal claims and their eventual adjudication.
Morrison, Amanda Maria, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Rockin' the Body Politic: Multiracial Youth and Hip-Hop Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area,' supervised by Dr. John Hartigan
AMANDA MARIA MORRISON, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Rockin' the Body Politic: Multiracial Youth and Hip-Hop Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area,' supervised by Dr. John Hartigan. Through ethnography, the grantee examined how hip-hop's expressive forms are being used as the raw materials of everyday life by residents of the San Francisco Bay Area -- home to what many regard as one of the most diverse, politically progressive, and creatively prolific hip-hop 'scenes' in the U.S. This focus on regional specificity provides a greater understanding of the impact hip-hop is having on the ground, as an aspect of localized lived practice. While taking a geographically delimited 'case study' approach would seem to narrow the scope of this project, it actually expanded the discussion into often-overlooked areas, exploring hip-hop's heterogeneity and its regional specificity. The Bay Area offers a rich site for the investigation of hip-hop culture because it is distinct in ways that complicate prevailing scholarship on the subject, most of which either emphasize its continuity within Afro-Diasporic expressive traditions or bemoan its cooptation by the global cultural industries. Three key characteristics about the local scene particularly stand out: its racial diversity, its penchant for producing socially conscious artists, and its commercial independence from the corporate music industry. These three qualities provide the primary foci for this analysis.
Degani, Michael Jason, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'The City Electric: Ingenuity and Infrastructure in Dar es Salaam,' supervised by Dr. Michael McGovern
MICHAEL J. DEGANI, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'The City Electric: Infrastructure and Ingenuity in Dar es Salaam,' supervised by Dr. Michael McGovern. Fieldwork was conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from July to December 2012 as part of a broader ethnography an African electrical grid. Research focused on three themes: 1) the links between national experience and power generation; 2) the informal economy of power transmission; and 3) the everyday life of electricity consumption. Local immersion, interviews, and discourse analysis mapped connections between the political economy of power generation contracts, chronic outages, and the experience of post-socialist Tanzanian nation. Fieldwork with contractors, bureaucrats, electricians, and consumers revealed a web of shifting collaborations around municipal power theft, expedited bureaucratic procedures, and surreptitious connections to the grid. Finally, neighborhood surveys and three, month-long household 'energy diaries' demonstrated electricity to be a highly variable economic asset: a business expense, prestige good, or investment in social relations. This variability contributed to problems of collective action in paying for electricity and financing infrastructure in unconnected neighborhoods. Ultimately this research may help describe a version of contemporary infrastructures that are neither heroic public works nor sunk into the background of everyday life.
Scaramelli, Caterina, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Swamps Into Wetlands: Water, Conservation Science and Nationhood in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich
CATERINA SCARAMELLI, then a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding April 2013 to aid research on 'Swamps into Wetlands: Water, Conservation Science and Nationhood in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich. Wetlands are at the forefront of national and international projects addressing water futures, climate change, biodiversity, development, and sustainability. With the global rise of the scientific and legal category of wetland since the 1970s, wetlands have become ecologies of value as well as sites of struggle between state institutions, environmental NGOs, universities, and civil society on the infrastructural, biological, cultural, political, scientific, and economic interventions that produce wetlands as conservation ecologies in Turkey. In contemporary Turkey, wetlands are entangled in the making of new ecological politics as 'livable nature,' concurrent with nationwide grassroots environmental movements and struggles for inclusion of diversity and for an expansion of rights vis-à-vis increasing authoritarianism, sectarianism, and everyday violence. In Turkey, far from unifying expert and lay conversations, wetlands have invited contestations over science, water, and livelihood. Wetland conservation gets mobilized in anti-authoritarian social movements, as well as in ongoing nationalist projects. This project focuses on two Turkish coastal wetlands-the Gediz delta on the Aegean and the K?z?l?rmak delta on the Black Sea-in the wake of this reframing. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork with environmental NGOs, wetland residents, Turkish and international experts, and state officials. It also draws on archival research on wetland science and conservation and on landscape histories.
Hernandez Corchado, Rodolfo, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Mexican Indigenous Migrants in New York City: On the Cross of Inequality and Ethnic Stratification,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lawrence Blim
RODOLFO HERNANDEZ CORCHADO, then a student at City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Mexican Indigenous Migrants in New York Ctiy: On the Cross of Inequality and Ethnic Stratification,' supervised by Dr. Michael L. Blim. For this research observation, informal and formal interviews, and oral life stories were conducted in New York City with indigenous Mixtecos and Mestizos migrants from the Montana region in Mexico. Evidence was gathered in three different New York City neighborhoods, where a majority of Guerrerenses have settled, and are now being incorporated into the labor process mainly as undocumented workers. In these places they have begun to create their own religious, communitarian, and recreational institutions for collective organization. As part of this research, more than 150 formal interviews were conducted to create life stories and examine the different process of labor and migrant incorporation that exists within a segment of the Mexican migrant stream that is previously differentiated in terms of ethnicity and class.
Zadnik, Laurel, U. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada - To aid research on 'Converting to Mormonism in Madang, Papua New Guinea: Self, Kinship, and Community,' supervised by Dr. Sandra C. Bamford
LAUREL ZADNIK, then a student at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, received funding in August 2004 to aid research on 'Converting to Mormonism in Madang, Papua New Guinea: Self, Kinship, and Community,' supervised by Dr. Sandra C. Bamford. Field research was carried out from October 2004 to October 2005 and explored the sociocultural implications of the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or 'LDS' Church) in Papua New Guinea. The project focused on the multiple ways that LDS Church members in Papua New Guinea have altered their discourses and practices of self, kinship and community. The data collected from this project will be used to contribute to debates on religious conversion processes, as well as 'modernity' and globalization issues.
Matza, Alexis R., U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'The Medicalization of Masculinity: Comparing Testosterone Therapy in the Aging Male and Transgender Populations,' supervised by Dr. Ellen Lewin
ALEXIS R. MATZA, then a student at University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'The Medicalization of Masculinity: Comparing Testosterone Therapy in the Aging Male and Transgender Populations,' supervised by Dr. Ellen Lewin. While all healthy male and female bodies produce testosterone, in North America testosterone is thought to be the substance that makes men masculine. Testosterone therapy, the use of synthetic testosterone as a hormone replacement therapy, at once establishes, maintains, and enforces a coherently embodied gender. Testosterone is at once a symbol of cultural notions of masculinity and a commodity, a metaphor and an object. This research analyzed multiple discourses of testosterone and disparate usages of testosterone therapy in two intriguingly divergent populations in North America. Aging men (ages 40-70) and transgender men (male-identified, though not born biological men), illuminate the extent to which masculinity is a cultural construction, influenced by culture, biology, and technology. This project explores how masculinity is pursued, not just through the accumulation of culturally sanctified behaviors, but also through technological modifications of the body. The findings of this project include the realization that ordinary men, subject at once to their individual desires and society's hegemonic demands of appropriate masculinity, do not always conform to stereotypes of appropriate masculinity. In addition, this project found that both transgender and non-transgender aging men use gendered performance as a type of mask, a phenomenon that the grantee calls Maskulinity.
Cho, Sumi, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Multiculturalism, Okinawan Popular Culture and the Politics of Ethnicity in Osaka, Japan,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer E. Robertson
SUMI CHO, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Multiculturalism, Okinawan Popular Culture, and the Politics of Ethnicity in Osaka, Japan,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer E. Robertson. The project explored how the recent Okinawa Boom and multiculturalist trend influenced the practices of Okinawan popular music and dance in mainland Japan. For decades, Okinawan music and dance were shunned in Osaka, performed only by Okinawans, and only in private to avoid ethnic stigmatization (except for a few instances of cultural resistance against the dominant ideology of Japanese ethnic and cultural homogeneity). Now Okinawan music and dance genres are becoming increasingly an object of cultural appropriation by Japanese -- to watch, listen to, learn, and perform themselves. While such popularity among Japanese is publicly regarded as a welcome sign of recognition of Okinawan culture, some perceive Japanese appropriation of Okinawan music and dance as another form of Japan's cultural domination -- a threat to the authenticity of Okinawan music and dance, and to authenticity of Okinawan identity itself. However, the divisions between seemingly opposite aspects of Okinawan popular culture are neither clear-cut in practice, nor do they necessarily follow the ethnic lines between participants. As individuals with diverse interests intermingled through Okinawan dance and music performances, they created complex consequences to notions and practices of Okinawan music and dance, and by extension, to attitudes towards the politics of ethnicity in Japan.