Bjork, Stephanie R., U. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI - To aid research on 'Clan as Social Capital among Somalis in Finland,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Malaby
STEPHANIE R. BJORK, while a student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was awarded a grant in July 2003 to aid research on clan affiliation as social capital among Somalis in Finland, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas M. Malaby. Bjork's goal was to understand the changing dynamics of the Somali clan system and the way traditional kinship networks are remade in diaspora. During 16 months of fieldwork among Somalis living in Helsinki and the neighboring cities of Espoo and Vantaa, she collected data through participant observation, sociodemographic surveys of 200 Somali men and women representing the major clan families and two minority groups, and in-depth interviews. Challenging the traditional assumption that clan-based societies are egalitarian, Bjork documented the hierarchical structure of the Somali clan system through clan discourse, including everyday talk, stereotypes, and performance. She also investigated the ways in which Somalis gained access to work in both the Finnish formal economy and the Somali informal economy. She found that clan identity played a stratifying role for Somalis in everyday life and that clan affiliation shaped social networks and affected participation in the Somali informal economy. New networks formed in diaspora among Somalis from different clans (and to a lesser degree including Finns) through work, school, neighborhoods, and friendships helped shaped the informal economy as well as clan affiliation in everyday use and practice.
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Modernity Meets Clan: Cultural Intimacy in the Somali Diaspora. In From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context. (A. Kusow and S. Bjork, eds.) Red Sea Press:Trenton, NJ
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Clan Identities in Practice: The Somali Diaspora in Finland. In Somalia: Diaspora and State Reconstitution In The Horn Of Africa. (A. Osman Farah M. Muchie, and J. Gundel eds.) Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd.
Gandsman, Ari E., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Reclaiming the Past: The Search for the Missing Children of Argentina's Disappeared,' supervised by Dr. Allan Young
ARI E. GANDSMAN, then a student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, received funding in October 2003 to aid research on 'Reclaiming the Past: The Search for the Missing Children of Argentina's Disappeared,' supervised by Dr. Allan Young. Fieldwork was conducted over sixteen months, based in Argentina, on the efforts of a family members organization, the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, to recover the identities of their disappeared relatives, who were kidnapped as a result of the actions of the military dictatorship during the 1970s. The research consisted both of the history of this search as well as the activities of the organization in the present. Research was divided into three main components. Through archival research, the grantee gathered both primary and secondary sources necessary to trace the history of the organization as well as that of individual cases. Interviews were conducted with both family members who had found their missing relatives and those who were still actively searching for them, in addition to those conducted with recovered grandchildren. Interviews were also conducted with organizations and individuals collaborating with the Abuelas, including the governmental entity working with the group, the legal, psychiatric, and scientific teams of the Abuelas as well as with the geneticists who work in the National Genetic Data Bank, all of whom play an integral role in the search and recovery of the missing family members. Participant-observation was conducted not only at the relevant organizations and institutions but all in attendance at seminars, workshops, lectures, memorial and commemomtive events and tributes, court cases and all other institutional activities of the group.
Gandsman, Ari. 2009. 'Do You Know Who You Are?' Raical Existential Doubt and Scientific Certainty in the Search for the Kidnapped Children of the Disappeared in Argentina. Ethos 37(4):441-465.
Wilson, Marieke Justine, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on ''God is in the Medium': Evangelical Film and Salvation in Southwestern Nigeria,' supervised by Dr. Jane I. Guyer
MARIEKE WILSON, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'God is in the Medium: Evangelical Filmmaking and Salvation in Southwestern Nigeria,' supervised by Dr. Jane I. Guyer. The fieldwork in Lagos and other areas in the southwest of Nigeria is set forth in a dissertation that examines the emotional, social, and political dynamics informing Nigerian evangelical film productions funded by Pentecostal 'mega-churches.' The primary goal of the dissertation lies in discerning how we can read evangelical films, to be differentiated from popular mainstream 'Nollywood' films, as cultural commodities that play on and reinforce popular understandings of salvation. It also explores the ways in which individuals perceive their belonging to a spiritual community and attempts to track the ways in which visual media help to shape religious affiliations and movements of a transnational character. The research conducted in Nigeria engages the varying forms of sentimental and political community encouraged by evangelical media and video, and traces the ways in which these overlap and compete with understandings of national belonging and community. The resulting dissertation aims to shed light on the impact of religious media on emerging forms of political subjectivity in Nigeria and beyond.
Labrador, Angela Marie, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton
ANGELA M. LABRADOR, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton. This research explored how a rural New England community has leveraged the legal instrument of the conservation easement to protect their cultural landscapes and associated cultural identities and values. The fieldwork documented the social impacts of conservation easements, framing their application as part of a wider social ethic, deeply embedded in local cultural heritage. Traditionally, the protection of heritage is conceptualized as a 'preservation' process enacted by experts using etic standards of cultural and material 'authenticity.' However, this approach has alienated communities from their heritage. This research contributes a dynamic framework of heritage as a creatively shared component of community life and its safeguarding as an ethos informed by emic values and enacted by a broader base of stakeholders. The resulting ethnography -- which combined archival research, participant observation, and Photovoice -- actively engaged with the social ethic that supports the landscape protection program. Two sets of findings resulted: one assessed the potential and shortcomings of the heritage commons created through the usage of conservation easements and the other proposed a methodology for facilitating community-based and deliberative reflection on the past and future in rural places struggling with the socio-economic transformations of modernity.
Aporta, Claudio, U. of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada - To aid research on 'Inuit Navigation and Technological Change in the Eastern Canadian Arctic,' supervised by Dr. Eric S. Higgs
CLAUDIO APORTA, while a student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, received an award in August 2001 to aid research on Inuit navigation and technological change in the eastern Canadian Arctic, under the supervision of Dr. Eric S. Higgs. Field research conducted in Igloolik, territory of Nunavut, Arctic Canada, in the summer of 2002 provided significant data about Inuit wayfinding methods during boat travel on the open sea. During the crossing of a large extent of sea known in Igloolik as Ikiq (Fury and Hecla Strait on official topographic maps of Canada), Inuit hunters set courses and made spatial decisions by making precise readings of the horizon and employing thorough knowledge of the relationships among tidal action, prevailing winds, and waves. Aporta conducted several interviews with Inuit elders on topics related to spatial orientation, knowledge and use of routes and trails, and use of new technologies for travel and orientation. Through interviews with knowledgeable hunters and analysis of data about search-and-rescue operations, he established patterns regarding age groups and situations involving Inuit hunters getting lost in the Igloolik area. The extensive geographic data collected in Igloolik during four years of research were analyzed and represented through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Place-names, traditional routes, and recurrent features of the sea ice were plotted on maps as layers of a database that permitted an appreciation of these complex aspects of Inuit knowledge and of different patterns of land use over generations.
Phillippi, Bradley Dean, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'A Diachronic Investigation of Labor Relations on a Plural Farmstead, Long Island, 1700-1885,' supervised by Dr. Mark W. Hauser
Preliminary abstract: This dissertation research explores the way diverse people working in different systems of labor created, altered, and occupied plural spaces in the past. The setting of my project is eighteenth- and nineteenth-century rural Northeast North America, a time when capitalist practices and free labor gradually supplanted the subsistence-first farming practices dividing work between family members and slaves. A plural, slave-owning farm in New York will provide the context. The continuously occupied house (ca. 1700-1885) transcends contexts of slavery and freedom, thereby providing a unique opportunity to conduct a diachronic analysis of the plural spaces created by two systems of labor on a single site. Evidence related to the organization of space, household activities, and consumption will be collected using anthropological and archaeological methods to determine how the system of free labor altered plural space and impacted the daily lives of farmers and laborers of African descent. This project will build on archaeologies of plural sites and communities by adapting and applying concepts developed in anthropological archaeologies of labor and households. In so doing, this project will make broad yet substantive contributions to ideas of plurality and identity in anthropological and archaeological theory. By applying rigorous methods and analyses, this dissertation research will supply a concrete framework for seeing and analyzing activities and associated deposits in plural space as practices of diverse people entangled in relations of work.
Embuldeniya, Gayathri Eugenie, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Producing the Homeland from Elsewhere: The Changing Place-making Practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock
GAYA EMBULDENIYA, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Producing the Homeland from Elsewhere: The Changing Place-Making Practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto,' supervised by Dr. Mary E. Hancock. The research investigated how immigrants remember, recreate, and transform place, by producing it in a new locale. In particular, this research investigated the place-making practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto, and how these commitments to both village and desired nation-state (uur and Tamil Eelam) have changed over time. The concept of 'place' structures Tamil identities in multiple ways: village associations reproduce old village networks in Toronto; place as the desired nation-state of Tamil Eelam is of importance to many; and Tamil settlement has itself coalesced around certain neighborhoods of Toronto and Scarborough. However, place-making practices have also changed over time and across generations, the most recent shift being heralded by the Tamil protests that took place over six months in Toronto, as the end of Sri Lanka's 25-year old civil war drew near. The significance of this research lies in the ethnographic data it provides on how place may be transported and reproduced in a new socio-political and geographic locale. It contributes to scholarship on space, place, and memory, by suggesting that place-making practices must also be localized in time, and understood as inflected by temporal socio-political events.
Van Allen, Adrian Dana, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Crafting Nature: Museums, Biotechnology and the Future of Collecting,' supervised by Dr. Mariane Ferme
Preliminary abstract: My research examines the mining of natural history collections for the creation of genetic databanks and de-extinctioning species, with case studies of the Global Genome Initiative at the Smithsonian and the proposed resurrection of the extinct passenger pigeon by Revive and Restore.