Pardue, Derek P., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Blackness and Periphery: A Retelling of Marginality in Hip-Hop Culture of Sao Paulo, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Norman E. Whitten Jr.
DEREK P. PARDUE, while a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, was awarded a grant in December 2001 to aid research on 'Blackness and Periphery: A Retelling of Marginality in Hip-Hop Culture of Sao Paulo, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Norman E. Whitten, Jr. The grant from Wenner-Gren complemented an already existing dissertation fieldwork grant from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC - Arts). The additional stipend significantly ameliorated general financial difficulties in Brazil caused by shifting currency rates and sudden price hikes in basic resources such as transportation, telephone service, and gasoline. The particular research conducted under the grant focused on graphic design and sound engineering practices of hip-hop producers in Sao Paulo, Brazil from January 2002 to August 2002. Fieldwork data concerning the techniques and technologies utilized in 830 Paulo rap recording studios involved primarily costs in reciprocity for basic tutelage from sound engineers and meeting time. In the case of graphic design. data collection and interpretation involved specific experiments and surveys. Research included the creation and dissemination of surveys to evaluate consumers' tastes and expectations with regard to compact disc covers and insert designs in the Brazilian rap music industry. Part of this process involved the designing of fictitious CD covers with potential names for an advertised compilation sponsored by the website http://www.bocada-forte.com.br. The exemplars integrated typography and images into a coherent composition organized around major themes of Brazilian hip-hop culture. These included: negritude (blackness), do-it-yourself ideology of production and community-building, 'periphery' occupation of public space, social protest, and technology and the Internet. Multiple-choice questionnaires complemented the visual material to elicit consumer analysis on this connection of aesthetics to ethics.
Elliott, Luther C., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Goa Trance and the Narrative Construction of Self and Community in Byron Bay, Australia,' supervised by Dr. Steven Feld
LUTHER C. ELLIOTT, while a student at New York University in New York, New York, received funding in July 2002 to aid ethnographic research on the musical genre and social movement known as Goa trance in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, under the supervision of Dr. Steven Feld. Investigating the processes by which a generic ritual form had become localized in Byron Bay, Elliott examined the musical and social practices through which a music that had emerged from U.S. 'hippie culture' and been imported by European settlers in the early 1990s had been resignified-despite anti-American and anti-European sentiment in the area-as part of an authentic Australian counterculture. He explored the practices by which diverse participants had come to feel connected to a community and to reconstruct their life projects in relation to the conventionalized sensual and social orientations into which Goa trancers are socialized. Consonant with Goa trance's orientation toward indigenous peoples, this musical subculture was found to have given experiential authority to a white Australian connection to the land, articulated through popularized notions of Aboriginal 'dreaming' and spiritual investments in land. As a reorientation of personal identification away from dominant themes in Australian national culture and toward a global network of trance music production and a romanticized indigenous history, Goa trance offers a window into the uneasy interpenetration of commodity and cultural production that complicates the contemporary creation of alternative lifestyles.
Tabor, Nathan Lee Marsh, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'The Politics and Patronage of Urdu Poetry in the Contemporary Indian Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
NATHAN TABOR, then a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in May 2008, to aid research on 'The Politics and Patronage of Urdu Poetry in the Contemporary Indian Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali. The project seeks to understand relationships among minority language aesthetics, civil society, and the state by examining the political relevance of poetic texts and the ways in which communities are built around literary circulation and consumption. The grantee examines these themes in the context of Urdu language poetry symposia (mushairah) within North Indian agroindustrial towns. The mushairah is an Indo-Persian recitational space for the circulation and enjoyment of literary and ethical knowledges. In the years following India's partition and the communalization of Urdu as a Muslim language, the mushairah has become a constituent institution of vernacular mass media that target lettered and unlettered Muslim minorities. Based on participant observation, interviews, and literary historiography, Tabor's project analyzes the importance of public Urdu poetry recitational gatherings in the circulation and enjoyment of populist Muslim politics, showing how ethical and aesthetic concerns simultaneously undergird minority publics within India's plural democracy.
Joffe, Ben Philip, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'White Robes, Matted Hair: Tibetan Renouncers, Institutional Authority, and the Mediation of Charisma in Exile,' supervised by Dr. Carole Ann McGranahan
Preliminary abstract: What is the relationship between institutional authority and religious power in Tibetan exile? My research focuses on how the charisma and legacy of Ngagpa Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, the former official weather controller of the Tibetan exile government - are being institutionalized and mediated in exile following his death. Ngagpa (m) and ngagma (f), are non-celibate, professional Buddhist renouncers who specialize in esoteric ritual traditions. Simultaneously existing in and straddling lay and monastic worlds, they reside in a shifting third space of accommodation and resistance to mainstream structures. With the invasion of Tibet by China in 1950, Tibetan refugees in India have struggled to make a sovereign nation legible and legitimate in exile, and to rebuild political and social institutions away from home. The once de-centralized religious traditions of virtuoso ngagpa/mas are now being preserved in durable institutions, fixed in texts, and taught increasingly to foreigners. Researching Yeshe Dorje's institution in India and its resident ngagpa/mas, I examine how the politics of ritual power are playing out in exile communities. Using ngagpa/mas' charisma as a lens through which to explore unfolding politics of reform in diaspora, I show how the forging of cultural coherence in exile involves both creativity and contradiction.
Nakhshina, Maria, Aberdeen U., Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'Making Sense of Home: Movement and Metaphor among Villagers and Townspeople in the Kola Peninsula,' supervised by Dr. Tim Ingold
MARIA NAKHSHINA, then a student at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Making Sense of Home: Movement and Metaphor among Villagers and Townspeople in the Kola Peninsula,' supervised by Dr. Tim Ingold. In the year 2006-2007 fieldwork was carried out in the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia. Half the year was spent in the village of Kuzomen and half in three urban locations: Kandalaksha, Murmansk, and Umba. The idea was to observe people in both rural and urban environments, including permanent residents of the village, those who moved to the town and those who came to the village only in summer, and to trace how their perception of 'home' varied across different contexts. In order to understand the role of the senses and emotions in home attachment, attention was focused on metaphor, metonymy, and automatic movements. The research has shown that metaphor and metonymy both epitomize and elaborate on people's emotional and sensory experience of a home place. Applied in different contexts, the same trope connects people on a meta-level of emotions and sensations. It appears that automatic movements are the most direct register of a person's emotions, since the latter regulate the selection of actual movements. Routine sensual experiences generate correspondingly automatic responses. Sensory experiences accompany quotidian emotions and both play a prominent role in a person's identification with a home place.
Danusiri, Aryo, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Sufi Bikers and Arab Saints: Islam, Media, and Mobility in Urban Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Mary Steedly
Preliminary abstract: A striking new phenomenon in Indonesia since the fall of Suharto (1998) is the heightened public visibility of different Islamic groups, which vie with each other in the national capital, Jakarta, and elsewhere for attention. This project focuses on the Sufi-inspired voluntary study groups led by scholars of Arab Hadrami descent. The groups' weekly multimedia performances, which started in 2003, unfold in Jakarta's streets, taking advantage of the perpetual traffic jams by engaging passers-by and halted cars. These motorcades move across and around Jakarta's streets, parks, and other public places, attracting ten of thousands of young adherents. The followers of this movement are highly mobile, using motorbikes and Internet and mobile communication technologies. Remarkably, these weekly events celebrate the Maulid or birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, which until recently, was an annual event sponsored by the State as well as celebrated through a range of vernacular religious rituals. I examine the link between mobility and the formation of (1) an emerging Islamic public; (2) religiously coded public spaces; (3) and urban vernacular networks. I ask the following questions in this project: how do these practices of circulation shape religious experience and address the political interests of the participants? What tactics do study groups utilize to navigate the spatial, social, and political landscapes of Jakarta? What kind of local, national and transnational networks do they have to support this strategy of preaching? By focusing on the mobility of mawlid's people, media, and commodities, I am reinstating the centrality of media and the materiality of religious practices in the process of community making -- something that has been overlooked in the study of religion and media.
Skinner, Ryan Thomas, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Sound and Subjectivity: Music, Modernity, and Mogoya in Postcolonial Bamako, Mali,' supervised by Dr. Aaron Andrew Fox
RYAN T. SKINNER, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Sound and Subjectivity: Music, Modernity, and Mògòya in Postcolonial Bamako, Mali,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox. The dissertation supported by this grant explores understandings and expressions of 'ethical personhood' (Bamana: 'mògòya') among musical artists in Bamako, Mali's capital that sprawls along the upper Niger River. The research engages with a diverse group of popular musicians whose lives and works are locally glossed by the term 'artistiya,' a neologism meaning 'artist-ness' which the grantee defines as 'artistic personhood.' As a study of personhood among artists in Bamako, the work emphasizes the particular ethical concerns that artists daily confront in an urban society burdened by clientelism, corruption, and poverty. It moves from a historical inquiry into the emergence of artistiya through periods of decolonization and nationalism in the Soudan Français and Mali, when artists enjoyed a high degree of state patronage, to present-day encounters with neo-liberal socioeconomic structures that have destabilized artists' relationships to state and society. Through ethnography, this research examines how contemporary artists make claims to authorial rights and socio-professional legitimacy in a radically informal economy, foreground the ethics of musical aesthetics in times of crisis and hope, and confront the gendered and generational challenges of being an artist in Mali, and the world today. Throughout, attention is drawn to the pressing politics and poetics of personhood in contemporary urban Africa.
Heuson, Jennifer Lynn, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Sounding Western: Producing National Sensory Heritage through Sound in South Dakota's Black Hills,' supervised by Dr. Marita Sturken
JENNIFER L. HEUSON, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Sounding Western: Producing National Sensory Heritage through Sound in South Dakota's Black Hills,' supervised by Dr. Marita Sturken. This dissertation explores how and why sound is used to produce national heritage in a popular, yet contested, tourist region in South Dakota: the Black Hills. It argues that the Black Hills is an important geopolitical space not only because of its history of 'native elimination' and resource extraction, but because of how this history is taught, preserved, and celebrated through popular culture and tourist events. Specifically, it examines how sonic experiences in the Black Hills produce the region as an experiential artifact of frontier mythologies that include manifest destiny, rugged individualism, and salvage ethnography. It outlines frontier aurality as crucial conceptual frame for understanding how past conquest shapes both present and future through the subtle modes of sensing enacted at heritage venues and offers both a highly contested example of the 'colonized ear' and an instance of the relationship of this ear to something that could be called 'the colonization of experience.' Through ethnographic observations and recordings, historical and cultural analyses, and interviews with heritage producers, this research hopes to expose the role of aurality in heritage production and in the continued subjugation of native peoples and places.
Meade, Melissa R., Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'In the Shadow of 'King Coal': Migration and Violence in Shenandoah, PA,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Morris
Preliminary abstract: In the midst of the upheavals of deindustrialization, Spanish-speaking immigrants are migrating to small towns across the US. In one such town, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez Zavala was beaten to death in 2008 by a gang of white teenagers who were exonerated of all serious charges in a local court. Since the killing of Ramirez, Shenandoah and the Greater Anthracite Coal Region have occupied a contentious position in the public imaginary as a symbol of racialized violence directed at Spanish-speaking immigrants and also as a white working-class threat to the symbolic power of liberal, middle-class values and regimes of representation. This research contributes to the scholarship on migration, ethnic relations, and violence in deindustrialized regions by addressing four areas of concern to larger anthropological debates: Firstly, through the lens of the Ram¨ªrez killing and related media coverage, to understand the restructuring of the community vis-¨¤-vis the in-migration of Spanish-speaking immigrants and the out-migration of local youth; secondly, to explore how area residents address conflicts about migrant newcomers, class, and community revival amidst media and elite framing of the economically disenfranchised in terms of discourses of diversity, tolerance and bootstrapping; thirdly, to study how the structural violence of the political economy of the region limits and makes possible resident participation in larger (mediated) societal discourses; fourthly, to understand the over-determined relationships between this structural violence and violent events like the Ramirez killing.
Chand, Vineeta, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Indian English Ownership, Status and Variation,' supervised by Dr. Janet Shibamoto Smith
VINEETA CHAND, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Indian English Ownership, Status and Variation,' supervised by Dr. Janet Shibamoto Smith. This research addressed the Indian English (IE) socio-cultural linguistic setting, examining the relationship between structural variation, identity, attitudes and personal history for New Delhi English bilinguals. Informed by the fields of sociolinguistics, anthropology, and South Asian studies, the research uses quantitative and qualitative analytic linguistic methodologies, in conjunction with close ethnographic observation, to address socio-cultural questions. Modern alternative multilingual settings raise important theoretical questions about applying variationist methods in new contexts, and interrelationships between language change, shifts in linguistic ideologies, and sociolinguistic identity. Drawing on 50-plus hours of informal conversations and ethnographic fieldwork, significant links were uncovered between linguistic practices, ideologies, and evolving historical backdrops, wherein gender, age, ethno-linguistic background, and domestic mobility are each foundational elements of individual urban identity, and collectively are significant for understanding systematic IE language practices. These findings challenge the assumption that oft-considered 'basic' social factors, widely used in variationist studies, are adequate to account for alternative, third-world settings, underscoring the importance of ethnographic and qualitative data for interpreting language practices. This project also examined processes and results of globalization and localization, demonstrating that IE's development as a distinct English dialect is intertwined with the emergence of a locally valuable, urban Indian identity.