Robbins, Jessica Choate, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
JESSICA C. ROBBINS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This research investigated how experiences and ideals of aging relate to changing formations of nation and state through the study of contemporary practices of memory in Wroc?aw and Pozna?, Poland. This research sought to understand how older persons become transformed through practices of memory in personal, familial, and national contexts (e.g., telling life histories, creating photo albums and other material evidence, or following public debates on pension reform). To understand how current interpretations and ramifications of the last century's large-scale changes matter in the lives of aging Poles, and how the oldest generations matter to the Polish nation and state, this research consisted of an ethnographic study of aging Poles' gendered practices of reminiscence in a variety of social, political, religious, and economic contexts (e.g.,a church-run rehabilitation hospital, a state-run home for the chronically ill, a day care center for people with Alzheimer's disease, and Universities of the Third Age). This research demonstrated that experiences and ideals of aging are deeply gendered, and that older people's practices of memory are intimately bound up with transformations of persons, collective memory, and nationalisms, and tied to national practices of remembering Poland's past and creating the proper future path of state and nation.
Isenhour, Cynthia K. U., of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid reseach on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett
CYNTHIA K. ISENHOUR, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett. While perceptions of ecological degradation have inspired a wide range of responses from citizens and states alike, this research focuses on individual attempts to reduce ecological risk via consumption practice. Over the past 30 years we've seen the proliferation of recycled, eco-labeled and organic goods in the market and a significant rise in voluntary simplicity groups, compacters, boycotts and buycotts. However, very little is known about 'sustainable consumers.' Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research with 72 individuals and 28 interviews with governmental, academic, and NGOs in Sweden, this paper focuses on the environmental philosophies, views of nature, and perceptions of risk that underlie alternative consumption discourse and behavior. The data reveal significant diversity. Environmental philosophies range from radical eco-socialism to ecological modernization while perceptions of risk range from feelings of acute and immediate personal risk to vague perceptions of future risk to others. There is also great variability in sustainable consumption behavior. While some buy eco-labeled products as often as possible, others are selling their cars, growing their own food and buying clothes second-hand. Despite this considerable diversity, however, the data suggest several interesting relationships between perception and sustainable consumer motivation and action in the Swedish context.
Isenhour, Cindy. 2010. Building Sustainable Societies: A Swedish Case Study on the Limits of Reflexive Modernization. American Ethnologist 37(3):511-525.
Al-Dewachi, Omar, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Professionalization of Iraqi Doctors in Britain: Citizenship, Sovereignty, and Empire,' supervised by Dr. Steven C. Caton
OMAR ALDEWACHI, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in June 2005 to aid research on 'The Professionalization of Iraqi Doctors in Britain: Citizenship, Sovereignty, and Empire,' supervised by Dr. Steven C. Caton. This thesis was an historical and ethnographic investigation of the professionalization of Iraqi doctors in Britain. Through this multi-disciplinary approach, it explored the journey and mobility of the Iraqi medical doctor through the historical, political and institutional terrains of the medical profession. The historical component of the thesis explored the role of British doctors and British medicine under the British mandate (1919-1932) in the formation of the medical profession and education in Iraq. It revealed how British medicine became an extension of the Iraqi medical institutions and continued to shape the Iraqi medical profession during post-colonial nation building in Iraq. The ethnographic component examined the diasporic population of Iraqi doctors who currently reside and work in Britain in the face of on-going war in Iraq as well as the re-shaping of the British National Health Services (NHS). In examining the historical and ethnographic facets of the relationship between Iraqi doctors and Britain, the thesis aimed at demonstrating the larger transnational landscape of the medical profession and its embeddedness in empire building and the imagination of the modern Iraqi nation-state.
Silian, Alina Petronela, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'Identity Politics, Knowledge Production, and Governmentality: The Romani Politics of Difference in Romania,' supervised by Dr. Ayse S. Caglar
Kim, Christine Soo-Young, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Prescience Studies: Economic Forecasting and the Making of a Future in Greece,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli
CHRISTINE SOO-YOUNG KIM, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Prescience Studies: Economic Forecasting and the Making of a Future in Greece,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli. This project asks how the future is constituted as an object of knowledge in the present, and it attempts to answer this question by examining one of the primary factors bringing this object into being in Greece today-namely, discourses and practices concerning the economy. The research consists of ethnographic and documentary methods focusing on the production, circulation, and use of economic knowledge as well as the routinization of modes of thought and activity regarding the economy in everyday life. Through a study of economic forecasting, social insurance, and investment practices in particular, the project considers how efforts to act upon the future enable ideas about what the economy is and how it works to take shape and become familiar. The research ultimately seeks to give an account of how discourses and practices concerning the economy gain hold as authoritative modes of thinking about and acting upon the future and, moreover, how the future operates as a crucial site for establishing and contesting claims to knowledge, legitimacy, and belonging in contemporary Greece.
Blim, Dr. Michael L., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town'
DR. MICHAEL L. BLIM, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, received an award in July 2003 to aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town.' The field-based re-study of economic and social mobility in the Marche region of Italy, Monte San Giusto, completed in August 2003, discovered that the adults of twenty-five shoe entrepreneurial and worker households first interviewed in 1981-1982 (also with a Wenner-Gren grant) have solidified their economic successes and achieved substantial social status mobility. The outcomes for their children, now adults ranging in age from 22 to 40, are more mixed. They have had a great deal of difficulty gaining a foothold in labor markets for professions and service employment, despite significantly better educational preparation than their parents, many of whom had no more than fifth-grade educations. Members of the new generation with minimum educational preparation have trouble finding work in the shoe industry, the 'mono-crop' of the area, and many avoid employment in the industry on the belief that it will not last much longer. Finding blocked opportunities in a shoe industry in semi-permanent economic crisis and in professional and service industries governed by rigid and clientalist employment practices, some of the new generation are taking up small-time entrepreneurship in food, drink, and tourism. Of those taking up manual occupations, skilled tradespeople are doing well, perhaps better than the rest. Instead of serving the shoe industry, machine tool and dye workers and prototype producers are forming small firms seeking business outside the area. The prospects for their 'escape' from the declining shoe industry are as of now uncertain.
Timura, Christopher T., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Expertise: The Globalizing Cultures of British and American Peace Negotiators,' supervised by Dr. Conrad P. Kottak
CHRISTOPHER T. TIMURA, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding to aid research on the globalizing cultures of British and American peace negotiators, under the supervision of Dr. Conrad P. Kottak. Timura conducted eleven months of fieldwork with a representative sample of university and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the globalizing field of conflict resolution. He obtained more than 140 interviews with students, trainers, and practitioners, collected oral histories from key informants, and acted as a participant observer in seminars and training workshops. In addition, he used information about practitioners' professional networks and their referrals to arrange interviews with key individuals involved in the conflict management activities of the U.S. and British governments. The data showed that conflict management theories could be traced back to a small but diverse group of North American and European founding figures who used their institutional affiliations to promulgate their understanding of how violent conflict could be prevented, managed, and resolved. Despite considerable demographic diversity in the field today, a common set of concepts and value orientations enabled this transnational group to coalesce around a conflict resolution epistemology and practice. Conflict resolution specialists have used their roles in government, NGOs, and academe to advocate for changes in the ways governments manage and resolve violent conflict, while arguing for the existence of their own specific form of expertise. 'Local' cultural, socioeconomic, religious, and political factors have played varying roles in the globalization of this expertise beyond North America and Europe, offering opportunities for considering how anthropology might constructively analyze and otherwise engage with this and similar phenomena having significant effects on international governance.
Lowrie, Ian Patrick Macleod, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Building an Information Economy: Artificial Intelligence as Infrastructure in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer
IAN P. LOWRIE, then a graduate student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, was awarded funding in April 2014 to aid research on 'Building an Information Economy: Artificial Intelligence as Infrastructure in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer. This research focuses on the place of the data sciences within the contemporary Russian science system and knowledge economy. Elites are making a number of concrete interventions into the structure content of postsecondary education in the name of the data sciences. They are attempting to turn what they view as the raw potential of an excellent national program in theoretical mathematics, inherited from the Soviet science system, into the human capital necessary to build such a future. This means both shifting the focus from theoretical to applied tasks, and integrating exposure to the scheduling and production regimes typical of industrial computer science into every stage of university pedagogy. At the same time, programmers and applied mathematicians already working in the private sector are being asked to re-brand and re-skill themselves, as data science becomes an increasingly important tool in the arsenal of modern Russian consumer capitalism. By investigating the practical consequences of these restructurings for workers, educators, and students, this project promises a critical and timely look at the ongoing mutations of the global information economy, and of the unique interactions of state, market, and university in the post-Soviet context.
Dalyan, Can, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on ''Anxious About Their Treasures:' Biodiversity, Biopolitics, and the Secret History of Plants in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki
CAN DALYAN, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in October 2012 to aid research on ''Anxious About Their Treasures:' Biodiversity, Biopolitics, and the Secret History of Plants in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki. Set against the backdrop of Gezi Park Protests and a year of civil unrest, this project analyses the workings of agricultural biodiversity conservation in Turkey. Through an ethnography of the Turkish Seed Gene Bank, the institution in charge of managing and conserving the precious plant genetic material of Turkey, this project explores how decisions about plant life are taken at a time of great concern about national bio-wealth and of global environmental challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Doing so, it extends the framework of biopolitics and highlights the ways in which regulation of non-human life is constitutive to the governmentality of the state. The project also brings into view political sensibilities and historical anxieties that unfold in the science and practice of conservation, and traces them in the light of archival research back to distinctive historical periods in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. Spreading out through ethnographic accounts into the largest urban revolt in Turkish history, as well as to seed exchange festivals, hydroelectric power plant construction sites, and agro-communes around the country, the project presents a detailed picture of environmental governance in Turkey and its cultural and political underpinnings.
Yanagisako, Dr. Sylvia Junko, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Made in Translation: Italian Family Firms in China'
DR. SYLVIA YANAGISAKO, Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Made in Translation: Italian Family Firms in China.' Ethnographic research on Italian family firms pursuing transnational business ventures in textile and clothing production in China shows that their transnational business projects are incited and shaped by kinship sentiments and commitments. Commitments to family firm continuity and intergenerational succession spur projects of transnational investment, expansion, and diversification and shape management strategies. At the same time, family members are reluctant to live in China. Thus, in contrast to the management of the firm in Italy, family members are not engaged in day-to-day decision-making in production and distribution in China. Instead they rely on hired managers who are not family members. This new generation of Italian transnational managers is developing local cultural knowledge that is becoming increasingly important as the portion of the firms' revenues derived from business activities in China and other Asian markets grows. Transnational expansion thus poses some crucial challenges to both the management structure and identity of Italian entrepreneurial families whose sense of distinction has derived from their location in the social landscape of Italy.