Kideckel, Dr. D., Central CT St. U., New Britain, CT; and Mihailescu, Dr. Vintila, Nat'l School for Political & Admin. Studies, Bucuresti, Romania - To aid collaborative research on 'Citizenship & Changing Political Identity In Two Globalizing Societies'
Alexiu, Dr. Teodor Mircea, West U. of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania - To aid 4th InASEA conference on 'Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe,' 2007, Timisoara, in collaboration with Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer
'Region, Regional Identity And Regionalism In Southeastern Europe'
May 24-27, 2007, West University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania
Organizers: Dr. Teodor Mercea Alexiu (West University of Timisoara) and Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer (Free University - Berlin)
The conference brought together 137 researchers from 23 countries of southeastern Europe, the European Union, and the United States. It was organized by the International Association for Southeast European Anthropology (InASEA) and the Department of Sociology-Anthropology from the Faculty of Sociology and Psychology, West University of Timisoara. The conference aimed to stimulate a more systematic and problem-oriented research in regionalism matters of southeastern Europe and to enable contacts between specialists in the field, and thus open up an exchange of research results. Focusing on the region of southeastern Europe, participants at the conference discussed issues such as regional cultures and their construction, regional identities, everyday 'functioning' of regions, cross-border regions, social and cultural consequences of regional disparities and regional identities. The conference was made possible with support from Wenner-Gren, West University of Timisoara, Sudosteuropa-Gesellschaft (Germany), Timosoara's Mayoralty and the Local Council, and the city's Ethnographic Museum.
Vilageliu, Dr. Roger Canals, U. of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain - To aid filmmaking on 'Afro-Venezuelan Rituals in Barcelona: A Comparative Study of Religious Nomadism through Film' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: 'Gods in motion' is a film about the practice of Afro-Venezuelan religious rituals in Barcelona (Spain). The project focuses on the cult of María Lionza, a highly popular Afro-American ritual in Venezuela in which episodes of spirit possession are common. At the same time, the film will show how the celebration in honor of San Juan Batista is introduced in Barcelona, combining with the Catalan celebration of Sant Joan, and will demonstrate the practice of the cult of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, patron saint of the region of Maracaibo. All three cults are closely related and mutually complement each other. By following a group of believers and a cult groups made up of both Catalans and Venezuelans, the film will show how these religions are adapted to a new cultural context, being modified and incorporating elements of local culture. The film aims to contribute significantly to current debates about diaspora, religion and transnationalism. 'Gods in Motion' is an innovative film which combines images filmed in Venezuela with others filmed in Barcelona. Through this 'transcultural montage', the film aims to show the continuities and discontinuities which emerge from a religious practice when this takes on a transnational dimension.
Lofink, Hayley Elizabeth, U. of Oxford, Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents, in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek
HAYLEY ELIZABETH LOFINK, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek. Research on the health behavior of low-income, ethnic minorities has assumed that the poor are uneducated, and that if delivered the necessary knowledge, behavior will change. If poor nutrition and low levels of activity are attributed solely to individual-level decision making, it is unlikely that broader social and structural influences will be acknowledged. This research employed a biocultural framework to examine socio-cultural and political-economic factors influencing dietary and activity patterns and resulting underweight, overweight and obesity among British Bangladeshi adolescents (aged 11-14 years old) from low-income families in East London. Quantitative (anthropometry and survey data) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews and participant observation) methods were integrated to develop a nuanced understanding of adolescent weight, dietary and activity patterns, and the local level and larger scale processes influencing those patterns. Quantitative analysis will include multinomial logistic regression and other techniques to test the relative importance of a range of factors affecting weight status. Narrative analysis will be used to explain statistical results in order to move beyond a mere documentation of a relationship between poverty and obesity, and offer explanations of how local and broader level factors influence health inequalities in this context.
Carroll, Jennifer Jean, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Choosing Methadone: Managing Addiction and the Body Politic in Post-Soviet Ukraine,' supervised by Dr. Laada Bilaniuk
Preliminary abstract: In recent years, interventions targeting the HIV and intravenous drug use epidemics in Ukraine have been supported by some of the largest international public health grants in the world. This has given leverage to European and North American biomedical approaches to drug use and addiction, which stand in stark contrast to Soviet-era approaches to addiction. Biomedical paradigms are gaining traction and forcing addicts and public health workers, alike, to change the way that they think about the connections between drug use, addiction, and mental health. Methadone therapy is hailed by Western biomedicine as an effective medical treatment for addiction, which is viewed as a maladaptive medical disorder. This research questions these definitions, and asks whether drug use and drug treatment can be seen as adaptive behaviors, and whether addicts seek methadone treatment for its purported medical benefits at all. Via ethnographic research in L'viv, Ukraine--a city that lies culturally and geographically in the space where Europe and the former Soviet Union meet--this project will explore how drug users incorporate these new public health infrastructures into their addiction and into their personal strategies for navigating new political economies in an increasingly neoliberal Ukraine.
Murphy, Dr. Liam D., California State U., Sacramento, CA - To aid research and writing on 'A City of Spirit: Religion and Social Change in Belfast, Northern Ireland' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. LIAM D. MURPHY, California State University Sacramento, was awarded a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in June 2005 to aid research and writing on 'A City of Spirit: Religion and Social Change in Belfast, Northern Ireland.' Funding assisted writing of a book-length manuscript based on the grantee's doctoral and post-doctoral research among charismatic Christians in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The project examines relations among religiosity, ideas about the self, and socio-political transformations currently underway in Belfast. In particular, the project looks at changes to religiosity stimulated by 1998's Belfast Agreement and 2006's St. Andrew's Agreement - which have seemingly brought the region's low-level civil conflict (the 'Troubles') to an end. Whereas religion has helped to define community boundaries and ideas about self in relation to society since the sixteenth century, the character and purpose of religion in the 'new' Belfast is now subject to a different form of scrutiny and revision. The future status of religion as a marker of identity and selfhood is in doubt. Participants in an ecumenical, evangelically-driven charismatic 'renewal' devise occasions and language of religious devotion that hybridize embodied and ecstatic experience, ideas about civil society in Northern Ireland, Europe, and elsewhere, ritualized practices that embrace elements of Northern Ireland ritual tradition transformed to emphasize social unity, theories of historical change that minimize social difference.
Dzenovska, Dace, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'From Multi-Ethnic Socialism to Multicultural Europe: Difference and European Integration in Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak
DACE DZENOVSKA, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, Califonia, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'From Multi-Ethnic Socialism to Multicultural Europe: Difference and European Integration in Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak. The research set out to examine how the European present and the Soviet past constitute contemporary forms of liberalism and multiculturalism in Latvia. It suggested that rather than arriving in Latvia fully formed, it is in Latvia that Europe, liberalism, and multiculturalism are made. Ethnographic research focused on discourses and practices of tolerance and immigration control, while the former aim to incite individuals to reflect on the boundaries they draw between themselves and others and to cultivate a particular ethical disposition towards difference, the latter police the borders of the territory and the national body. Research findings suggest that Europe, multiculturalism, and liberalism are highly contested and heterogeneous sets of practices. While exhibiting liberal inclinations, dicourses and practices of tolerance and multiculturalism are also shaped by the influential articulation of state legitimacy with the integrity and sovereignty of the cultural nation and understandings of good life grounded in a particular way of life. Further analysis will consider how liberal practices, both state and non-state, are enabled by and themselves enable particular ways of life. How does one engage with nationalism as a particular way of life without either rendering it as fundamentally problematic or becoming complicit in its troubling renditions of difference?
Dzenovska, Dace, 2010. Making 'The People' Political Imaginaries and the Materiality of Barricades in Mexico and Latvia. Laboratorium (3):5-16.
Dzenovska, Dace. 2010. Public Reason and the Limits of Liberal Anti-Racism in Latvia. Ethnos 75(4):425-454.
Dzenovska, Dace, and Ivan Arenas. 2012. Don't Fence Me In: Barricade Sociality and Political Struggles in Mexico and Latvia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 54(3):644-678.
Pocs, Dr. Eva, U. of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary - To aid workshop on 'Spirit Possession. European Contributions to Comparative Studies,' 2012, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pecs, in collaboration with Dr.Andras Zempleni
Preliminary abstract: European conceptions and rituals of spirit possession described by historians and ethnographers of Western and Eastern Europe have never been compared systematically with those observed by anthropologists elsewhere in the world. This workshop intends to trigger an exchange of ideas between qualified representatives of these oddly separated research communities in order to reformulate some basic questions recently raised in comparative anthropology of possession. Anthropological studies are still rooted in European notions of body-soul dualism, concepts of self and personhood, and they convey a whole set of presuppositions inherited from Christian models of ?good' and ?bad' possession. This legacy and these lasting presuppositions will be reviewed in a debate with historians of Europe going back to their origins. We expect a significant contribution of the workshop to ongoing anthropological attempts to redefine the very notion of possession to be freed from the western notion of the self and more clearly delineated from related idioms such as witchcraft, devotion, mysticism etc. European studies which have long been faced at a diachronic level with the thorny issue of delineation may both contribute to and benefit from ongoing anthropological studies focused on interactive transformations of official and popular concepts of possession competing in the contemporary transnationalized religious spaces of the Americas. New field data to be presented on the contents of messages issued by North-Indian and Malagasy mediums in a state of trance may incite both camps to revise former ideas on the nature of 'communication' triggered by trance. A pioneering anthropological approach, experimentally extended to European models, will address African possession rites as a form of indigenous historiography. This perspective promises to become another meaningful meeting point between Europeanists, Africanists, Americanists and Indianists.
Grant, Dr. Bruce M., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Cosmos and Cosmopolitanism in the Azeri Caucasus'
DR. BRUCE M. GRANT, New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Cosmos and Cosmopolitanism in the Azeri Caucasus.' Despite centuries of participation in Silk Road trade and evidence of intense linguistic, religious, and cultural pluralisms, the mountainous Caucasus region has long been thought of as a 'closed society,' unwelcoming to outsiders. Through a project on the life of a small but regionally famous village in rural northwest Azerbaijan over the course of the twentieth century, the grantee combined extended field and archival research to consider the manifold but rarely documented ways that the Caucasus region has deeply embedded in economic, political, religious, and social networks across Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond. The research found fresh accounts of Sufi-style networks across Azerbaijan, and worked with a number of local religious leaders who considered that the hard-won religious traditions preserved in the late Soviet period compare in some respects more favorably, paradoxically, to those practiced today in a time of expanded religious tolerance. With this ethnographic approach to cultural history, the goal of this research was to better understand the Soviet project itself, as well as the logics of sovereignty in a world area too long known only for its violence.
Rubin, Jonah S., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Re-membering the Spanish Civil War: Thanatopolitics and the Making of Modern Citizens in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff
JONAH S. RUBIN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Re-Membering the Spanish Civil War: Thanatopolitics and the Making of Modern Citizens in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff. This research project consisted of a multi-sited ethnographic study of the Spanish historical memory movements, a loose conglomeration of NGOs, academics, and individuals dedicated to locating, exhuming, and honoring Republican and civilian victims of the Spanish Civil War. It sought to answer: What is meant by the term 'historical memory' as it is deployed on the ground? How do the memory movements go about the work of re-membering and honoring the dead? What is the place of the dead in the formation of a liberal-democratic polity? Answering these questions required research at diverse sites where the work of re-membering the dead takes place. These included exhumations and reburials of victims, weekly protests demanding government action on behalf of the disappeared, NGO offices dedicated to investigating the fate of the deceased, formal and inform education programs, state archives, and a wide variety of ceremonies, public lectures, and conferences organized by the movements. Ultimately, this research seeks to empirically demonstrate that, even in the context of regime change, the crimes of past regimes continue to effect the nation in complex, but discernable ways. While remembering the dead is certainly not a straightforward matter of reconstructing the past, it is through this work that ideals of citizenship and democracy are worked out.