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.
Rees, Dr. Tobias, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The Plastic Brain: An Ethnography of the Emergence of Adult Cerebral Plasticity Research and its Impact on Neuroscience as We Knew it'
Preliminary abstract: For much of the twentieth century the human brain was viewed as a neurochemical machine organized in synaptic circuits, governed by synaptic communication. What led neuroscientists to assign the synapse such a privileged role were two nineteenth century observations -- that humans are born with a definite number of neurons and that, once development ended, the neuronal structure becomes essentially fixed. Synapses, specifically synaptic communication, appeared as the only dynamic element of an otherwise immutable brain and were henceforth seen as the key for understanding the nervous system. When, in the late 1990s, first reports on the massive birth of new neurons in the adult human brain were reported, the century old belief in adult cerebral fixity was profoundly shattered -- and the centrality of the synapse doubted.
In this project I ethnographically explore the most sweeping impact the rise of adult neurogenesis research has on neuroscientific understandings of the brain, its diseases, and its humans. I document the shift away from a thoroughly fixed to a profoundly plastic vision of homo cerebralis.
Marchesi, Milena, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Remaking Subjects: Cultural Politics, Practices, and Technologies of Fertility in Italy,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Louise Krause
MILENA MARCHESI, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Remaking Subjects: Cultural Politics, Practices, and Technologies of Fertility in Italy,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth L. Krause. Through multi-sited research that included participant observation and volunteering in a family planning clinic, feminist organizations, immigrant associations, and the training of cultural mediators, the grantee traced the intensifying politics and discourses of reproduction in contemporary Italy, which include anxieties over immigration and over low fertility rates among native Italian women. This dissertation project aimed to answer the following question: How do contested and contradictory politics of reproduction materialize and contribute to remaking new and old reproductive subjects in Italy? Participant observation and interviews with Italian native women and immigrant women engaged in cultural mediation and immigrant activism shed light on the intersections of the projects of 'integration' of difference. The reordering of social reproduction in contemporary Italy engenders resistance among those who recognize themselves as targets of re/integration and its inevitable corollary of exclusion: most obviously immigrants, but also those who do not fit into the heteronormative and reproductive family model. In foregrounding the narratives and practices of those identified as a threat to cohesive social reproduction, this research sheds light on the effects of political attempts at coherence-making.
Buier, Natalia Cornelia, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'Past Remembered, Present Opposed: Historical Memory and Labor Contention in the Spanish Railway Sector,' supervised by Dr. Don Kalb
NATALIA C. BUIER, then a student at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, received a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Past Remembered, Present Opposed: Historical Memory and Labor Contention in the Spanish Railway Sector,' supervised by Dr. Don Kalb. The anthropology of memory has made essential contributions to the study of the plural experiences of the past and their cultural articulation. It has, however, encountered a limit in its focus on representation and discursive formations. This project contributes to the emerging field of anthropology of labor and memory through an investigation of the way in which historical representation enables and conditions collective organization in the railway sector and is a structuring force in debates over the public utility model. Using the strategic lens of the post-Francoist history of labor mobilization in the largest public company of Spain, the project argues that alternative development models are shaped by uneven access to instruments of historical representation. The ethnographic investigation follows three main topics: the making of narratives of progress and decline of the national railways; an account of the transformation of the field of organized labor and the role played by plural representations of the past in the process; and, finally, the relationship between historical memory, the moral economy of indebtedness and the unmaking of the labor force as a collective political subject.
Jansen, Dr. Stefaan, U. of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom - To aid workshop on 'Towards an Anthropology of Hope? Comparative Post-Yugoslav Ethnographies,' 2007, Manchester, in collaboration with Dr. Elissa L. Helms
'Towards an Anthropology of Hope? Comparative Post-Yugoslav Ethnographies,'
November 9-11, 2007, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Organizers: Dr. Stefaan Jansen (University of Manchester) and Dr. Elissa L. Helms (Central European University - Budapest)
This workshop was the first opportunity for a new wave of anthropologists working on the post-Yugoslav states - both 'insiders' and 'outsiders' -- to engage in a collective agenda-setting exercise on the comparative basis of their own ethnographic work. Its objective was two-fold. First, with the help of senior scholars working in other East European states, participants worked to de-provincialize the anthropology of the post-Yugoslav states by putting it in long-overdue conversation with the anthropology of postsocialism. Second, and more controversially, workshop participants debated the feasibility of placing a notion of 'hope' at the center of the study of social transformation. In addition to these theoretical and analytical explorations aiming to push the boundaries of anthropology, the workshop also functioned as the launch event for a collaborative network of anthropologists interested in bringing a sense of futurity to the study of societies that are often defined as stuck in their (Balkan) past. A second conference on those themes is scheduled to take place in Chicago in 2008.
Paladi-Kovacs, Dr. Attila, Institute of Ethnology, Budapest, Hungary - To aid conference on times, places, passages: ethnological approaches in the new millennium, 2001, Institute of Ethnology, in collaboration with Dr. Peter Neidermuller
Pettit, Matthew David, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Free Life: Healing the Alcoholic Self in Paris,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
Preliminary abstract: A research project investigating Vie Libre, a mutual-aid association for alcoholics in Paris, France. Over 10 months, I will use participant observation to examine how the group's understanding of healing ('guérison') and the healed alcoholic ('buveur guéri') is changing through their increasing subjection to new social and material conditions. These include various forms of precariousness and isolation, the perceived decline of the public ethos of solidarity, as well as new patterns of alcohol consumption (e.g. binge drinking among the young, co-morbid dependencies). My focus is on concrete instances of self-definition and relation, particularly in their weekly 'talking groups,' but including outreach efforts at hospitals and schools and their participation in public events. This perspective will include the ways in which medical and psychological treatments and strategies enter into my informants' lives as core tools in their self-making. The research centres on the two Parisian chapters of the group, and combines person-centred approaches, namely, long-form interviews and participant-observation of the daily lives and organizational initiatives of the group members, with an analysis of broader social phenomena. These include the history and shifting role of 'associations' in French civic society, increasing material precariousness due to short-term contracts and unemployment, and the rhetorics that shape, sustain and limit demands on the state and its citizens.
Roy, Arpita, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Particle Physics and the Anthropology of Right and Left,' supervised by Dr. Paul Rabinow
ARPITA ROY, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Particle Physics and the Anthropology of Right and Left,' supervised by Dr. Paul Rabinow. In November 2009, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland, is slated to start high-energy proton collisions as a probe into the structure of matter and forces of nature. The research project inquires into modern cosmology through a specific and concrete concept -- chirality or handedness -- with the underlying question, 'What does physics admit of orientation?' If physics presupposes a separation of mind and matter, or subject and object, then how can it base a physical universe with a preferred orientation? If it does not, then what is the relevance of handedness in its discourse? As an object of study in symbolic classification, handedness has a rich genealogy in anthropological thought. The project draws upon and integrates classical anthropological themes with ongoing fieldwork experience at CERN to establish how the concept acquires its present rationality in the framework of relativistic quantum mechanics and symmetries of space-time. Not only are particular concepts (of physics) like momentum, velocity or spin implicated in the study of chirality, but also other abstract ones of space, substance, relation, and form. It is to this discussion that the research makes a contribution. The research is timely both for what it says about the substantive nature of physics and about collaborative practices more generally.
Demetriou, Dr. Olga, Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Insecure Minorities in Conditions of Ethnic Antagonism in the Balkans and Cyprus'
DR. OLGA DEMETRIOU, of Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, was awarded a grant in June 2002 to aid research on insecure minorities under conditions of ethnic antagonism in the Balkans and Cyprus. Demetriou investigated political expressions of marginalized identities from a comparative social anthropological perspective, bringing together research previously carried out in Balkan Greece and ethnographic research in multiple sites on Cyprus. This latter part of the project was designed to compare the experience of marginalization by different groups of Turkish Cypriots living in southern Cyprus. Demetriou compared groups in urban 'ghettos' such as that of the old Turkish quarter of the town of Limassol with those living in historically mixed villages such as Potamya, a village close to the dividing Green Line, which throughout the period of communal separation remained demographically bi-communal. She examined how 'ethnic' difference became instituted in state and legal structures; how Greek and Turkish Cypriot 'coexistence' was conceptualized and manifested in the southern part of the island; and the impact of state policies on the treatment of Turkish Cypriots in an environment of perpetuated political suspension. Following the relaxation of movement restrictions across the island's dividing line in April 2003, she also turned to the ways in which the accommodation of Turkish Cypriots in Greek Cypriot discourse and governmental policy shifted, as well as how the concept of 'coexistence' was reconfigured in official and unofficial rhetoric on both sides of the island. The results of the project were to be incorporated into ongoing research on marginalization and the experience of citizenship in the southeastern Mediterranean.
Demetriou, Olga. 2007 To Cross or Not to Cross? Subjectivization and the Absent State in Cyprus. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13(4):987-1006.
Hothi, Randeep S., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Sikhism Will Be Televised: Recognition and Religion-Making amongst British Sikhs,' supervised by Dr. Arvind-Pal Mandair
Preliminary abstract: The Sikh diaspora is currently undergoing rapid cultural transformation, which some scholars have likened to a 'renaissance'. Over the last fifteen years, various unexpected and creative forms of Sikh art and politics have proliferated, particularly in the UK. British Sikh television networks have been at the forefront of this movement. These community-sponsored, non-profit television networks are sites in which Sikh cultural producers come together and produce diverse programming that makes sense of the world while creatively engaging with Sikhism. I examine how British Sikh cultural producers make complicated decisions about how Sikhism should be publicly presented, which representations of Sikhism should be disseminated, and how they will address their audiences--Sikh and non-Sikh. This project uncovers the living debates, interests, and aspirations that shape British Sikh cultural production and the complicated ways that the notion of religion frames discourses about Sikhism. This research provides an opportunity to examine the wider ramifications of minority cultural production in secular societies, and the ways that minority groups articulate their own identities and socially situate themselves by addressing others.