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.
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.
Kim, Dong Ju, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on ''True Modern Scientific Agriculture': Interactive Knowledge of Soil Nutrients among Farmers and Scientists in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
DONG JU KIM, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in April 2008, to aid research on ''True Modern Scientific Agriculture:' Interactive Knowledge of Soil Nutrients among Farmers and Scientists in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This project examined the impact of EU agricultural policy in Poland and its implications for ecologically sustainable management of state-owned and private farmlands. The grantee expected that the new policy and environmental standards, although designed to sustain small farmers and the environment, would be better observed and more effective in former state farms with state-owned lands. It was discovered that corporate farm managers often criticized the European Union because they believed direct subsidies enabled small farmers to survive, thus keeping Polish agriculture from developing towards modern European standards. Private farmers, on the other hand, contended that taking good care of the soil and practicing environmentally responsible agriculture could only happen with thorough care and knowledge of owned land. The barriers corporate farms faced in practicing sustainability were declining profitability and the fact that employees did not care as much about the soil and environmental consequences. In contrast, small farmers did care for the soil but learned changes slowly, and had to deal with lower profits and more uncertainty with limited crops. However, small farmers and corporate farm managers agreed that continued distribution of information about proper dosages of chemical fertilizer and herbicide is essential for profitable and sustainable cultivation.
Borodina, Svetlana, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Governing Productive (Dis)Abilities: The Inkluzivnyi Work Regime and Moral Citizenship in Russia,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion
Preliminary abstract: The focus of this research is the ongoing attempts by Russian policy makers and corporate managers to institute an inkluzivnyi (inclusive, singular) work regime. In contrast to the previous policies of disability marginalization and isolation (McCagg and Siegelbaum 1989; Phillips 2010), this initiative has been construed as a way of building an integrative, more just and moral society. The inkluzivnyi work regime recruits disabled and nondisabled employees to labor together in shared environments. A growing number of entrepreneurially-minded people with disabilities and disability NGOs have expressed support for this initiative. Yet it remains unclear if this work regime indeed produces better rehabilitated disabled subjects and more moral citizens, in general. Through participant observation and interviews in the regional Ministry of Social Policy and disability inclusive firms, I will investigate what this regime is actually productive of. Particularly, I will examine (1) what kinds of persons inkluzivnyie (inclusive, plural) workplaces invite and exclude, (2) how this initiative changes and challenges work cultures, and finally, (3) what possibilities and shortcomings it offers to the governors. In order to generate an ethnographic understanding of how the crafting and implementation of this initiative affects disabled and nondisabled subjects, I will conduct twelve months of fieldwork in Yekaterinburg, Russia, a regional administration center with a vibrant disability scene. In bringing this context into dialogue with anthropological scholarship on governance, disability, care, ethics, and work, I will ultimately generate insights about how a neoliberalizing state governs the productive (dis)ability as a technique to produce moral citizens.
Tishkov, Dr. Valery A., Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia - To aid research on 'Anthropology of Complaint: Changing Life Perceptions, Identities and Outside World Images in Transforming Russia'
DR. VALERY TISHKOV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, was awarded a grant in January 2001, to aid research on 'Anthropology of Complaint:Changing Life Perceptions, Identities and Outside World Images in Transforming Russia.' This research is a basic revision of the crisis paradigm in Russia based on a study of complaints, fears, and concerns demonstrated through surveys and participant observations by different strata, regional and cultural groups of the country. Research disclosed disparities between 'real life' improvements for the majority of Russian people and its negative perceptions dominant in public and academic discourses. The reasons for disparities and miscalculations lie in inadequate expert analysis of a rapidly changing society, in political instrumentalism, in mental inertia of producers alld consumers of elitist prescriptions. Several basic conclusions are meaningful for anthropological analysis of social change. The society overloaded with changes can perceive in negative terms even changes to the good. The growing complexity and uncertainties represent a challenge that is difficult to meet for post-Soviet populace accustomed to one-dimtnsional thinking, state protection, and a strictly controlled social life. At the same time, highly educated populace in Russia demonstrated innovative strategies and reached unprecedented level of consumption, often through extra-legal entrepreneurial activities. Complaint became a part of collective and individual strategjes to get more sympathy and material rewards. But the structureof complaints shows that Russia is a normal country where people are more concerned with basic needs in socia! conditions and individual success then in collective aspirations, such as a country status or ethnic group sovereignty. People in Russia are muddling through transformations as people do in other societies. This research helps to overcome a real crisis of understanding on how societies change and how people perceive and use these changes.
Luehrmann, Sonja, U.of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Secular Transformations and Interreligious Relations in Postsoviet Marli El, Russian Federation,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon
SONJA LUEHRMANN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in June 2005 to aid research on 'Secular Transformations and Interreligious Relations in Postsoviet Marli El, Russian Federation,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon. Through ethnographic fieldwork in religious organizations in the Republic of Marii EI (an autonomous republic in the Volga region) and archival research with the records of Soviet organizations involved in atheist propaganda from the 1950s to the 1970s, this research aimed at answering the questions: What material and human resources from Soviet secular culture do postsoviet religious activists draw on, how do they transform these resources for religious purposes, and what impact does this have on public life in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious region? Findings showed that part of the Soviet legacy is a large part of the population trained in doing ideological work aiming at making people engage with doctrinal principles through pedagogical forms which are still in use in the service of religious organizations today. Soviet efforts to create a mosaic of secular ethnic cultures also contributed to the currently widespread idea that there should be a match between ethnic and religious affiliation, which is used as an organizing and legitimizing principle by different religious organizations and government institutions. Similarities between Soviet-era communist and post-Soviet religious propaganda are in part due to biographical and institutional continuities, in part to common responses to the problem of making doctrine a part of people's lives.
Deleporte, Sarah F., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Musee du quai Branly: Anthropology, Art and the Cultural Politics of Alterity in France,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler
SARAH F. DELEPORTE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in November 2003 to aid research on 'The Musee du quai Branly: Anthropology, Art, and the Cultural Politics of Alterity in France,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler. The dissertation research supported by this grant consisted of an ethnographic study of the creation of the Musee du quai Branly, France's newest national museum devoted to extra-European arts and civilizations, opening in Paris in 2006. Designed as both a museum of fine arts and of human sciences, the museum is officially slated to foster admiration, respect, and curiosity for cultural diversity in French society. Since the 18th century, the French state has consistently invested in museums as part of a matrix of citizen-forming tools (including public schools, universities, and ministerial training schools) meant to educate and cohere the nation's diverse populations. In the 21st century, the creation of the Quai Branly Museum has created a domino effect in French cultural policy, most notably spurring mandates to create two additional national museums, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseilles and the National Center for the History of Immigration in Paris. In the midst of extensive administrative reform and structural change, the French national museums are confronting their institutional legacy and providing new possibilities for the practice of anthropology in museums as well as for an anthropological understanding of the role museums play in the nation-building efforts of contemporary, multicultural societies.
Zontine, Angelina Ione, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Remaking the Political in 'Fortress Europe': Cultural and Political Practice n Italian Social Centers,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline L. Urla
ANGELINA IONE ZONTINE, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Remaking the Political in 'Fortress Europe:' Cultural and Political Practice In Italian Social Centers,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline L. Urla. This research project investigates the political activism and creation of culture being carried out at collectively run social centers in Bologna, Italy. Described by participants as 'laboratories' for the creation of alternative modes of exchange, interaction (between native-born Italians and migrants), socializing, and extra-electoral political participation, these centers would seem to provide an example of active citizenship as participants enact political engagement through a range of cultural practices. In a seeming paradox, however, these centers are censured by authorities and targeted for relocation as part of ongoing 'security'-oriented campaigns against 'illegality' and 'urban blight' that cast social centers as fonts of illegal and 'uncivil' activity. Using participant observation, interviews and discourse analysis, the research project investigates the character and internal organization of these social center order to discern the opportunities afforded and tensions generated by this form of political engagement. At the same time, it explores the controversy surrounding Bolognese social centers in order to explore how participants struggle to rework or enlarge the restrictive parameters of belonging and participation in the natoinal and political communities of both the city and the nation-state, thus engaging and opposing prevailing models of citizenship.
Mursic, Rajko, U. of Ljubljana, Slovenia - To aid 10th EASA conference on 'Experiencing Diversity and Mutuality,' 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
'Experiencing Diversity and Mutuality: The 10th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists'
August 26-29, 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Organizer: Rajko Mursic (University of Ljubljana)
The 10th biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) aimed to explore public discourse on diversity and cross-cultural communication and highlight the underestimated aspects of mutuality, such as the borrowing of practices and beliefs. Approximately 1,200 international scientists attended the conference and participated in 121 workshops and presented 1,040 papers. They also participated in plenary sessions, round tables, network meetings, special events, etc. Funding from Wenner-Gren Foundation was used to defray travel and accommodations for 52 participants, as well as provide support for the 'Claude Levi-Strauss Centennial Tribute' as well as the Levi-Strauss Chill-out Room, which presented videos about the scholar and his books. The exhibition was an opportunity for younger scholars and students of anthropology and related sciences to learn more about the famous ethnologist.