McDonald, Charles Alan, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Jewish Relations: Conversion, Inheritance, and the 'Return to Sepharad' in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Ann L. Stoler
Preliminary abstract: In 1492, nearly a millennium of Jewish civilization on the Iberian Peninsula was extinguished when Spain decreed that all unconverted Jews would be expelled from the land known in Hebrew as Sepharad. Five centuries later, immigrants, converts, and the state are dramatically reconfiguring the place of Jews and Judaism in Spain. Although Jewish conversion, cultural heritage, and immigration are commonly taken to be multiple manifestations of a single
phenomenon--the 'return to Sepharad'--my research investigates the divergent actors and objectives that animate these projects to understand how the enactment of such 'returns'--whether of contemporary neighborhoods to medieval landscapes, of Spaniards to Judaism, or of Sephardic Jews to Spain--reconfigure debates about the nature of Jewish personhood, history, and the pressing contemporary question of coexistence. My study is guided by questions in three domains where claims to the Jewish past and present are made: (1) Conversion: How and when is an individual's Jewishness recognized as a historical fact or a future possibility? (2) Inheritance: What concepts and materials make it possible to claim people, places, and objects as Jewish inheritance? (3) Coexistence: How do Jews figure in debates about the potential for the celebrated medieval convivencia of Jews, Christians, and Muslims to serve as a template for contemporary multicultural inclusion? Unlike scholarship that focuses on the exclusion of Europe's religious minorities, my project instead examines the inclusion--however uneven and contradictory--of Jewish people and history in Spain in an
effort to shed new light on the vexed conditions of European multiculturalism.
Panagiotopoulos, Helen, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Question of Money: State, Protest, and Informal Currencies in the Wake of Greece's Economic Crisis,' supervised by Dr. Ida Susser
Preliminary abstract: Since the 2008 government debt crisis Greeks have relied on the circulation of multiple informal currencies--trading goods and services without euros. These social and solidarity economies seek to reclaim community resources for local citizens in protest of the staggering inequalities precipitated by Greece's rising government debt, privatization of public assets, and structural reforms. People use local exchange trading schemes like barter, time banks, and mutual credit clearing, and crypto currencies like bitcoin and free coin just to survive in a context where coinage is scarce. Using a multi-sited approach utilizing interviews, participant observation, extended case analysis, and periodical and online database over a period of fifteen months, this multi-sited dissertation research examines how the circulation of multiple currencies not recognized by the state shape social and political life and understandings of money and value. It analyzes how Greeks and migrants use local currencies to redefine the boundaries of nation in the context of a single European currency.
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.
Razsa, Dr. Maple John, Colby College, Waterville, ME - To aid filmmaking on 'The Maribor Uprising: An Interactive Documentary' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: During the winter of 2012-2013, a wave of popular protest erupted in widespread rioting that brought down the mayor of the once thriving industrial city of Maribor - and then forced the resignation of the national government. Drawing on an archive of activist footage, 'The Maribor Uprisings: an Interactive Documentary' (co-directed with Milton Guillen) will provide audiences with a sensory and embodied experience of these protests. In addition to situating them amidst the jostling protesters, the film will reflect on the ambivalent and politically divisive questions of confrontational protest and its affects, questions that have been raised with increasing urgency in the 'global uprisings' of recent years, from the Arab Spring, thought the Occupy Movement, to popular outrage against police violence in Ferguson, Oakland and Baltimore.
Horne, Brian Arthur, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on ''Save Our Souls': Russian Bards and the Sound of State Transformation,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
BRIAN A. HORNE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on ''Save Our Souls:' Russian Bards and the Sound of State Transformation,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. This research project examines how Russian bardic song (bardovskaia pesnia), a formerly censored and unofficial cultural phenomenon of the late Soviet period, figures in the expression and contestation of different political histories and anxieties about changing sociopolitical conditions in Moscow. By examining the private commoditization, public memorialization and official valorization of bardic music today in public and private institutional sites of bardic music performance and commemoration, this research illuminates the often subtle ways in which personal and institutional positions about generational, social and political change are negotiated, experienced and reinscribed at the level of music, aesthetics, and affect. As formerly contraband music that circulated through underground exchange networks during the Soviet era, this genre now serves as a touchstone for interpersonal and national political understandings and arguments about the nature of the relationship between the Russian present, past and future, and broader discourses about the state and fate of Russia.
Scheffel, Dr. David Z., U. College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, B.C., Canada - To aid research on 'Patterns of Relations Between Rural Roma and Ethnic Slovaks'
DR. DAVID Z. SCHEFFEL, University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Patterns of Relations Between Rural Roma and Ethnic Slovaks.' The research carried out as part of this grant sought to assess variation in the quality of relations between rural Roma and ethnic Slovaks in the Presov district of eastern Slovakia. Five ethnically mixed villages were visited between January and June 2004, and informants representing both groups were interviewed in order to obtain insight into emic methods employed in the determination of the quality of local relations. The methods themselves were found to be highly asymmetrical since they favor the (Slovak) majority community. Although Romani commentators are well aware and often critical of this asymmetry, they nevertheless accept the standards imposed on them and use them to evaluate their own standing as well as that of neighboring groups. The most important standards are those of cultural refinement and deviance. Roma who score well on these, that is, those who are 'cultured' and law-abiding, become known as 'good gypsies', and their communities may become quite well integrated into the local majority society. On the other hand, Roma who exhibit a marked deficit in both realms are branded as 'bad gypsies' and barred from other than fleeting intercourse with ethnic Slovaks. Since the examined settings differ little in terms of socioeconomic variables, it appears that the roots of the observed distinctions go back to the era of early socialism when higher-order integrationist efforts in the realms of housing and education were received and implemented with varying degrees of enthusiasm and cooperation by municipal authorities.
Scheffel, David Z.. 2005. Svinia in Black and White: Slovak Roma and their Neighbours. Broadview Ethnographies & Case Studies. Broadview Press: Toronto
Scheffel, David. 2008. Ethnic Micropolotics in Eastern Europe: A Case Study from Slovakia’s Gypsy Archipelago. Anthropology Today 24(4):23-25.
Ketchum, Frederick Benjamin, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Redesigning Human Nature: An Anthropology of Enhancement Drugs in Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar
FREDERICK B. KETCHUM, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Redesigning Human Nature: An Anthropology of Enhancement Drugs in Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar. This research ethnographically examined the phenomena of 'enhancement' in Germany, or the use of medical treatments by individuals who are not sick to improve performance or mood. Currently, most technologies that can be used for improvement purposes are prescription pharmaceuticals. Most of the literature on this topic comes from bioethics, which deals with important ethical questions about whether using enhancements is unnatural, if this use threatens individuals' identity, if everyone should have access to these medications, and what the consequences for broader society are. This project added to existing ethical analyses by focusing on qualitative, ethnographic data about the discourses around enhancement in Germany, and experiences of individuals using those medications. Research found that much of the public concern about enhancements is due to anxieties about changes in global market regimes and labor markets, and expectations for productivity and achievement. Those individuals using enhancements reported sharing these concerns, but also using enhancements as a way to meet the expectations they perceived. Given that those drugs used for enhancement are generally used for treatment, research also investigated the relationship of enhancement to medical practice, to situate medicine in its wider social context, in which desires for self-improvement are an everyday fact of life.
Bendix, Dr. Regina, Georg-August U., Gottingen, Germany - To aid conference on 'Among others: conflict and encounter in European and Mediterranean societies,' 2004, Marseille, France, in collaboration with Dr. Denis Chevalier
'Among Others: Conflict and Encounter in Europe and the Mediterranean,' April 26-30, 2004, Marseille, France -- Organizers: Regina Bendix (Georg-August University, Gottingen, Germany) and Denis Chevalier (Musée National des Art et Traditions Populaire, Marseille, France). This conference brought together ethnologists, social anthropologists, and folklorists, predominantly from Europe and the Mediterranean region. Organized jointly by the scholarly organizations Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore (eighth congress) and the Association d'Anthropologie Méditerranéenne (ADAM, third congress), the meeting brought more than 400 scholars to Marseille, France, where they explored subthemes in 35 workshops. The event opened with a plenary lecture by Christian Bromberger (Aix-en-Provence), who crafted a presentation intertwining the eight congress subthemes. Six further plenary sessions (Barbro Klein, Susan Slyomovics, Mohamed Tozi, Daniel Miller, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Jasna Capo-Zmegac) explored the three organizing divisions of the congress, 'Region, Space, Territory,' 'Religion and Ideology,' and 'Material Culture and Systems of Representation.' Bilingual proceedings were to be published in Marseille by the conference host, the Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et de la Méditerranée.
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
July 24, 2008
Tesar, Catalina Constantina, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania - To aid training in social-cultural anthropology at U. College London, United Kingdom, supervised by Prof. Michael Sinclair Stewart