Verkaaik, Dr. Oskar, U. of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - To aid workshop on 'Religion and Sexuality in Post-Colonial Europe: Between Categorization and Transcendence,' 2009, Amsterdam
'Religion and Sexuality in Post-Colonial Europe: Between Categorization and Transcendence'
January 29-30, 2009, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Organizer: Oskar Verkaaik (University of Amsterdam)
On the one hand, religion and sexuality are core markers in identity politics and the culturalization of citizenship, especially, but not only, in Europe today; on the other hand, religion and sexuality have the potential to transcend these very normative and cultural boundaries. This workshop explored this paradox in an ethnographic, sociological and historical way. Two main themes of the workshop were the construction of discourses on religion and sexuality in today’s new nationalisms, and the way groups of people appropriate and experience sexuality and religion against the background of the nationalist
projects. The discussions centered on how religion and sexuality are at the heart of postcolonial processes of 'othering' and sources of the authentic, subjective and sublime. The discussion focused partly on secularization and its religious -- more precisely, Christian -- genealogy. Participants explored the notion of a secular sexuality as public norm and as a
source of authenticity for both pious believers and secularists. These 'sexular' practices of self-understanding and authentification are experienced through the body. Therefore, the body became an important concept participants used to think with in their debates about the intersection of religion and sexuality.
Vucinic-Neskovic, Dr. Vesna, U. of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia & MN - To aid 3rd InASEA conference on urban life and culture in southeast Europe, 2005, Belgrade, in collaboration with Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer
'Urban Life and Culture in Southeastern Europe,' May 26-29, 2005, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro -- Organizers: Dr. Vesna Vucinic-Nesdovic and Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer. This conference was organized by the International Association for Southeast European Anthropology (InASEA), School of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade and Sudosteuropa- Gesellschaft, with the goal of opening up an interdisciplinary debate between different disciplines, such as anthropology, ethnology, folkloristics, social history, sociology, architecture and urban planning. Focusing on the region of Southeastern Europe, it revealed and analyzed the similarities and differences between life in cities that vary in size, historic, demographic, economic, social, and cultural features. It bought together 170 researchers from 18 countries of Southeastern Europe and the West, primarily from the European Union and the United States. Additional support for the conference was provided by the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (Germany), the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection, Sudosteuropa-Gesellschaft (Germany), and School of Philosophy, University of Belgrade.
Resnick, Elana Faye, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Waste, Work, and Racialization in Bulgaria,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon
ELANA F. RESNICK, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Waste, Work, and Racialization in Bulgaria,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon. This research examined disposal, collection, processing, storage, and recycling of waste in Bulgaria, focusing on the capital city, Sofia. Fieldwork addressed relations between informal waste collection (individuals collecting trash objects for re-use or resale) and formal waste management sectors. Relying on ethnographic and archival data, preliminary analyses explore waste collection in Bulgaria as deeply built on, and a result of, time's ability to pass, create, and 'waste,' as well as the physical environment's capacity to change, develop, and decompose. Through participant-observation and interviews with individual trash collectors, privately-owned trash companies, and recycling organizations, as well as visits to diverse landfill sites, this research addressed the potential for continued 'life'-and ultimate 'death'-of waste (often discussed in terms of recycling or energy-from-waste as 'life' and landfilling as 'death'). Investigating waste on a variety of scale, from the elderly who gather plastic bottles each morning, to waste management and recycling companies that collect and sort household garbage, to the practical and legal implementation of E.U. waste and environmental directives, this work looks beyond dichotomies of dirty vs. clean or animate life vs. inanimate objects, to show how personhood, sensory phenomena, and life-death processes are better understood through the study of waste.
Nunez Vega, Jorge Oswaldo, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Financial Nationalism: Imagining Catalonia through the Banking System,' supervised by Dr. Alan Klima
JORGE NUÑEZ, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Financial Nationalism: Imagining Catalonia through the Banking System,' supervised by Dr. Alan Klima. This ethnography is about the ethics and aesthetics of personal savings in Catalonia with a focus on investment and speculation. It documents the allocation of public debt amongst citizens, the purchase of toxic assets by ill-advised bank customers, and the everyday life of non-professional online traders. At the same time, it is a study of money cultures based on notions of citizenship, consumption, and technology. Its hypothesis suggests that after the housing bubble, a sizeable number of low and middle-income savers became a ready-made source of liquidity for both the Catalan government and the Spanish stock exchange system. This happened through the retailing of billions of Euros in patriotic bonds, preferred shares and subordinated debt, and financial derivatives to everyday citizens, triggering a cultural conflict between preexisting local moralities of savings and emerging global notions of investment and speculation. The main argument the study develops emerges out of a dialogue with individual savers about the morality of money. However, it also takes into account the point of view of several other key actors in the word of finance such as bankers, account managers, brokers, traders, public servants, consumer associations, financial journalists, public relation experts, activists, politicians, and online forum users.
Kuppinger, Dr. Petra Yvonne, Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL - To aid research on 'Space, Culture, and Islam in Stuttgart, Germany'
DR. PETRA YVONNE KUPPINGER, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Space, Culture, and Islam in Stuttgart, Germany.' This project examined spatial and cultural aspects in Stuttgart, Germany, where Islam has become a constituting and negotiating element. Conducting ethnographic research in three mosques and a multi-cultural neighborhood, this project examined the everyday making and remaking of urban spaces and cultures with the participation of Muslim individuals and communities. Central findings include the recognition of complex articulations of Muslims and mosque communities with the city and society. Depending on localities, ethnic and religious contexts, specific individuals, and aspects of urban politics, Muslims and mosque communities participate and shape, and are shaped, by spatial, social and cultural contexts. Mosque communities integrate into local contexts, in one case as a 'local' mosque which participates, much like a church, in community affairs. Another mosque is a vibrant social and economic center, a third is a platform for dynamic debates about what it means to be a Muslim in Germany, or increasingly a German Muslim. In the multi-cultural neighborhood, contrary to public statements, Islam does not figure as a hindrance to integration. Social, educational but also occupational disadvantages as experienced by many migrant teenagers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, figure much more prominently in this regard.
Shayduk-Immerman, Olesya, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Reinventing the Jewish Way: How the Soviet State Created the Jewish Movement by Restricting it,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak
OLESYA SHAYDUK-IMMERMAN, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Reinventing the Jewish Way: How the Soviet State Created the Jewish Movement by Restricting It,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak. Recently the mass media became agitated by a new bill advanced by the Israeli cabinet of ministers and drafted by a former Soviet Jewish politician, Zeev Elkin. The law legitimizes the Jewish character of the state of Israel and deprives Arabic of its official second language status. The world community considers such political views, typical for the former Soviet Jews, a paradox since Jews in the USSR experienced being a discriminated minority and fought for democratic changes in Soviet society. As a result, people previously regarded as victims and elevated to the ranks of heroes by the activists of the world leftist movements became subverted to the status of evildoers. Yet when observed more closely, this situation contains no paradox-the views have not changed, but the context has. Transition from socialism to western capitalism caused a significant shift in the meanings of the ideas and practices of the Soviet Jewish movement participants. In order to understand the rationalities behind their actions and statements, one has to assign them meanings relevant to Soviet socialism. The following are the most important presumptions: one cannot be neutral about their Jewishness, they have to either be proud or ashamed of it; ethnicity matters-the prevalence of class is a meaningless rhetoric of the Soviet state; anti-Semitism exists-objections against the idea of Israel as a Jewish state are anti-Semitic by their nature; the claim that Israel is an aggressor is meaningless rhetoric of the Soviet Union because in fact the policies of Israel are a defense against the neighboring enemies and, therefore, Judaism is a form of critical thinking.
Khlinovskaya Rockhill, Dr. Elena Vladimirovna, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research and writing on 'Lost to the State: Family Discontinuity, Social Orphanhood and Residential Care in the Russian Far East' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. ELENA KHLINOVSKAYA ROCKHILL, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in August 2007 to aid writing and research on 'Lost to the State: Family Discontinuity, Social Orphanhood and Residential Care Institutions in the Russian Far East.' The funding supported writing a book based on the grantee's doctoral research of social orphans, or children who have living family members but grow up in residential care institutions in post-Soviet Russia. The book examines the relationship between the family, the state and the child at the moment of a kinship breakdown, either real or imagined by the state. It demonstrates a skewed power balance based on the moral judgment of the parents. The author proposes a new way of understanding kinship through institutions and ideology with the state in a co-parenting and parenting role, which allows to negate the birth family and to provide the child with another family, that of the state and society. Through narratives of care-leavers the author reveals their views on 'social orphanhood.' The book also reflects on similarities between Soviet/post-Soviet child welfare practices, and those of some western democracies, and discusses the possible nature of these similarities.
Fox, Samantha Maurer, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'EisenhüttenSTADT IM UMBAU: Imagining New Futures in a Post-Socialist City,' supervised by Dr. Brian Larkin
Preliminary abstract: Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany has been a city defined by a series of imagined futures since it was founded in 1950. Originally called Stalinstadt, it was conceived as the East German state's socialist utopia. Today it is a key site in the German government's push to transform post-industrial cities in the former East Germany into icons of green urbanism, most notably via the consolidation of sparsely populated urban areas and a rapid, often disruptive push to rely on renewable energy sources. My dissertation investigates the role that housing and electricity play in the transformation of Eisenhüttenstadt. I examine how residents interact with and talk about the transformations in their cityscape, and how such engagements fulfill or subvert planners' expectations. I also examine the ideologies of state socialism that lay behind the city's planning and investigate how such ideologies were manifested and experienced. Considering that the same built space has come to serve as a model for strikingly different conceptions of society and urbanization, Eisenhüttenstadt is an ideal site in which to investigate fundamental claims in anthropology about how built space produces social subjects and collectivities, as well as how new urban futures are established and enacted.