Fernandez Garcia, Sandra, UNED, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Meanings and Senses in Process: An Ethnography of Emerging Practices of Artistic-technological Production in Urban Contexts,' supervised by Dr. Angel Diaz de Rada Brun
Preliminary abstract: My research deals with the processes of artistic production in liminal places with diffuse borders between different areas of knowledge such as science, technology, and art, on one hand and, on the other, forms of action and social organization that generate work dynamics based on shared meanings. There is a series of public and private, fixed and itinerant spaces that make up a network that is dynamic, changing, and superimposed on other networks, through which people and objects circulate. Medialab-Prado, Tabakalera or Hangar, are examples of the places in Spain in which groups of people who develop practices of production and learning in very specific ways converge. These practices are generally influenced by the ways free software programming is organized and by the idea of 'commons' or public utility. These network relationships, in which the focus is moved away from the artistic object and onto the process, involve a kind of artistic generation that has a very marked political focus, and this provides the opportunity to investigate the spaces of culture as political spaces. My research focuses on an ethnographic analysis of the practical construction of this concrete form of what we call artistic objects in our contemporary urban society. The objective is to understand the relationship of this kind of object and the practices that produce and distribute it with the model of social relations in which it is inserted, as well as the production of political (urban activism) meaning that this relationship generates.
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.
Gursel, Zeynep D., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Image Industry: The Work of International News Photographs in the Age of Digital Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Nelson H.H. Graburn
ZEYNEP D. GURSEL, while a student at University of California in Berkeley, California, received funding in June 2003 to aid research on international news photographs in the age of digital reproduction, under the supervision of Dr. Nelson H. H. Graburn. Gursel conducted seven months of research on the international photojournalism industry, which was in the midst of a major transformation, due partly to a transition from film to digital images and partly to new institutions that had been able to enter the market as distribution mechanisms changed. Digitalization of production and particularly of distribution had radically increased the number of images available. Gursel carried out extensive fieldwork in the news and editorial division of Corbis, a major visual content provider seen by many as a major force in shaping the future of the industry. Research was also conducted at news publications, in order to determine the processes by which key decision makers negotiated which images were used and how those images were sourced. Interviews were conducted with photographers, editors, owners of major photo agencies, and archivists, in order to understand how images were marketed and what determined whose visions got put into circulation. At a time when historical narratives are becoming increasingly communicated through visuals, which types of images get produced, distributed, published, and archived in the present correlate with which versions of history will be narrated in the future.
Gürsel,Zeynep Devrim. 2012. The Politics of Wire Service Photography: Infrastructures of Representation in a Digital Newsroom. American Ethnologist 39(1):71-89.
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.
Isenhour, Cynthia K. U., of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid reseach on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett
CYNTHIA K. ISENHOUR, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett. While perceptions of ecological degradation have inspired a wide range of responses from citizens and states alike, this research focuses on individual attempts to reduce ecological risk via consumption practice. Over the past 30 years we've seen the proliferation of recycled, eco-labeled and organic goods in the market and a significant rise in voluntary simplicity groups, compacters, boycotts and buycotts. However, very little is known about 'sustainable consumers.' Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research with 72 individuals and 28 interviews with governmental, academic, and NGOs in Sweden, this paper focuses on the environmental philosophies, views of nature, and perceptions of risk that underlie alternative consumption discourse and behavior. The data reveal significant diversity. Environmental philosophies range from radical eco-socialism to ecological modernization while perceptions of risk range from feelings of acute and immediate personal risk to vague perceptions of future risk to others. There is also great variability in sustainable consumption behavior. While some buy eco-labeled products as often as possible, others are selling their cars, growing their own food and buying clothes second-hand. Despite this considerable diversity, however, the data suggest several interesting relationships between perception and sustainable consumer motivation and action in the Swedish context.
Isenhour, Cindy. 2010. Building Sustainable Societies: A Swedish Case Study on the Limits of Reflexive Modernization. American Ethnologist 37(3):511-525.
Stankiewicz, Damien Edam, New York U., New York, NY- To aid research on 'The Negotiation of National and Trans-National Identities at the European Television Station 'ARTE',' supervised by Dr. Susan Carol Rogers
DAMIEN EDAM STANKIEWICZ, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'The Negotiation of National and Trans-National Identities at the European Television Station 'ARTE,'' supervised by Dr. Susan Carol Rogers. Fifteen months of fieldwork at the television channel ARTE -- one of the world's first examples of truly transnational media -- allowed for insight into the construction of transnational 'imagined communities,' elucidating the complex imbrications of national, cross-national, and global aesthetic sensibilities and identities that cut across transnational programming and daily production work. Television production work at ARTE is defined by several key tensions: ARTE has a mandate to produce transnational and European programming but is largely funded by French and German national governments; ARTE producers and programmers strive to challenge national sensibilities but find that audiences dislike subtitled programming and tend to think that programs explicitly about Europe are boring; and while ARTE's staff at its headquarters in Strasbourg claim that they alone truly understand French and German cultures well enough to program for both countries' audiences, ARTE's national offices disparage Strasbourg as too removed from national television production hubs. ARTE staff must thus negotiate and construct a programming line-up and editorial lines that draw upon, in often complex and self-conscious combinations, what they understand to be national, transnational, and supra-national or 'European' narratives and themes, employing production strategies that allow audiences to engage with familiar narratives and genres while also challenging or reframing these in subtle ways -- by focusing, for example, on the mutual devastation wrought by World War II. In ARTE's hallways and cafeterias, ARTE staff themselves must also, on a daily basis, negotiate multiple identities and loyalties. German staff complain about French staff's lack of willingness to speak German; French staff complain about Germans' overzealous adherence to meeting agendas and protocol; and each complains about the other as being 'too authoritarian.' Yet the trafficking of stereotype may render complex cultural negotiations more predictable, and many who work at ARTE identify as 'ARTE-siens' -- neither fully French nor German, but an amalgam of both, and as often, too, as European.
Koch, Insa Lee, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on ''Anti-Social Behaviour': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner
INSA LEE KOCH, then a student at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on ''Anti-Social Behavior': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. This research investigated the role of the state in the life of white working class people on a post-industrial council estate in England. As geographically demarcated areas of government-built housing, often characterized by a strong involvement of state authorities and high degrees of welfare dependency, council estates can be seen as primary instances of state-building projects. Based upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted on one of Britain's largest council estates, this research investigated how its local people come to imagine and make use of the state in their everyday lives. It found that people often treat the state as a personalized resource to rely upon to upset, modify, and generate intimate social relationships that otherwise exist beyond the domain of official state intervention. In a context characterized by intra-community divisions and enmities, an array of state actors -- such as the police, social services and council officers -- then become potential allies to mobilize in one's pursuit of reputation, recognition and justice. Looking at the state, not as a distinct entity on its own, but as an intimate extension of people's social lives, this research offered insights into the sociality of British working-class communities, as well as into broader anthropological discussions of the state, citizenship, and democratic politics.
Beliaev, Alexandre B., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Specters of Soviet Affinity: Political Participation Among Latvian Noncitizens,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Mark Cohen
ALEXANDRE BELIAEV, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Specters of Soviet Affinity: Political Participation among Latvian Noncitizens,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence M. Cohen. Latvia's 'noncitizens' are mostly ethnic Russians who settled in Latvia during the Soviet period. Following the restoration of Latvian independence, they did not commit to undergoing Latvian naturalization process. This research investigated: 1) how noncitizenship has come to be seen as enabling of certain political practices; and 2) how this set of practices has facilitated a polity that, while being coincident and maintained by the nation-state, has not been subsumed by it. This investigation yielded three conclusions. First, the pursuit of minority rights -- among them, the right to citizenship without undergoing naturalization -- is increasingly seen as non-political. Second, the notion of 'culture' implicit in the discourse on 'national minorities' does not correspond to the notion of 'cultured life,' which is seen as necessary for politics. Third, politics is increasingly understood in the idiom of 'coalition' rather than 'contestation.' The emergence of 'coalition' as a central political idiom is not a consequence of lessening of ethnic tensions, but rather a consequence of a new demarcation of privateIpublic spheres.
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.
Luibheid, Dr. Eithne, Bowling Green State U., Bowling Green, OH - To aid research on 'Babies of Convenience? African Asylum Seekers and Childbearing in Ireland'
DR. EITHNE LUIBHEID, of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, was awarded a grant in May 2002 to aid research on African asylum seekers and childbearing in Ireland. In the 1990s, Ireland was transformed from an emigrant nation into a destination eagerly sought by migrants from around the world, both immigrant workers and asylum seekers. Luibheid analyzed the Irish government's and public's responses to the most controversial of all newcomers-childbearing African asylum seekers-in order to theorize the relationship between national and supranational (e.g., European Union) identities, imaginaries, and governance structures as these were negotiated, contested, and transformed. The questions that guided the research included, How can feminist anthropological scholarship be extended in order to understand struggles for control over asylum seekers' childbearing as a mechanism for rearticulating the link between the national and the supranational? In what ways do these struggles draw migrant women's reproductive capacities into new circuits of commodification within a global system while also providing new opportunities for agency? How do these struggles reveal the refashioning of gender and racial relations in national and EU contexts? Luibheid's preliminary findings included the observation that controversies over asylum seekers' childbearing had given the state a means to reconstitute a notion of the sovereign Irish nation, despite globalization. Moreover, the controversies used women's bodies as a terrain for installing new racial distinctions and rearticulating older ones-distinctions that now structure everyday life in Ireland. The controversies have materially affected asylum-seeking women's possibilities for being recognized as full members of the Irish polity, in terms of both accessing rights and engaging in practices of democratic citizenship.
Luibhéid, Eithne. 2004. Childbearing Against the State? Asylum Seeker Women in the Irish Republic. Women’s Studies International Forum 27:335-349.
Luibheid, Eithne. 2006. Sexual Regimes and Migration Controls: Reproducing the Irish Nation-State in Transnational Contexts. Feminist Review 83:60-78.