Dalyan, Can, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on ''Anxious About Their Treasures:' Biodiversity, Biopolitics, and the Secret History of Plants in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki
Preliminary abstract: Last three years in Turkey witnessed the rise of an unlikely phenomenon to the forefront of public and governmental attention. With the opening of the Turkish Seed-Gene Bank (TSGB) in 2010, construction of the first national botanic garden with the help of 50 million Dollars of direct government funding, start of a series of seed-exchange festivals along the Aegean Coast and the ensuing media interest in stories of foreigners getting caught by the police while illegally collecting endemic plant species, loss of agro-biodiversity in Turkey became an important article of national political agenda and of popular interest. This project is an ethnographic and historical exploration of this phenomenon and it asks three three fundamental questions: 1) How does the current national policy of conserving and showcasing agro-biodiversity in Turkey take shape and how is it implemented? 2) How do the scientists working at the TSGB relate (politically, economically, intellectually) to this national policy and especially, how do they experience, work with, and think about this policy in its relation to global processes of climate change and biodiversity loss? 3) How is this contemporary interest and anxiety about agro-biodiversity linked to the distinctive periods in Turkish history in which loss of natural resources and regulation of nature appeared as major political and popular concerns?
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
Firat, Bilge, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The Negotiation of Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
BILGE FIRAT, then a student at State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'The Negotiation of Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson. European enlargement is considered to be the most successful policy of the European Union (E.U.), and the one that perhaps has the greatest direct impact on lives of peoples, societies, and states in the region at large. Lobbying is a central practice in EU politicking and policymaking. Located in Brussels for twelve months, the objective of this study was to understand how lobbying as a politico-cultural communicative practice works in facilitating the enlargement dynamic of the E.U. towards Turkey wih the help of non-participant and participant observation, interviewing political cultural actors, and analysis of textual policy advice. European politics is an area in which students and scholars of anthropology of European integration and anthropology of policy-making are very well equipped to explain emerging realities of today's advanced European integration.
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.
Halili, Rigels, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland - To aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel
RIGELS HALILI, then a student at Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel. This research project realized from July 2006 to February 2007, aimed to inquire into the presence, function and role that oral epic poetry plays nowadays in the regions of Sand?ak and Kosovo. Several singers have learned their songs from other members of their families or neighbors; in other words through an oral transmission. But others admitted that they have learned songs from different songbooks or tapes of other singers. Textual analysis of recorded songs showed that only among Kosovo singers is there still a strong presence of formulaic character of singing. The traditional way of singing is becoming more and more a professional and commercial activity. In San?ak, but increasingly in Kosovo as well, epic songs rarely appear in public places that are not in connection with commercial activities. But they are still present in many spheres of private life, especially weddings. Moreover, the number of active singers is decreasing. All singers emphasized that the young generation is not interested in learning old songs, while they prefer newly composed popular songs, especially those broadcasted in the media or distributed on the internet. However, oral forms did not disappear entirely, but were transformed, while functioning in new communicative conditions.
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
Preliminary abstract: My research project focuses on the Jewish revival movement that emerged in the Soviet Union between the 1960s and the late 1980s. This movement was virtually invisible in public space, and the state periodically persecuted its members. To avoid the gaze of the Soviet state, Jews clandestinely gathered in private apartments, where they collectively studied Hebrew, sacred Jewish texts, Jewish history and tradition, celebrated Jewish holidays, and even published samizdat (unofficial) Jewish magazines. Some of them decided to practice Judaism daily. Many of these people had submitted an official application to the Soviet state to grant them the possibility of emigrating to Israel. Typically, following the model of 'totalitarianism', the story of the Soviet Jewish movement has been told in scholarly works as an attempt to restore an existing type of repressed 'pure' Jewishness. Based on the idea that power does not only repress, but also creates, my research will show a more complex picture of the relationship between the late Soviet state and its Jewish citizens. Rather than merely repressing 'ideal' Jewish identity and Jewish practice, what kinds of alternative experiences, meanings, and intellectual pleasures of the Jewish movement did it enable?
Shevchenko, Dr. Olga, Williams College, Williamstown, MA; and Sarkisova, Oksana, Moscow State U., Moscow, Russia - To aid collaborative research on ' Snapshot Histories: Family Photography and Generational Memory of Russia's Socialist Century'
DR. OLGA SHEVCHENKO, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and DR. OKSANA SARKISOVA, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, received an International Collaborative Research Grant in May 2006, to aid collaborative research on 'Snapshot Histories: Family Photography and Generational Memory of Russia's Socialist Century.' This project explores how the notions of socialism are conjured up in the medium, which to many Russians represents the most intimate source of information about the past: family photographic collections. Through a combination of in-depth interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, and visual analysis, the project examines the role family photography plays for the production and transmission of historical memory between generations, investigating some of the least explored mechanisms that shape the popular perceptions of the Soviet era. The grant has enabled the researchers to complete the field stage of their research. They have conducted ethnographic observation and collected interviews with over 50 families (two to three interviews per family with representatives of different generations) in five different cities and towns in Russia, and amassed a sizeable visual data bank of family photographs from the Soviet era. They are currently developing analysis of their field data and working on coding and creating a searchable database of the images from the Soviet domestic photo archives.
Shevchenko, Olga. 2010. Between Elias and Foucault: Discipline, Photography, and the Soviet Childhood. Social Psychology Quarterly 73(1):1-4.
Kampriani, Eirini, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Embodied Biographies and the Cultural Management of Genetics in the Case of Female Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood
EIRINI KAMPRIANI, then a student at University College London, London, England, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Embodied Biographies and the Cultural Management of Genetics in the Case of Female Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood. The research examined the cultural implications and social challenges of hereditary breast cancer among women, focusing on the ways in which preventive and genetic medicine are interpreted in the religious and social domains and how they impact on women's experiences and perceptions of the disease and inherited risk. The project was based on 16 months of fieldwork, situated mainly in a rural area around a Religious Prevention Center for female cancer. A shorter part of fieldwork research took place in the capital of the country to explore other manifestations of the subject-matter of this study and contextualize findings with broader developments. Participant observation and interviews with women with family history of breast cancer provided evidence to analyze the underlying tensions and concerns that shape individual and collective experiences and inform institutional articulations of biotechnology. Overall, findings of this research indicate how efforts to the management of female breast cancer implicate different trends of the modernization and secularization processes in Greek society. Although the demand for prevention and prediction of the disease creates new possibilities for redistribution of power in the medical, religious, social domains, it renders the female body a contested ground in the biopolitics of protection and suffering.
Thompson, Niobe S., Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Belonging in the North: Migrant Experiences and Identity in Northeast Siberia,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
NIOBE S. THOMPSON, while a student at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, received funding in August 2002 to aid research on migrant experiences and identity in northeastern Siberia, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. In the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug (Chukotka) of northeastern Russia and in regions of central Russia, Thompson conducted fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork on non-native senses of belonging. The research was intended to explore the negotiation of identity in a traditionally migrant, transient population, an issue with implications for the future of communities in the Russian Far North and the success of planned programs of northern depopulation and resettlement. The coincidence between Thompson's project and a major program of modernization initiated in 2001 by a new administration under the leadership of wealthy governor-oligarch Roman Abramovich was intentional, because the challenge of an outsider-led program of change was expected to galvanize local identity in unexpected ways. Research findings revealed that a strongly localist sense of belonging and a rejection of mainstream Soviet and Russian life had characterized the settler community since its emergence, and that authority and entitlement through 'northern experience' were key features of local discourse. The challenges of outsider-led modernization to the established population met discourses of resistance long cultivated in Chukotka and endangered its long-term sustainability.
Larchanche, Stephanie, Southern Methodist U., Dallas, TX - To aid research on 'The Cultural Politics of Immigrant Health: The Experience of West African Women in Paris, France,' supervised by Dr. Carolyn Sargent
STEPHANIE LARCHANCHE, then a student at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'The Cultural Politics of Immigrant health: The Experience of West African Women in Paris, France,' supervised by Dr. Carolyn Sargent. This research sought to critically evaluate the reciprocal interaction between France's immigration politics and the strategies employed by West African immigrant households in Paris, France, to negotiate state institutions, in particular, the social welfare and public health systems. The researcher studied grassroots social and healthcare services, as well as three 'specialized' mental healthcare centers that cater specifically to West African immigrants. Research findings establish that the incapacity of the French public health system and/or of social services to take care of immigrants -- thereby resulting in referrals to 'specialized' mental healthcare institutions -- generally stems from institutional resistance in accommodating the multilayered needs that immigrants have, and which are often hastily reduced as resulting from mental disorder or cultural misunderstanding. In the mental healthcare context, immigrants themselves question the limits of the public health system and of social services, precisely because their demands are rarely exclusively related to a mental disorder, but intricately linked to negotiations between immigrants and the referring institutions themselves, for additional social benefits such as State welfare and housing. This project thus questions the French institutional reframing of immigrants' socio-economic vulnerability as psychological and cultural in origin.