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.
Donkersloot, Rachel, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on ''Get Out or Get Left?': Understanding Youth Life-Paths and Experiences of an Irish Fishing Locale,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Menzies
RACHEL DONKERSLOOT, then a student at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on ''Get Out or Get Left?' Understanding Youth Life-Paths and Experiences of an Irish Fishing Locale,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Menzies. This research is located in the social and economic landscape of a rural fisheries-dependent community. Here the subject of rural youth emigration is addressed through attention to gender differences in the ways young people perceive, experience, and cope with rural life, which includes decisions to emigrate. Funding made possible eleven months of fieldwork in the coastal community of Killybegs, County Donegal, Ireland. Through this support, 67 formal (individual and group) interviews were conducted. Research participants include young people (aged 18 to 30), as well as parents, teachers, community members/leaders, and retired and active fishermen and industry workers. Preliminary findings suggest: 1) discourse surrounding migration that devalues staying and locates stayers as underachievers or 'losers left behind' represents, at best, a 'partial perspective and particular interests;' and 2) gender is a critical dimension of rural youth experience but its import should not eclipse the very powerful ways in which class shapes young people's experience of place. Resituating young people's life narratives at the intersection of class and gender is imperative to understanding rural youth experience. To privilege gender over class, or vice versa, risks overlooking, over-simplifying or mis-recognizing the subject.
Pavlovich, William Vladan, Binghamton U., Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Displaced Persons, the Reinvigoration of Nationalism, and Challenges to European Integration in Serbia,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
WILLIAM V. PAVLOVICH, then a student at Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Displaced Persons, the Reinvigoration of Nationalism, and Challenges to European Integration in Serbia,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson. Nearly one million ethnic Serbs from former Yugoslavia (i.e. Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo) have sought refuge in the Republic of Serbia since 1991. Comprising roughly twelve percent of the overall population, displaced persons have significantly altered the republic's demographic, ethnic, economic, social, cultural, and political landscape. This project investigates the development of an apparent causal relationship between displaced persons and the resurgence of nationalism in Serbia, and interrogates the qualities of that relationship. The leading nationalist party, the Serbian Radical Party, was poised to challenge the state's project of European integration until the party splintered in two after their inability to form a majority ruling coalition-despite strong results (nearly 30 percent)-whereby they lost to a pro-EU coalition in the 2008 parliamentary elections. This resulted in a 'sea-change' amongst the Serbian populace - both domicile and displaced - and prompted a series of public debates and reflection regarding the civic, national, and cultural identities of Serbian citizens. The study shows how displacement can be understood to be both process and event for domicile and displaced communities, one which enables interpretation at individual, local, and national levels of Serbian society, and one which informs the movement towards (or against) European integration.
Giusto, Salvatore, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Neomelodic Notes: Commodified Aesthetics and Illicit Political Economy in Naples, Italy,' supervised by Dr. Andrea Muehlebach
Preliminary abstract:'The term 'neomelodic singing' defines a pop-music genre dominating the musical scene of Naples, Italy, since the 1990s. Neomelodic songs hinge on narratives seeking to depict the experiences of Neapolitan lower class subjects, with a remarkable preference for those engaging with organized crime. In spite of the structural poverty illustrating the life conditions of the Neapolitan underclass, the neomelodic musical industry brings in millions of euros per year in that city. Most of this money eventually flows into the pockets of local crime. This invests impressive amounts of capital into the neomelodic industry, and thus influences this musical genre's aesthetic forms, economic value, and socio-cultural meaning. In so doing, it transforms the illicit cultural landscapes that neomelodic music iconizes into licit performance,socially shared aesthetics, and collective identity. My research focuses on the coalescence between neomelodic aesthetics,Neapolitan political economy, and the local cultural sphere to offer insight into the articulation of licit and illicit political economies in neoliberal Italy. It does so by exploring the commodified aesthetics leading to the entrenchment of organized crime in Naples.'
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.
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.
Kartari, Dr. Asker, Hacettepe U., Ankara, Turkey - To aid 5th InASEA conference on 'Migration, Communication, and Social Change,' 2009, Ankara, in collaboration with Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer
'Migration in, from, and to Southeastern Europe: Intercultural Communication, Social Changes, and Transnational Ties'
May 21-24, 2009, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
Organizers: Asker Kartari (Hacettepe University) and Ulf Brunnbauer (University of Regensburg)
This was the 5th Conference of the International Association for Southeast European Anthropology -- the first international association of academics and researchers in the social sciences who concentrate on Southeast Europe. Ninety-nine specialists from Balkan and Western countries were brought together to consider the entire migration process in its
relevant social, economic, and political contexts and to facilitate cross-disciplinary dialogue, transnational comparison, and attention to both migrant and host society perspectives. Papers presented at the conference will be published in volumes 13 and 14 of the journal Ethnologia Balkanica.
Allison, Jill D., Memorial U., St. John's, Canada - To aid research on '(In) Fertile Ground: Contradictory Conceptions in Assisted Reproduction in Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Robin G. Whitaker
JILL D. ALLISON, then a student at Memorial University, St. John's, Canada, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on '(In) Fertile Ground: Contradictory Conceptions in Assisted Reproduction in Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Robin G. Whitaker. This research examined the social challenges and paradoxes that surround infertility and its treatment in relation to rapid and recent social and economic change in the Republic of Ireland. Recent changes include economic growth, new economic and political links with the European Union, and declining public confidence in social power of the Roman Catholic Church within Ireland. Less overt factors in the infertility experience emerge from debates around the traditional definition of family and its significance to Irish political identity, the long-standing issue of abortion politics, and the meaning of the constitutionally protected 'right to life of the unborn' in relation to increasingly available assisted reproduction technologies (ART) in Ireland. Based on in-depth interviews with people who have experienced difficulty conceiving, the researcher explored the way they contend with moral and ethical challenges posed by technological innovations in infertility treatment, how they make decisions between medical or social options that may or may not be available, and the impact of infertility itself in a climate of changing social values. In spite of continuing emphasis on the traditional family as the site of social, moral, and political stability in Ireland, the research suggests that women dealing with infertility are challenging the institutionally and discursively constituted meanings of motherhood, conception, and fertility that have been the cornerstones of their subjective identities.
Thompson, Dr. Niobe S., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Nativeness of Settlers: Constructing Belonging and Contesting Indigeneity in Northeast Siberia'
DR. NIOBE S. THOMPSON, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, was awarded funding in July 2005, to aid research on 'The Nativeness of Settlers: Constructing Belonging and Contesting Indigeneity in Northeast Siberia.' Five months of ethnographic fieldwork in Chukotka, Northeast Russia and ten weeks of archival research in St. Petersburg and Moscow was carried out over the course of 18 months in 2005 and 2006. This project examined the process of settling among a transplanted industrial population of labor migrants in the Russian far north. In particular, it tackled the question, 'How do emerging forms of local rootedness in a settler community impact on our practical and theoretical understandings of 'indigeneity'?' The self-perceptions of belonging among erstwhile migrant populations in the Russian north is of both theoretical interest and of applied relevance, as new programs of northern restructuring intended to depopulate these regions are initiated. The results of this research reveal a vibrant and growing sense of northern identity among many Soviet-era migrants to Chukotka, and thereby explain in some ethnographic richness not only popular resistance to state resettlement programs, but also the prospects for sustainable populations of non-aboriginal settlers in Russia's arctic.