Kruglova, Anna, U. of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada - To aid research on 'The Unhip Risk Society: Imagination and Uncertainty in a Russian City,' supervised by Dr. Michael Joshua Lambek
ANNA KRUGLOVA, then a student at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'The Unhip Risk Society: Imagination and Uncertainty in a Russian City,' supervised by Dr. Michael Joshua Lambek. The project addresses everyday epistemologies of the postsocialist condition among middle-class contemporaries in Russia, with a focus on how and why perceived limits, limitations, and voids of knowledge are constructed. The grantee conducted fieldwork in an 'average' Russian city, documenting encounters with people in their 30s, who are seen, and see themselves, as equally 'average' in terms of wealth and success in life. The everyday world of Russian 'authoritarian capitalism' is perceived, paradoxically, as both stagnant and consistently unknowable. Conversations and ethnographic observation illustrate how the rhetoric of uncertainty, surprise, mystery, danger, and revelation pervades all aspects of life. The project argues that at least among the so-called 'generation of perestroika,' and despite authoritarianism and propaganda, the Russian state failed to instil any semblance of hegemonic consensus. The few sites where the norms seem to be agreed upon and the transgressions are actively contested -- for instance, the culture of car ownership and driving -- are explored to highlight by contrast the theme of uncertainty. All too often, all sorts of lines --- between work and leisure, public and private, sobriety and alcoholism, personal and collective responsibility, fidelity and infidelity, assault and defence, modernity and obsolescence -- remain unclear. When few answers are available, uncertainty becomes an ethical stance: questioning, pointing to danger or deferring a choice brings a dimension of morality where it is otherwise lacking. Although such orientations preclude a sense of futurity, positive reassurance comes from the physical and psychological borders, a belief in 'nature' and the present moment, and the old stock of collective ideals.
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.
Yukleyen, Ahmet, Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Sources of Tolerance and Radicalism among Islamic Organizations in Europe,' supervised by Dr. Jenny B. White
AHMET YUKLEYEN, while a student at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, received an award in June 2003 to aid research on Islamic organizations in Europe, under the supervision of Dr. Jenny B. White. Transnational Islamic organizations in western Europe do not simply transplant religious extremism from their countries of origin. Rather, they play an intermediary role, negotiating between the social and religious needs of Muslims and the socioeconomic, legal, and political context of Europe. The diverse forms of religiosity institutionalized by Turkish-Islamic organizations permited a comparative analysis of this intermediary role. Yukleyen looked at the internal dynamics-religious authority, primary field of activism, and boundary maintenance-of three such organizations: Milli Gorus, representing political Islamism; Suleymanli, a branch of the Naqshibandiyya Sufi order; and the Nur movement, a piety-oriented da'wa (missionary) movement. Religious authority involved individuals, positions, and actions that represented collective identity and preserved group cohesion by controlling and disciplining members and dropouts-that is, through boundary making. Each group's field of activism-politics, education, or religious instruction-promoted the type of knowledge embodied by the religious authorities and distributed through boundary making. Redefinitions of religious concepts such as hijrah, jihad, and neighborly relations created a Muslim sense of belonging to the European home. Overall, a comparative analysis of the internal dynamics of transnational Islamic organizations yielded a fuller understanding of their roles in the production and dissemination of Islamic knowledge and practice in western Europe.
Marquez, Jr., Arturo, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'A Senegalese Odyssey: Migration and Mental Health in Catalonia, Spain,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca A. Seligman
Preliminary abstract: This project examines the meaning of mental health discourse for non-European Union (EU) migrants in Catalonia, Spain, specifically Senegalese men in the province of Barcelona. With unemployment at record highs in Spain, non-EU migrants face new challenges obtaining or maintaining a residency permit since these are contingent on the existence of formal job contracts. The trajectory toward a documented future inevitably leads migrants to local institutions where their stories of social, political and economic hardship are reframed according to institutional templates or 'scripts,' many of which draw from an implicit mental health framework. The emergence and popularization of the so-called 'Ulysses Syndrome' in the early 2000's has become a recognizable framework available to both migrants and institutional personnel struggling to secure increasingly scarce resources. By tracing the circulation of the Ulysses Syndrome, on the one hand, and the lived experiences of Senegalese migrants, on the other, my project explores how medical discourse mediates local interactions in a time of widespread austerity and recession.
D'Arcy, Michael Joseph, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Uncertain Adherence: Psychosis, Anti-Psychosis, and Medicated Subjectivity in the Republic of Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Stefania Pandolfo
Preliminary abstract: The majority of current anthropological research on psychopharmaceuticals focuses on the political economy of pharmaceutical production, prescription, and distribution. This research is invaluable, but it obscures the entanglement of the lived experience of psychotic mental illness with the social context of adherence. This project explores how the practice of antipsychotic adherence by psychiatric patients in Dublin, Ireland can be understood in relation to psychotic experience. I argue that adherence, or the extent to which a patient complies with a prescribed treatment plan, is troubled by the same ambiguities and ambivalences as psychotic subjectivity itself--characterized by delusions and hallucinations disrupting the relationship between the psychotic individual and their sociocultural milieu--and it is therefore problematic for the discipline of anthropology to engage solely with the 'logic' of psychopharmaceutical adherence, excluding the meaningful relationship that develops between patients and their medications. The place of madness and its relationship to curative substance within Irish myth and colonial history, as well as within the disciplinary history of medical and psychological anthropology, is well known. Privileging the ambiguity of this relationship is particularly important because of recent changes in Irish psychiatric care. The increasing complexity of community mental health in the aftermath of Ireland's psychiatric deinstitutionalization, as well as the massive influx of immigrants in the 1990s and early 2000s, have radically changed the social and institutional context of Irish mental health. Through the analytic lens of antipsychotic adherence, new understandings of psychotic subjectivity and its engagement with collective history take shape.
Ozgul, Ceren, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Muslim Citizen to Christian Minority: Legal and Political Implications of 'Double-Conversion' in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Talal Asad
CEREN OZGUL, then a student at the City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'From Muslim Citizen to Christian Minority: Legal and Political Implications of 'Double-Conversion' in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Talal Asad. In the last fifteen years, hundreds of Muslim citizens, claiming Armenian descent, have sought the arbitration of secular legal authorities and the Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey to convert back to Christianity. Six months of research was conducted to study discourses of tolerance and religious freedom in Turkey in the context of their 'double conversion,' that marks both conversion from Islam to Christianity and conversion from a majority status to that of a religious minority. The research followed the process of these return conversions around the secular courts, the Armenian Patriarchate, several Armenian churches in Istanbul and the bureaucratic institutions of the state. The researcher detailed the courts' activities, combining observations with minute analysis of selected cases and analyzed the records around the questions of how arbitrations are argued and rationalized in the court, and which legal concepts are referred to and how. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain a more comprehensive, contextual, and personal account of decisions to convert back to the religion of their grandparents. The researcher also interviewed the Armenian clergy, whose perspective is vital for the project, since the converts first apply to the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul to start the conversion process.
Firat O'Hearn, Dr. Bilge, Istanbul Technical U., Instanbul, Turkey - To aid engaged activities on 'Techno-Bureaucratic Engagements with Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' 2013, Brussels, Belgium
DR. BILGE FIRAT O'HEARN, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, received an Engaged Anthropology Grant in February 2013 to aid 'Techno-Bureaucratic Engagements with Turkish Europeanization in Brussels.' On the day of the fiftieth anniversary of the Turkey-EU Association Agreement, Europeanization alla Turca brought together a select group of Turkish and Eurocratic policy workers and interest representatives at the European Parliament. In a roundtable format, participants discussed the parameters of the present intractable case of Turkey's bid for EU membership by addressing such metaphors and political currencies like 'good faith/bad faith,' 'trust/mistrust,' 'technical/political,' and 'bridge/border' as keywords that reflect the individual and collective psyche or sentiments among bureaucrats and civil society representatives, who have been entrusted with the day-to-day running of EU-Turkey affairs but have been gradually estranged from one another over the course of membership talks since 2005. At a time when negotiations for Turkey's EU membership are being revived under the Positive Agenda, a recent initiative of the European Commission to move along with the process by bypassing political objections of some EU member states to Turkish accession, this communicative event served as a timely reminder of the indispensability of open and transparent, yet strong dialogue between Turkish and EU actors in their everyday negotiations.
Rakopoulos, Dr. Theodoros, U. of Bergen, Bergen, Norway - To aid research on 'The Vicissitudes of Solidarity: Anti-Middleman Food Cooperatives in Greece'
Preliminary abstract: This project is premised on three main research pillars: solidarity economy cooperatives and the crisis in Greece. It examines the ways some (mainly young unemployed) people organize the distribution of agricultural products in their communities directly from producers, without the mediation of market middlemen, and gaining no profit. These actors argue that their organization contests the recession that the debt crisis brought about. They aspire that their cooperatives might contribute to change for their livelihoods and their communities, but also express critiques to austerity politics. Addressing the socially arranged, novel ways people respond to austerity, my project will analyze a key feature of ideological contestation in contemporary Greece: solidarity. The term has taken many vicissitudes and its use is proliferated in the country since the crisis. The project, focusing on the development of informal networks of anti-middleman cooperatives that arrange for the distribution of foodstuff directly from agrarian producers, will show that the springing of such initiatives and the formulation of a 'solidarity economy' is a correlative of the current crisis. The project aims to show the broader ideas and allegiances that anti-middleman cooperatives' participants are entangled with and understand their activity in. It will show that organizing such movements does not simply address the immediate livelihoods hardship for contemporary Greeks, but is in fact enmeshed in a wider project of political radicalization, that tackles austerity policies (rather than 'recession'). In terms of conceptualizing solidarity, the project hypothesizes, a correlation between solidarity economy and cooperatives, in that participants aim for the resilience of their project, striving for the reproduction of themselves and their activities through the officialization of their informal networks in cooperatives.
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?