Zontine, Angelina Ione, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Remaking the Political in 'Fortress Europe': Cultural and Political Practice n Italian Social Centers,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline L. Urla
ANGELINA IONE ZONTINE, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Remaking the Political in 'Fortress Europe:' Cultural and Political Practice In Italian Social Centers,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline L. Urla. This research project investigates the political activism and creation of culture being carried out at collectively run social centers in Bologna, Italy. Described by participants as 'laboratories' for the creation of alternative modes of exchange, interaction (between native-born Italians and migrants), socializing, and extra-electoral political participation, these centers would seem to provide an example of active citizenship as participants enact political engagement through a range of cultural practices. In a seeming paradox, however, these centers are censured by authorities and targeted for relocation as part of ongoing 'security'-oriented campaigns against 'illegality' and 'urban blight' that cast social centers as fonts of illegal and 'uncivil' activity. Using participant observation, interviews and discourse analysis, the research project investigates the character and internal organization of these social center order to discern the opportunities afforded and tensions generated by this form of political engagement. At the same time, it explores the controversy surrounding Bolognese social centers in order to explore how participants struggle to rework or enlarge the restrictive parameters of belonging and participation in the natoinal and political communities of both the city and the nation-state, thus engaging and opposing prevailing models of citizenship.
Mursic, Rajko, U. of Ljubljana, Slovenia - To aid 10th EASA conference on 'Experiencing Diversity and Mutuality,' 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
'Experiencing Diversity and Mutuality: The 10th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists'
August 26-29, 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Organizer: Rajko Mursic (University of Ljubljana)
The 10th biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) aimed to explore public discourse on diversity and cross-cultural communication and highlight the underestimated aspects of mutuality, such as the borrowing of practices and beliefs. Approximately 1,200 international scientists attended the conference and participated in 121 workshops and presented 1,040 papers. They also participated in plenary sessions, round tables, network meetings, special events, etc. Funding from Wenner-Gren Foundation was used to defray travel and accommodations for 52 participants, as well as provide support for the 'Claude Levi-Strauss Centennial Tribute' as well as the Levi-Strauss Chill-out Room, which presented videos about the scholar and his books. The exhibition was an opportunity for younger scholars and students of anthropology and related sciences to learn more about the famous ethnologist.
Nakhshina, Maria, Aberdeen U., Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'Making Sense of Home: Movement and Metaphor among Villagers and Townspeople in the Kola Peninsula,' supervised by Dr. Tim Ingold
MARIA NAKHSHINA, then a student at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Making Sense of Home: Movement and Metaphor among Villagers and Townspeople in the Kola Peninsula,' supervised by Dr. Tim Ingold. In the year 2006-2007 fieldwork was carried out in the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia. Half the year was spent in the village of Kuzomen and half in three urban locations: Kandalaksha, Murmansk, and Umba. The idea was to observe people in both rural and urban environments, including permanent residents of the village, those who moved to the town and those who came to the village only in summer, and to trace how their perception of 'home' varied across different contexts. In order to understand the role of the senses and emotions in home attachment, attention was focused on metaphor, metonymy, and automatic movements. The research has shown that metaphor and metonymy both epitomize and elaborate on people's emotional and sensory experience of a home place. Applied in different contexts, the same trope connects people on a meta-level of emotions and sensations. It appears that automatic movements are the most direct register of a person's emotions, since the latter regulate the selection of actual movements. Routine sensual experiences generate correspondingly automatic responses. Sensory experiences accompany quotidian emotions and both play a prominent role in a person's identification with a home place.
Fomina, Victoria, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'Martyrdom as a Moral Model in Modernity: The Neo-Martyrs' Veneration in Present-Day Cyprus and Russia,' supervised by Vlad Naumescu
Preliminary abstract: This research explores the significance of neo-martyrdom in contemporary Christian Orthodox societies through following the emerging cult of new martyr Yevgeny Rodionov -- a Russian soldier killed in Chechen captivity in 1996 for his refusal to convert to Islam. Tragic death at the hands of the enemy turned an ordinary soldier into an object of popular veneration and inspired many Orthodox believers throughout the world to paint icons of him, compose hagiographic narratives of his life, devote him songs and poems and pray to him in hope of intercession. Through a comparative analysis of martyrological representations of Yevgeny in Russia and Cyprus this research will inquire into the meaning of martyrdom as an ethical model for contemporary Orthodox communities, which find themselves in the areas with clearly manifest Christian-Islamic opposition. I will argue that the context of inter-religious conflict provokes Orthodox believers on the one hand to search for their own heroes to match up against Islamic martyrs and assert the value of Orthodox faith and on the other -- produces a lot of anxiety about separating 'proper' martyrdom from the acts of religious fanaticism often ascribed to Islamic 'shahids'. By exploring how the soldier's image is mobilized by different groups to index Orthodox identity on local, national, and transnational scales as well as to construct the image of Islamic 'Other' I will seek to identify the multiplex forms in which neo-martyrologies function in contemporary societies. The proposed research will contribute both to the understanding of the state of Orthodox tradition, the challenges it faces and transformations it undergoes in modernity as well as to the theorization of the ethics of self-sacrifice within Orthodox Christian and secular nationalist contexts.
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.
Halemba, Dr. Agnieszka E., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'Contemporary Religious Life among the Telengits - Landscape, Movement and Knowledge' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. AGNIESZKA HALEMBA, of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, received a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in August 2002 to aid research and writing on the contemporary religious life of the Telengits, an ethnic group of Altaians living in the Republic of Altai in the Russian Federation. In addition to three articles and several conference papers, she prepared a book titled Knowledge in Motion: The Anthropology of Landscape, Knowledge, and Religion among the Telengits of Altai, which received preliminary approval for publication by Routledge. Based on an in-depth study of one group of Altaians, the book addresses theoretical questions raised by the interaction of different kinds of knowledge, particularly in the context of state intervention in religion. Halemba demonstrates how the idea of national unity as expressed in state ideology influenced the reshaping of spiritual knowledge among the Telengits. Her work is situated amid recent anthropological discussions of religion and identity in socialist and postsocialist contexts. Her analysis of Telengit spiritual life serves as a window onto their contemporary political situation, concepts of power and agency, and processes of institutionalization. She proposes new theoretical paradigms regarding local knowledge practices and provides unique ethnographic material.
Roudakova, Natalia, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Property, Professionalism, Practice: 'Brownian Motion' in Post-Soviet Journalism,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia J. Yanagisako
NATALIA ROUDAKOVA, while a student at Stanford University in Stanford, California, was awarded funding in July 2001 to aid ethnographic research on media ownership and journalistic practice in post-Soviet Russia, under the supervision of Dr. Sylvia J. Yanagisako. Roudakova studied the transformation of Russian journalism during the country's highly contested shift toward capitalism. In particular, she explored whether and how new configurations of media ownership had created new editorial priorities and practices of news gathering, and whether and how these practices encouraged new professional identities among journalists. Data collected at three news outlets representing the major configurations of media ownership in postsocialist Russia demonstrated that journalists' identities varied significantly, depending on the routines of news gathering encouraged by the media outlet's property structure. Journalists for advertisement-driven publications saw themselves not as mediators in a democratic public forum but as business and consumer analysts servicing the needs of emerging financial, managerial, and other high-income groups. In news outlets sponsored by covert subsidies from political and financial elites, journalists focused on the accurate delivery of political messages to other members of the elite, developing castelike solidarity with their sponsors. Journalists for government-held newspapers viewed themselves as public mediators and educators for whom state subsidies enabled an absence of market pressures on their civic and intellectual expression. Focusing on the link between media ownership and journalists' subjectivities, Roudakova viewed property structures not as external constraints on journalists' intellectual production but as elements constitutive of the practice and understanding of modern journalism.
Jasarevic, Dr. Larisa, Independent Scholar, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Post-War Natures and Contemplative Apicultures: Beekeeping in Bosnia'
Preliminary abstract: This is a project proposal for an ethnographic investigation of local apicultures that are subtly repurposing former battle zones of Bosnia and Herzegovina and connecting with beekeepers across former Yugoslavia in vibrant communities of research and practice. In distinction to many context of industrial agriculture, local beekeeping is massively oriented towards production of honey and medicinal bee products and the beekeepers mostly avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and veterinary medicine. Furthermore, beekeepers across the region combine traditional knowledge, homebrewed inventions, and cosmopolitan apicultural science and share advice and independent research findings to effectively counter global epidemiological problems, from Varroa destructor mites to Colony Collapse Disorder. Finally, apiculture in Bosnia is further interesting to study given its popularity among imams, Sufis, and devout Muslims who approach bees with insights drawn from the Islamic traditional sources, from Islamic metaphysics, and from observations and contemplations of nature as recommended by Koran. I propose a study of local beekeeping that is attentive to the interdependencies within the apiaries and their vital outwardly connections. My project asks how the local apiculture threads together commitments to technological currency with reverence for and contemplation of the bees? What are the wider achievements of trans-regional beekeepers' associations bent on research and sharing, especially since the formal politics still prescribe exclusively ethno-national affiliations and distinctions? What peace-making tactics come to the fore if the focus shifts from the issues of refugee return and institutionally-led reconciliation to ecological relations and piecemeal negotiations on the peripheries of the new Bosnian state, where apian interests cross ethnic entity borders and mediate between beekeepers, absentee land owners, and returnees? Whereas much of the research on contemporary Bosnia is focused on urban settings, ethno-national interests, and the precarious economy, this project promises to explore socialities that are otherwise grounded: emerging around popular science and practical passions of beekeeping and involved with the vast zones of the new wilderness, abandoned, relatively inaccessible, historically complicated but abounding in socio-ecological opportunities. Moreover, the project will contribute to scholarship on Islam and Sufism which, in the region as elsewhere, is rarely concerned with the issues of quotidian ecological relations and will add a stock of different cultural and philosophical considerations to the emergent multispecies ethnography.
Alyanak, Oguz, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Fear of the Ordinary: Muslim Turks Negotiate Men's Moral Worth in the Franco-German Borderland,' supervised by Dr. John Bowen
Preliminary abstract: In the Franco-German bordertown of Strasbourg, members of the Turkish community speak of a growing anxiety over where their men go and what kinds of activities they engage in. Nightclubs, brothels and casinos in Strasbourg's German neighbor, Kehl, are blamed for stealing husbands and luring young Muslim men into an immoral life. Preliminary research shows, however, that the anxiety is not only contained in Kehl's leisure sites but expands into Strasbourg. As the fear of moral transgression bleeds into more mundane contexts of ethical thinking, negotiations over purity and danger envelop ordinary spaces and practices in Strasbourg. Unlike nightclubs, brothels or casinos, which are considered to be places that expose Muslims to practices that are 'haram' (Islamically impermissible) and 'ayıp' (shameful), the moral quality of an ordinary venue, such as a restaurant, grocery store, butcher, coffeeshop, or a street or neighborhood is harder to deduce. What if there is alcohol served or non-halal meat sold? What if, despite the halal label, the owner of the place is not trustworthy, or even a Kurd or an Alevi? What if there are drunkards or sex workers present on a particular street? How could such transgressions be justified? Through a yearlong fieldwork in the Franco-German borderland, my dissertation project will investigate how moral frames come to shape one's exploration of the urban landscape. By conducting semi-structured interviews, administering cartographic surveys and engaging in participant observation, I will explore how Muslim men in Strasbourg struggle to live a moral life amidst uncertainty.