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.
Jent, Karen Ingeborg, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'Growing Organs, Extending Lives: Regenerative Medicine and the Localization of Aging in Scotland,' supervised by Dr. Sarah Franklin
Preliminary abstract: This project explores the work of stem cell scientists in Scotland who are attempting to grow replacement organs in vitro as part of a publicly funded regenerative medicine research initiative. Studying the effects of biological aging, stem cell scientists track the elderly's rising sensitivity to influenza and other pathogenic exposures to a specific gland within the immune system. By localizing aging to the thymus gland, the Scottish laboratory hopes to more pointedly interrupt, and reverse engineer biological aging processes by transplanting laboratory-grown versions of the gland. Focused on this research of artificial thymus growth, my project asks how various notions of aging might be enacted in daily research practices of stem cell scientists. The regrowth of organs seems both to impact and be impacted by growing national concern about an aging population and increasing national emphasis on translational medicine. In Scotland, where the socio-economic challenges of an aging society occupy national concern, translational medicine and applicable science are deemed especially fitting ways to deal with demographic pressures. This project addresses the possibility that ethical emphasis on 'good' or applicable science, as well as anxieties about longevity and health, might be built into organs themselves, manifesting the national preoccupation with healthy aging in the emblematic practice of growing artificial organs in vitro. How might the highly technical and time consuming practices involved in growing organs be shaped by the institutional and national contexts which present aging as degeneration, and stem cell science as an extension of gerontology?
Ambikaipaker, Mohan, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Antiracist Activism and the Decline of Multiculturalism in East London,' supervised by Dr. Joao Costa Vargas
MOHAN AMBIKAIPAKER, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Anti-racist Activism and the Decline of Multiculturalism in East London,' supervised by Dr. João Costa Vargas. Funding enabled extensive ethnographic research to be carried out on how Black and South Asian communities in East London struggle against different but interrelated forms of racism. The British state has consolidated a shift from the earlier anti-racist and anti-discriminatory objectives of multiculturalism by reformulating contemporary multicultural policy and practices as tools to ensure national security instead. The official focus has shifted the spotlight towards British Muslims, who are constructed as the likely and potential source of cultural clashes, religious extremism, and domestic terrorism. Anti-terror and national security policies and practices are generated through an emergent common sense that shifts the meaning of official multiculturalism away the struggle to accord recognition and rights for minorities and steers it towards a repressive notion of multiculturalism aimed at regulating ethnic identities in compliance primarily with counter-terrorism's logic. This change in multiculturalism forces the development of new forms of anti-racist social movements that have to negotiate a range of identities produced by defensive racial and ethnic responses to the new multicultural regime. There is a conceptual space for these movements that mediate between abstract universal goals of social justice and the necessarily defensive postures of identities subject to the processes of racialization and social exclusion engendered by repressive multiculturalism. The research findings argue against any form of settled position concerning the debate on the effectiveness of identity politics, preferring instead an ethnographic presentation that examines how an ideologically ambiguous terrain accomplishes much of the everyday work of antiracism in Britain.
Sokol, Grzegorz Stanislaw, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Medicalization of Affect in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Anne L. Stoler
GRZEGORZ S. SOKOL, then a student at New School for Social Research, New York, New York, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'The Medicalization of Affect in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Anne L. Stoler. This project is situated in the context of the increase in, and greater attention given to, mood disorders following the transformation from real socialism to market democracy in Poland. Broadening diagnostic definitions, raised awareness, as well as psychopharmaceuticals and forms of therapy unevenly available to people diagnosed with afflictions of affect are here situated in relationship to the larger process, in which new models of personhood are brought into social practice. This ethnographic research and archival study charts the different forms of medicalization of affect and follows 'depression' across different settings: from an in-patient psychiatric ward, to an outpatient clinic and psychotherapy center, to the meetings of a twelve-step program. The analytic focus is on how treatments of mood disorders are sites where one acquires a new understanding of one's self, relationships, body, history, and relation to society. Especially the psychotherapeutic and twelve-step conception of emotionality enables redefinitions of personhood and gender models. Further, learning a different way of being a person often centers on questions of agency that appear as problems of possibility vs. necessity, expectations, immaturity, demanding attitude, and helplessness. In the process, the individual is put in relation to the broader narrative of postsocialist transformation.
Krause, Dr. Elizabeth Louise, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and Bressan, Dr. Massimo, U. of Florence, Florence, Italy - To aid collaborative research on 'Tight Knit: Familistic Encounters in a Transnational Fast Fashion District'
Preliminary abstract: The intensely globalized Province of Prato serves as an ethnographic laboratory for investigating the conditions of fast fashion. Here, a historic textile district known for its MADE IN ITALY 'brand' has earned the distinction of having Europe's largest Chinese community. Most of these transnational migrants produce low-cost items for the fast-fashion industry. Historically, the success of the MADE IN ITALY 'brand' was attributed to small family firms lauded for their flexibility for meeting work demands. Less celebrated is the long history of an informal economy characterized by family arrangements tied to unwritten contracts, clandestine work, and old-world sensibilities of reciprocity. Many of these longstanding practices persist, yet the status quo has changed. Workers have intensified their ways of being flexible, and the state has deepened its mechanisms of control. Primary targets are transnational family firms and workers. What family arrangements does this economy require, repel, or generate? How do family members cope with über-flexible lives? Finally, what cultural logics and values emerge from encounters between fast-fashion workers and state institutions? Substantive contributions to anthropology are made in two primary areas: economic anthropology and critical embodiment studies. An innovative encounter ethnography approach locates places where fast-fashion workers and state institutions encounter one another. Collaboration occurs at all levels of the project: research design, data collection, data analysis, training, writing, and policy-making. A training component focuses on developing systematic approaches to qualitative data analysis to enhance the relevance of anthropology for graduate students interested in addressing social challenges in transnational encounter zones.
Canedo Rodriguez, Dr. Montserrat, National U. of Distance Education, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Nourishing Madrid: Food Market and Urban Networks'
DR. MONTSERRAT CANEDO RODRIGUEZ, National University of Distance Education, Madrid, Spain, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Nourishing Madrid: Food Markets and Urban Networks.' The project investigated how the fresh food wholesale market in Madrid works as a node of redistribution for food flows, creating effects of space-time structuring ('local,' 'global,' 'urban,' etc.). By following 'Poma de Girona' (an apple produced in Catalonia that has a Protected Geographic Indication) from its production to its urban consumption, the grantee analyzes the way these process-oriented and multi-localized food flows unfold through a 'chain of value.' Research questions included: What different space-time structuring effects do food flows produce when tracked from different ethnographic loci? How can we think about the enactment of urban social space through food flows? How does the circulation of food blend 'nature,' 'market,' and 'science-technology,' and what can be said about these kinds of embeddedness in a cultural and political reading? The study will advance theory on time-space frames understood as the products (and figures) of a dynamic simultaneous multiplicity, or articulations of heterogeneous practices that are always in progress. From this perspective, the research proposes an ethnographic approach to the question of 'globalization.' As an 'ethnography of apples,' it also contributes to thinking about the problem of the nature-culture co-implication and the politics of contemporary food chains.