Cherkaev, Xenia Andrej, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'I Don't Know Why, but that One Wants Me: The Saturation of Use and the Agency of Things in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli
XENIA A. CHERKAEV, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'I Don't Know Why, but that One Wants Me: The Saturation of Use and the Agency of Things in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli. In 2011, Putin warned that the American-funded political opposition would falsify the election results' falsification, and might kill someone off, to blame the government. Attempting to write a history of this present, where universal corruption accusations blend easily into conspiracy theory, this project examines changing regimes of circulation, and the correlating changes in regimes of truth. It begins in late-Soviet Leningrad, asking how people made and obtained everyday things by using their positions in the centralized distribution system, their access to surplus material hoarded by enterprises, and the reified norms of State institutions - and how State Secrecy, permeating everyday life as another monolithic norm, guaranteed a truth, just out of reach: 'It irritated! There were certain things some idiot didn't want me to know!' It then asks how regimes of both truth and circulation changed with the post-Soviet transition, in which the sudden disclosure of previously unavailable materials correlated with widespread political discussion, extrasensory and religious activity, sharp commodity deficit, and new economic policies, which allowed people to make cash on State surplus and informal deals that 'took the country apart by the screws ? swiped everything from precious metals to Arab horses... fantastic times!'
Erikson, Dr. Susan L., U. of Denver, Denver, CO - To aid research and writing on 'Engendering the Global: Women, Medicine, and Technology in Re-Unified Germany' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. SUSAN L. ERIKSON, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship to aid research and writing on 'Engendering the Global: Women, Medicine, and Technology in Re-Unified Germany.' Funding supported a research trip to Siemens Medical Solutions world headquarters in Mountain View, California and write-up of a book manuscript. Using an ethnography of reproduction to explicate the global, national, and local opportunities and constraints that shape lived-experience, the book addresses theoretical and methodological gaps in the social science literature on globalization and presents a new model for understanding global praxis. The book suggests a reconfiguration of globalization theory and method, one that conjoins macro and micro processes. Drawing from an ethnographic research project that includes data from Siemens' corporate headquarters in Germany and the United States (the ultrasound divisions of Siemens Medical Solutions) as well as patients lived-experiences of prenatal diagnostic technology use, the book argues that the unpacking of 'assemblages' (following Ong and Collier 2005) of power help us to better understand the politics and policy of maternity care. In this case study from Germany, corporate profit-making strategies converge (not coincidentally) with German healthcare policies and biomedical protocols in ways that set the stage for German prenatal ultrasound use, the highest in the world.
Price, Dr. Sally, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA - To aid research on 'Art and the Civilizing Mission: Cultural Politics in Paris and Overseas France'
DR. SALLY PRICE, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Art and the Civilizing Mission: Cultural Politics in Paris and Overseas France.' The research conducted under this grant involved an in-depth exploration of the role of the French state in defining, acquiring, exhibiting, interpreting, and promoting art created by people from 'traditional' cultures in Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. One part traced recent developments in the status of artists in French Guiana, France's department (and former colony) in South America. A second part followed the decade-and-a-half-long efforts of French President Jacques Chirac to 'valorize' non-Western arts in Paris museums, culminating in their presence in the Louvre (as of 2000) and in a special new museum next to the Eiffel Tower (inaugurated in June 2006). In French Guiana, extensive interviews were conducted with artists, agents, members of cooperatives, and others in order to follow the transformation of an art originally destined for internal consumption into a marketable commodity produced by full-time professional artists. In Paris, anthropologists, art historians, museum curators, journalists, collectors, art dealers, artists, and politicians complemented findings from books, articles, and websites, to produce a history of the complex interactions that culminated in the realization of Chirac's dream. As the research developed, the second part of the project became dominant, due to the complexity of the politics and competing ideologies that fed controversies, rival propositions, and practical considerations in this 300 million dollar undertaking. The findings from French Guiana have been published in two articles. The Paris research is in press at the University of Chicago Press for publication in 2007 as The House that Jacques Built: Art and Difference in France.
Price, Sally. 2005 Art and the Civilizing Mission. Anthropology and Humanism 30(2):133-140.
Price, Sally. 2007. Paris Primitive: Jacques Chirac?s Museum on the Quai Branly. University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.
Price, Sally. 2007. Into the Mainstream: Shifting Authenticities in Art. American Ethnologist 34(4): 603-620.
Gursel, Zeynep D., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Image Industry: The Work of International News Photographs in the Age of Digital Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Nelson H.H. Graburn
ZEYNEP D. GURSEL, while a student at University of California in Berkeley, California, received funding in June 2003 to aid research on international news photographs in the age of digital reproduction, under the supervision of Dr. Nelson H. H. Graburn. Gursel conducted seven months of research on the international photojournalism industry, which was in the midst of a major transformation, due partly to a transition from film to digital images and partly to new institutions that had been able to enter the market as distribution mechanisms changed. Digitalization of production and particularly of distribution had radically increased the number of images available. Gursel carried out extensive fieldwork in the news and editorial division of Corbis, a major visual content provider seen by many as a major force in shaping the future of the industry. Research was also conducted at news publications, in order to determine the processes by which key decision makers negotiated which images were used and how those images were sourced. Interviews were conducted with photographers, editors, owners of major photo agencies, and archivists, in order to understand how images were marketed and what determined whose visions got put into circulation. At a time when historical narratives are becoming increasingly communicated through visuals, which types of images get produced, distributed, published, and archived in the present correlate with which versions of history will be narrated in the future.
Gürsel,Zeynep Devrim. 2012. The Politics of Wire Service Photography: Infrastructures of Representation in a Digital Newsroom. American Ethnologist 39(1):71-89.
Samli, Sherife Ayla, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Containing the Future: The Hope Chest in Contemporary Urban Turkey,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion
AYLA SAMLI, then a student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Containing the Future: The Hope Chest in Contemporary Urban Turkey,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion. This research investigated the hope chest, or çeyiz, as an indicator of changes in women's status in Istanbul, Turkey. A time-honored tradition central to wedding preparations, the hope chest has undergone extreme changes recently, reflecting larger changes in family structure, women's education, and love relationships. This research explored the changing çeyiz as a commodity, a family keepsake, a national symbol, and as a transitional object accompanying the bride into her new home. To understand the çeyiz and its manifold implications, research was undertaken at merchant centers, handiwork courses, wedding-related stores, and in family homes. Intergenerational interviews among families and interviews with brides and grooms explored the hope chest as a negotiated object -- something created and accumulated through bargaining. Implicit to the hope chest was a discussion how young women and their mothers had different expectations regarding women's roles. The data suggests that education, above all other factors, critically shapes women's attitudes toward their hope chests, their expected gender roles in marriage, and their negotiating power in both household purchases and wedding arrangements.
Jansen, Dr. Stefaan, U. of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom - To aid workshop on 'Towards an Anthropology of Hope? Comparative Post-Yugoslav Ethnographies,' 2007, Manchester, in collaboration with Dr. Elissa L. Helms
'Towards an Anthropology of Hope? Comparative Post-Yugoslav Ethnographies,'
November 9-11, 2007, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Organizers: Dr. Stefaan Jansen (University of Manchester) and Dr. Elissa L. Helms (Central European University - Budapest)
This workshop was the first opportunity for a new wave of anthropologists working on the post-Yugoslav states - both 'insiders' and 'outsiders' -- to engage in a collective agenda-setting exercise on the comparative basis of their own ethnographic work. Its objective was two-fold. First, with the help of senior scholars working in other East European states, participants worked to de-provincialize the anthropology of the post-Yugoslav states by putting it in long-overdue conversation with the anthropology of postsocialism. Second, and more controversially, workshop participants debated the feasibility of placing a notion of 'hope' at the center of the study of social transformation. In addition to these theoretical and analytical explorations aiming to push the boundaries of anthropology, the workshop also functioned as the launch event for a collaborative network of anthropologists interested in bringing a sense of futurity to the study of societies that are often defined as stuck in their (Balkan) past. A second conference on those themes is scheduled to take place in Chicago in 2008.
Szenassy, Edit, Charles U., Prague, Czech Republic - To aid research on 'Governing Romani Women's Bodies: Between Everyday Reproductive Decisions and Population Politics in Slovakia,' supervised by Dr. Jaroslav Skupnik
EDIT SZENASSY, then a student at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Governing Romani Women's Bodies: Between Everyday Reproductive Decisions and Population Politics in Slovakia,' supervised by Dr. Jaroslav Skupnik. High fetility rates of Romani/Gypsy women are portrayed by some public actors in Slovakia as a burden on society or welfare system. Facing diverse forms of discrimination and violence including impeded access to healthcare, Romani women's wombs have historically been of grave concern to state power, and continue being regarded as a 'time bomb' bound to explode as presently Romani births outnumber those of the Slovak majority. Between 1977 and 1991, special benefits were granted in return for Romani women's voluntary sterilization, however, recent scandals indicate that many of the operations during this period were neither voluntary, nor performed with due consent. The results of this fieldwork research indicate that the coerced sterilization of Romani women continued into the mid-2000s. This project examined Romani women's reproductive decision-making and its tensions with Slovak population politics. Its central focus was an ethnographic research based on participant observation into current reproductive practices among Romani women in a poor segregated Roma slum in East Slovakia. It explored the intricate positions women, their kinship networks, health professionals, and authorities take, with the aim of revealing and understanding their potentially conflicting interests. The ethnographer was situated in a politically and ethically loaded field, as she attempted to analyze the ramifications intertwining the state, nationalism, and the politics and poetics of reproduction.
Koch, Insa Lee, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on ''Anti-Social Behaviour': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner
INSA LEE KOCH, then a student at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on ''Anti-Social Behavior': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. This research investigated the role of the state in the life of white working class people on a post-industrial council estate in England. As geographically demarcated areas of government-built housing, often characterized by a strong involvement of state authorities and high degrees of welfare dependency, council estates can be seen as primary instances of state-building projects. Based upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted on one of Britain's largest council estates, this research investigated how its local people come to imagine and make use of the state in their everyday lives. It found that people often treat the state as a personalized resource to rely upon to upset, modify, and generate intimate social relationships that otherwise exist beyond the domain of official state intervention. In a context characterized by intra-community divisions and enmities, an array of state actors -- such as the police, social services and council officers -- then become potential allies to mobilize in one's pursuit of reputation, recognition and justice. Looking at the state, not as a distinct entity on its own, but as an intimate extension of people's social lives, this research offered insights into the sociality of British working-class communities, as well as into broader anthropological discussions of the state, citizenship, and democratic politics.
Ayuandina, Sherria Puteri, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Restoring Virginity: Hymenoplasty, Value Negotiations, and Sexual Knowledge among Migrant Muslim Women in the Netherlands,' supervised by Dr. John R. Bowen
Preliminary abstract: In many societies, unmarried women must negotiate the tension between premarital sexual desires and social expectations to maintain virginity before marriage (Eich 2010, Buskens 1999, Parla 2001). With recent developments in medical technology and the rise of opportunities for premarital sexual behavior, young women who believe that they no longer possess an intact hymen can now undergo hymenoplasty surgery, which alters the hymen ring to minimize the aperture. While hymenoplasty draws its significance from socially-constructed values of virginity, there is a lack of ethnographic exploration of the phenomenon. Studies on hymenoplasty to date have been primarily conducted by medical researchers who focus on the surgical procedure and doctors' ethical dilemmas. They often assume that the desire for this surgery is evidence of women's oppression. Most ignore the social motivations of the female patients, the intergenerational networks among women of migrant background, and the 'migrant-native' dynamics between the patient and the doctors (Bhugra 1998, Parla 2001). I will investigate the complicated and contradictory social aspects of hymenoplasty as experienced and negotiated by Muslim women patients from migrant background in the Netherlands. The surgery will provide a site to observe the negotiation of sexual values surrounding female virginity between the young women and other members of the community of her background, between the patients, the family, and the doctors, as well as among the doctors themselves, and thereby explore the negotiation of values and of control of sexuality in a pluralistic setting.