Resnick, Elana, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid aid engaged activities on 'She Writes the Book of How Much We Suffer: Engaging Waste Management Research Participants in Sofia, Bulgaria,' 2016, Bulgaria
Preliminary abstract: With the Engaged Anthropology Grant I plan to revisit my field-site of Sofia, Bulgaria and, using collaborative ethnographic film documentation techniques, public presentations, and visual representations, make clear what I have created since returning back from the field. I plan to share my Wenner-Gren research findings with three segments of the populations with which I conducted dissertation research: 1) Romani waste workers in Sofia Bulgaria, 2) environmental NGOs and policy makers in Bulgaria, 3) Bulgarian anthropologists and academics. By sharing both my initial Wenner-Gren research findings and documentation of local reactions to these findings, I will, for the first time, be able to engage at once the various host communities with which I conducted dissertation research.
Hothi, Randeep S., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Sikhism Will Be Televised: Recognition and Religion-Making amongst British Sikhs,' supervised by Dr. Arvind-Pal Mandair
Preliminary abstract: The Sikh diaspora is currently undergoing rapid cultural transformation, which some scholars have likened to a 'renaissance'. Over the last fifteen years, various unexpected and creative forms of Sikh art and politics have proliferated, particularly in the UK. British Sikh television networks have been at the forefront of this movement. These community-sponsored, non-profit television networks are sites in which Sikh cultural producers come together and produce diverse programming that makes sense of the world while creatively engaging with Sikhism. I examine how British Sikh cultural producers make complicated decisions about how Sikhism should be publicly presented, which representations of Sikhism should be disseminated, and how they will address their audiences--Sikh and non-Sikh. This project uncovers the living debates, interests, and aspirations that shape British Sikh cultural production and the complicated ways that the notion of religion frames discourses about Sikhism. This research provides an opportunity to examine the wider ramifications of minority cultural production in secular societies, and the ways that minority groups articulate their own identities and socially situate themselves by addressing others.
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.
Kideckel, Dr. D., Central CT St. U., New Britain, CT; and Mihailescu, Dr. Vintila, Nat'l School for Political & Admin. Studies, Bucuresti, Romania - To aid collaborative research on 'Citizenship & Changing Political Identity In Two Globalizing Societies'
Bjork, Stephanie R., U. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI - To aid research on 'Clan as Social Capital among Somalis in Finland,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Malaby
STEPHANIE R. BJORK, while a student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was awarded a grant in July 2003 to aid research on clan affiliation as social capital among Somalis in Finland, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas M. Malaby. Bjork's goal was to understand the changing dynamics of the Somali clan system and the way traditional kinship networks are remade in diaspora. During 16 months of fieldwork among Somalis living in Helsinki and the neighboring cities of Espoo and Vantaa, she collected data through participant observation, sociodemographic surveys of 200 Somali men and women representing the major clan families and two minority groups, and in-depth interviews. Challenging the traditional assumption that clan-based societies are egalitarian, Bjork documented the hierarchical structure of the Somali clan system through clan discourse, including everyday talk, stereotypes, and performance. She also investigated the ways in which Somalis gained access to work in both the Finnish formal economy and the Somali informal economy. She found that clan identity played a stratifying role for Somalis in everyday life and that clan affiliation shaped social networks and affected participation in the Somali informal economy. New networks formed in diaspora among Somalis from different clans (and to a lesser degree including Finns) through work, school, neighborhoods, and friendships helped shaped the informal economy as well as clan affiliation in everyday use and practice.
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Modernity Meets Clan: Cultural Intimacy in the Somali Diaspora. In From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context. (A. Kusow and S. Bjork, eds.) Red Sea Press:Trenton, NJ
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Clan Identities in Practice: The Somali Diaspora in Finland. In Somalia: Diaspora and State Reconstitution In The Horn Of Africa. (A. Osman Farah M. Muchie, and J. Gundel eds.) Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd.
Thompson, Niobe S., Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Belonging in the North: Migrant Experiences and Identity in Northeast Siberia,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
NIOBE S. THOMPSON, while a student at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, received funding in August 2002 to aid research on migrant experiences and identity in northeastern Siberia, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. In the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug (Chukotka) of northeastern Russia and in regions of central Russia, Thompson conducted fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork on non-native senses of belonging. The research was intended to explore the negotiation of identity in a traditionally migrant, transient population, an issue with implications for the future of communities in the Russian Far North and the success of planned programs of northern depopulation and resettlement. The coincidence between Thompson's project and a major program of modernization initiated in 2001 by a new administration under the leadership of wealthy governor-oligarch Roman Abramovich was intentional, because the challenge of an outsider-led program of change was expected to galvanize local identity in unexpected ways. Research findings revealed that a strongly localist sense of belonging and a rejection of mainstream Soviet and Russian life had characterized the settler community since its emergence, and that authority and entitlement through 'northern experience' were key features of local discourse. The challenges of outsider-led modernization to the established population met discourses of resistance long cultivated in Chukotka and endangered its long-term sustainability.
Livni, Eran, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Democracy Without Civil Society? Chalga Music and the Ambivalent Accession of Bulgaria to the European Union,' supervised by Dr. Richard Bauman
ERAN LIVNI, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'Democracy without Civil Society? Chalga Music and the Ambivalent Accession of Bulgaria to the European Union,' supervised by Dr. Richard Bauman. This fieldwork investigated chalga music as a site of ambivalence toward Bulgaria's integration in the political framework of the European Union: democracy that is sustained by pluralist civil society. Chalga is a commercial form that fuses global and Balkan pop musics. The publics constituting chalga's social life are extraordinarily diverse, including people from the margins. However, the emphasis of this music on social and musical heterogeneity does not lead Bulgarians to embrace chalga as a grassroots democratic culture. On the contrary, Bulgarians from all groups discuss chalga's openness as an indication that, in Bulgaria, pluralism leads to balkanization rather than to civil society. The question this research addressed was 'If chalga is construed as crude and antithetic to civil society, why does the genre not only enjoy wide popularity but also offer Bulgarians ways to contest EU democracy?' The fieldwork findings indicate that it is through a Western gaze that Bulgarians apprehend the image of their home landscape -- the Balkans -- as the foil of Europe. That is, the people of the southeastern margins of 'modern civility' are 'backward' and, hence, cannot generate civil society. Thus Bulgarians would disclaim chalga in order to show that they are possessed of the thought and behavior of 'civilized Europe.' In the same breath, however, they would embrace chalga because nothing else could affirm like it did that, as a nation, Bulgarians were not passive subjects of Europe's standards of integration, but rather self-consciously 'backward Balkanites:' inferior but not submissive.
Cramblit, Miggie Mackenzie, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Wild Relations: Producing Socionatural Value in the Scottish Highlands,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
Preliminary abstract: This research explores how land use and resource management generate novel forms of sociality and value in the western Highlands of Scotland, a sparsely populated and largely treeless area officially classified as 'wild land.' Despite the term's suggestion of an empty landscape, 'wild' land is actually inhabited and actively stewarded, often by isolated rural communities whose livelihood depends on tourism revenue. What does it mean to live amidst and to labor with wild land? How is wild land made valuable, and what forms of relationality does it engender? Critical studies of nature have largely understood the wild as an ideological construction and have primarily theorized parks and wilderness areas in terms of capitalist or neoliberal economic value. Departing from these trends, this research seeks to engage wildness as a material attribute of landscape and to address the representations, practices, and social relations through which so-called 'wild' land is made valuable. Through ethnographic fieldwork focused on the remote Knoydart peninsula, a landscape dubbed 'Britain's last great wilderness,' this research will examine how human actors become sensitive to nonhuman presences through labor with 'wild' land, and will track the forms of value that flow from this 'socionatural labor.' Combining anthropological theories of commoditization and value production with an emerging posthumanist literature, this research will suggest novel ways to study value as the outcome of human-nonhuman relationality or 'socionatural labor,' a perspective that can reveal new ethical possibilities for relating through difference in a more-than-human world.
Witeska, Anna Dominika, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Making Political Subjects in Post-Socialist Poland: Memory Workings among 'Veterans' and 'Victims of Oppression'', supervised by Dr. Michael Sinclair Stewart
ANNA WITESKA, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Making Political Subjects in Post-Socialist Poland: Memory Workings among 'Veterans' and 'Victims of Opression,'' supervised by Dr. Michael Sinclair Stewart. Research focused on the local performances of national memory politics in the aftermath of the communist regime in Poland. Looking at the processes of objectification of the communist past taking place in the authoritative settings (courtrooms, the Institute of National Remembrance, exhibition halls, official commemorative rituals, unveiling of monuments) she searched for discursive and symbolic patterns of inclusion and exclusion of political subjects into/from the commemorative landscape of the Polish historidzed state. The grantee worked mainly with two broadly defined categories of people who got politically engaged during communism: the ex-officers of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the anti-communist activists. Combining participant observation in various institutional settings with archival work, discourse analysis, and in-depth interviews with individuals, the project tackled the mediating role that the state-institutions, their agents, and representations produced by them, have played in individual processes of remembering, commemorating, and recalling. Research findings deal with ways in which overlapping ideologically loaded notions of state, nation, sacrifice, duty, authority, democracy, Catholicism and justice become differently reconfigured in individual actions concerning the communist past. This research points towards the ambiguities of the Polish allusive model of retroactive justice and their consequences for the homo politicus of the past political era.
Witeska-Mlynarczyk, Anna. 2007. Proces W Transkrypcji. (Op.Cit.,) 3(36):41-46