Nicewonger, Todd Evans, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Intellectuals, Material Culture, & Flemish Fashion Design as an Economy of Innovation,' supervised by Dr. Lambros Comitas
TODD E. NICEWONGER, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in July 2007 to support research on 'Intellectuals, Material Culture & Flemish Fashion as an Economy of Innovation,' supervised by Dr. Lambros Comitas. The project was conducted at a Fashion Design Academy where the grantee examined the social organization of the institution and the communicative practices used among student designers. Building on contemporary research into the cultural production of aesthetics, embodiment, and apprenticeship, this study investigated how certain virtues associated with an avant-garde movement in fashion converged into what eventually became recognized as the Flemish fashion aesthetic. This effort was characterized by novel modes of production and ideas about what it means to be a 'good and creative' fashion designer. Fundamental to these beliefs were social ideals arguing that fashion mediates the re-orientation of knowledge and stimulates new ways of imagining lived reality. As such, artisans are believed to embody an intellectual responsibility: one that can craft embodied notions of doubt, joy, and-central to this investigation-possibility. By illuminating how notions of the future are imagined, translated into design concepts, and then technically produced, this study conceptualizes the creative practice of design as hope.
Fernandez Garcia, Sandra, UNED, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Meanings and Senses in Process: An Ethnography of Emerging Practices of Artistic-technological Production in Urban Contexts,' supervised by Dr. Angel Diaz de Rada Brun
PROVIDE A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PROJECT IN PLAIN ENGLISH (UNFORMATTED -- WITHOUT BULLETS OR NUMBERED LISTS -- 200 WORD MAXIMUM).
My research deals with the processes of artistic production in liminal places with diffuse borders between different areas of knowledge such as science, technology, and art, on one hand and, on the other, forms of action and social organization that generate work dynamics based on shared meanings. There is a series of public and private, fixed and itinerant spaces that make up a network that is dynamic, changing, and superimposed on other networks, through which people and objects circulate. Medialab-Prado, Tabakalera or Hangar, are examples of the places in Spain in which groups of people who develop practices of production and learning in very specific ways converge. These practices are generally influenced by the ways free software programming is organized and by the idea of 'commons' or public utility. These network relationships, in which the focus is moved away from the artistic object and onto the process, involve a kind of artistic generation that has a very marked political focus, and this provides the opportunity to investigate the spaces of culture as political spaces. My research focuses on an ethnographic analysis of the practical construction of this concrete form of what we call artistic objects in our contemporary urban society. The objective is to understand the relationship of this kind of object and the practices that produce and distribute it with the model of social relations in which it is inserted, as well as the production of political (urban activism) meaning that this relationship generates.
Quest, Mary Nell, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Renewing the Port, Rethinking Space: Experiences of Urban Renewal in Marseille,' supervised by Dr. Frances E. Mascia-Lees
MARY NELL QUEST, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'Renewing the Port, Rethinking Space: Experiences of Urban Renewal in Marseille, France' supervised by Dr. Frances Mascia-Lees. This project explored people's sensory experiences of urban renewal projects currently underway in Marseille, France. These urban projects are reconstructing the city's infrastructure and refining its image: as France's port city on the Mediterranean, the city played an important role in colonialism before falling into economic decline and becoming associated with criminality and inassimilable immigration. However, current urban renewal efforts are recasting this image, and positing the city as central in changing relations between France, Europe, and the other side of the Mediterranean. The central research question asked in this project was as follows: Within this changing urban context, how do diverse social actors, through their embodied, sensory experience, sense belonging to the city, the nation, the Mediterranean region, and to Europe more broadly? With Foundation support, fieldwork was conducted among residents from various Marseille neighborhoods, urban planners, architects, government officials, social workers, association leaders, and activists. Methodologically, the approach combined archival research, participant observation, sensory recordings, participatory walking tours, and ethnographic interviews. The dissertation will contribute to scholarly work in the anthropology of immigration, urban anthropology of globalization, embodiment studies, and science studies.
Halawa, Mateusz Pawel, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Inhabiting Postsocialism: The Rise of Mortgages in Poland,' supervised by Dr. Ann Laura Stoler
Preliminary abstract: In the recent years mortgages, newly introduced in Poland, have been contributing to the rearranging of property relations, stimulating construction, and enabling middle class aspirations in this postsocialist society. There are more than 1.5 million active contracts today, and there exists no significant group of people who have completed their payments. The typical horizon of household indebtedness reaches more years into the future than the memory of market economy into the past. Half of those contracts are adjustable rate mortgages denominated in Swiss francs, leveraging low interest rates and currency exchange fluctuations. They draw mortgage households into the networks of global finance, enabling people to enjoy the benefits of speculation, but also subjecting them to unprecedented risks and uncertainties. This project engages the anthropology of credit and debt as well as the anthropology of finance in tracking the work of mortgages in enabling new forms of life and wealth in Poland after socialism. It offers an ethnography of financial instruments that forge differences between people through credit, debt, and scoring; enroll households into the markets in property, currency, and capital; and give rhythm and horizon to everyday life 'on one's own.' The research is guided by three questions: (1) What market devices, currencies, laws, people, institutions, and places need to come together in the design of the mortgages in Poland to make them efficacious? (2) How do mortgages work to rearrange the practices of everyday life and domestic economies of Polish households? (3) In what ways do mortgages become associated with shifts in social organization mediated by property in Poland 20 years after the fall of socialism?
Santha, Dr. Istvan, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary; and Ssorin-Chaikov, Dr. Nikolai, Cambridge U., Cambridge, UK - To aid collaborative research on 'Power, 'Authorities', and Emotions in Post-Socialist Russia'
Preliminary abstract: The project aims to study the emotional experiences of people involved in hierarchical relationships, that have to participate in performances of power, such as celebrations of national and regional leaders. The researchers plan to study the phenomena of public celebrations from the new perspective with the focus on emotional experiences of the participants, their emotional involvement and control of expressions. This new approach is a result of critical attention toward premises of western tradition of thought that tends to separate private emotional phenomenon from public performativity. The previous fieldwork experiences of collaborators showed that even the most formal patterns of behavior in Russia (such as official celebrations at the Houses of Culture or highly formalized celebrations of birthdays of national leaders with presenting of gifts) arouse the emotions of quite a wide range, from excitement too cynicism. The project is planned to become comparative. The fieldworks in two field sites (Moscow and Ulan-Ude) at one time will help to compare the patterns that evolve in the center and periphery. This comparison will help to analyze the phenomenon of power performances in different contexts.
Jaroka, Livia, U. College of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Ethnic Relations and the Management of Everyday Life among Hungarian-Speaking Urban Roma in Postcommunist Hungary,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Stewart
LIVIA JAROKA, while a student at University College of London in London, England, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on ethnic relations and the management of everyday life among Hungarian-speaking urban Roma in post-communist Hungary, under the supervision of Dr. Michael S. Stewart. Jaroka's fieldwork was focused on Roma living in the Jozsefvaros, an area in the Eighth District of Budapest. Data were gathered on Roma social organization, status, and experiences of and responses to social, cultural, economic, political, and human rights conditions since the political-system change in 1989. Special emphasis was placed on factors encouraging or discouraging assimilation or the continued classification of others as Roma. The data showed how the Roma-most of whom had lost economic security after the change of the political system-had failed to be absorbed into Hungarian society, mainly because the non-Roma population appeared to accept unrealistic, exotic stereotypes of Roma and to be unwilling to accept the integration attempts of aspiring Roma. The everyday experiences of informants showed that integration attempts were rejected by majority Hungarians even while the Roma were constantly blamed for 'not being able and willing to integrate.' The discriminative attitude among the majority was the main reason for seeking assimilation, yet many Roma, especially younger people, chose a more nationalistic Roma attitude, often antagonistic to non-Roma.
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
July 24, 2008
Tesar, Catalina Constantina, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania - To aid training in social-cultural anthropology at U. College London, United Kingdom, supervised by Prof. Michael Sinclair Stewart
Konvalinka, Dr. Nancy Anne, U. Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Late-Forming Families. The Organization of Care-Giving and the Concept of Generation'
DR. NANCY A. KONVALINKA, National University of Distance Education, Madrid, Spain, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Late-Forming Families: The Organization of Care-Giving and the Concept of Generation.' Research on the organization of care-giving and the concept of generation in the growing group of late-forming families in Madrid, Spain, has found that late family formation (at the age of 35 or later) changes the dynamics of intergenerational care-giving present in families formed earlier. Whereas people who form families earlier often count on their parents for help with childcare, people who do so later, and whose parents are, therefore, older, find themselves simultaneously responsible for elder-care and childcare. While people feel that elder-care is an inescapable responsibility, having children is considered a personal choice, only to be undertaken if or when people have the capacity for providing childcare. The combination of a rigid order of culturally patterned life-course stages during difficult circumstances -- in the context of a welfare state that places the main responsibility for childcare and for care for the elderly and other dependents on the family -- helps explain people's tardiness in family formation. If kinship is considered to be both structure and process, late family formation, seemingly inevitable due to current life courses, places these families under a great intergenerational care-giving strain and will require them to negotiate some kind of solution.
Konvalinka, Nancy. 2013. Caring for Young and Old: The Care-giving Bind in Late-forming Families. In Pathways to Empathy: New Studies on Commodification, Emotional Labor, and Time Binds. G. Koch and S. Everke, eds. Campus Verlag: Frankfurt, New York
Konvalinka, Nancy. 2012. Methods and Concepts at Work: Generation and Caregiving in 'Late-Forming Families'. Anthropology News 53(5):10.
Bakker, Sarah Aaltje, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Ancient Moderns: Claiming Middle Eastern Christian Identity in the Netherlands,' supervised by Dr. Melissa L. Caldwell
SARAH AALTJE BAKKER, then a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received a grant in May 2009, to aid research on 'Ancient Moderns: Claiming Middle Eastern Christian Identity in the Netherlands,' supervised by Dr. Melissa L. Caldwell. This dissertation research examines debates among Syriac Orthodox Christians living in the Netherlands about how to be religiously, culturally, and ethnically distinct despite the narrative binary of Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East that dominates the secular discourse of Dutch multiculturalism. This ethnographically based project focuses on Dutch-Syriac efforts to cultivate a distinct moral identity that encompasses both their religious commitment to an ancient, sacred past -- as well as their political aspirations to achieve recognition as an indigenous ethnic group in the Middle East -- through international diasporic activism. This identity is crafted and contested through the practice of liturgical song (the focal point of Syriac religious observance and cultural performance), and then deployed via political advocacy and activism in a broader global field. In this study, musical expression and moral identity emerge as distinct yet entangled threads from Syriac Orthodox Christian engagements with the Dutch multiculturalism debates and with international geopolitical conversations about secularism, political identity, and religious identity. Even as they negotiate persistent marginalization and misrecognition, Middle Eastern Christians unsettle the racial and religious categories undergirding the popular narrative of Judeo-Christian secular Europe, defining new conceptions of religious difference within a plural Europe.