Al-Mohammad, Dr. Hayder, U. of Southampton, Southampton, UK - To aid research and writing on 'The Precariousness of Dwelling: Entangled Lives and Ethics In Post-Invasion Iraq' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. HAYDER AL-MOHAMMAD, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2012 to aid research and writing on 'The Precariousness of Dwelling: Entangled Lives and Ethics in Post-Invasion Iraq.' 'Rough Ground,' the resulting book project, seeks to ambiguate the stories of devastation and moral uncertainty in Iraq's recent history by giving more complex accounts of the connections, relations, and the entanglements of lives, which are named in forms such as friendship and family, and modes of comporting to others such as care, and even love, which have yet to become part of how one thinks and writes about life after the invasion of 2003. It is this picture of the lives of Iraqis as not merely caught in tribal tensions and obligations, sectarianism, war and occupation, and the violence and destruction of terror, but in the rough ground of mundane affairs and encounters, which clears a space to think of the care and ethics of daily life in Iraq. Such a narrative, however, does not do away with the politics, suffering, and history of the country; it indicates, rather, the thinness of thinking only of the unravelling of life in Iraq without also accounting for its entanglements as well-entanglements which are not merely counterpoised to violence and suffering, but emerge from, through, and even against them.
Tambar, Kabir, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Demands of Tolerance: Secular Configurations of the Political in a Turkish Islamic Society,' supervised by Dr. Danilyn F. Rutherford
KABIR TAMBAR, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'The Demands of Tolerance: Secular Configurations of the Political in a Turkish Islamic Society,' supervised by Dr. Danilyn F. Rutherford. Research examined the role of ritual in shaping the socio-political world of Alevis in Turkey. Over the past fifteen years, the Alevi community has witnessed what some commentators refer to as an 'awakening.' However, this communal awakening has not been consolidated through a single voice. Debate within the community has focused both on defining the fundamentals of Alevi religious structure and on defining the political location of the Alevi community in both state and society. By examining Alevi ritual life, this research project explores the community's diverse forms of institutionalization and its imbrication in the wider politics of secularism in Turkey. Research was conducted with Alevi communities primarily in two sites: Ankara and Çorum, Turkey. Both cities are located in central Anatolia, the former being the country's capital and the latter being a relatively small provincial town. This project focused on three Alevi institutions: 1) the Haci Bektas Anadolu Kültür Vakfi (HBAKV) in Ankara; 2) the HBAKV's branch organization in Çorum; and 3) the Ehli Beyt Vakfi in Çorum.
New York U., New York, NY, Narges Bajoghli, PI - To aid research on 'Restaging the Revolution: Military Media and the Contested Legacies of Revolution in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Faye Ginsburg
NARGES BAJOGHLI, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Restaging the Revolution: Military Media and the Contested Legacies of Revolution in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Faye Ginsburg. If successful, every revolutionary movement eventually faces a dilemma: how does the commitment to the revolutionary project get transmitted from one generation to the next as historical circumstances change? In the case of the Iranian revolution, from the 1979 generation to the present, different media forms have been critical indicators of generational sensibilities-from graffiti, posters, faxes and other 'small media' (that characterized the early days) to work in feature film, television, and social media identified with the contemporary moment. This research included intensive participant-observation of pro-regime filmmakers and cultural producers in the Islamic Republic. The grantee conducted ethnographic research in editing rooms, in production meetings, and in distribution trips of pro-regime filmmakers, focusing on how card-holding members of Iran's paramilitary organization, the Basij, create media and train a younger generation of media makers.
Khayyat, Munira, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'State of War: Violence, Uncertainty and Survival in Southern Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Michael Taussig
MUNIRA KHAYYAT, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'State of War: Violence, Uncertainty and Survival in Southern Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Michael Taussig. The dissertation project looks at how war comes to be 'naturalized' in a place where it has been an often-recurrent reality or at least potentiality for more than 60 years. A central thesis is that war, when protracted and persistent, is better understood as a social structuring force, and not just as a singular, exceptional, destructive event. This funding enabled twelve months of research along the southern border of Lebanon -- a poor and neglected rural periphery and a front-line of warfare, whose inhabitants depend on agriculture for subsistence, and the cultivation of tobacco and olives for income. To the inhabitants of this borderland, the pursuit of daily living necessarily intersects with the deadly objects that remain in the soil (such as mines and cluster bombs) and the wartime realities that visibly and invisibly structure the militarized border area. Thus, research examined the casual intertwining of war-related realities with the necessities of everyday living especially those relating to cultivating the land and the rebuilding of homes destroyed during the 'July War' of 2006. Fieldwork involved interviews and discussions with the inhabitants of several villages along the militarized border around the everyday themes of cultivation and construction, as well as the daily observation of village life across the different seasons in several villages along the border.
Can, Sule, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The State and the City: Ethno-Religious Conflict and Political Change at the Turkish-Syrian Border,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
Preliminary abstract: The Syrian Civil War has displaced millions of Syrian citizens since March 2011 and has drastically changed the lives of those in the Turkish-Syrian borderlands. Hatay, which was annexed by the Republic of Turkey from Syria under the French Mandate in 1939, is a border province that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees today. Although the province has long been renowned for its ethnic, religious diversity, the influx of the Syrian refugees and Turkey's Syria policy have created new ethno-religious conflicts and have shifted the dynamics of everyday life in Hatay. Drawing on micro-historical approaches to boundary-making and state formation, this ethnographic study focuses on first, the emergence of ethno-religious conflict in the city in response to Turkish state practices in Turkish-Syrian borderlands between local residents of Hatay and the displaced Syrians. Second, it explores political opposition and their impacts on claiming a 'right to the city' by looking at how the refugees and ethno-religious minorities grapple with the transformation of the city since the Syrian Civil War. This research will be conducted through a historical and ethnographic investigation of the local populations and the Syrian refugees in Hatay and the tense relations between Turkey and Syria. This project suggests that in international conflicts between neighboring states, the spatial, political and social divisions in border cities will increase as ethnic and religious identities become more politicized.
Guney, Murat Kazim, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'In the Intersection of Neo-Liberal Market and Islamic Government: The Internally Displaced Kurds of Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli
MURAT KASIM GUNEY, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'In the Intersection of Neo-Liberal Market and Islamic Government: The Internally Displaced Kurds of Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli. This project examines the side effects of the neoliberal development and fast economic growth in Turkey on the everyday life of the Turkish and Kurdish internal migrants and working classes. The ethnographic site of the study is the Tuzla Shipyards Zone of Istanbul, the major ship production site of Turkey that is inhabited by the internal migrants from rural regions of Turkey. In Tuzla, the migrant laborers work for subcontractor firms in temporary jobs without having social security, payment guarantee, and required equipment for work safety. Consequently, since 1992 in Tuzla shipyards 143 workers died because of 'accidents' at work. Tuzla is a salient example about the mode of the economic development in Turkey. Turkey has neither a significant investment in technological research and development nor a company with a high brand-value. Instead, in order to compete with other developing countries Turkey's only offer is the cheap labor force. That is to say, the economic growth in Turkey is sustained through the presence of the cheap labor that requires persistent government oppression over the working classes. Under these severe conditions this research asks: 'What are the mechanisms that reproduce exploitation of the shipyard workers' bodies and labor and endure their sufferings?'
Solana, Vivian, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Negotiating Belonging to a Global Community; Gender Politics in the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR),' supervised by Dr. Andrea Muelebach
VIVIAN SOLANA, then a student at University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Negotiating Belonging to a Global Community: Gender Politics in the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR),' supervised by Dr. Andrea Muelebach. Since their forced displacement in 1975, while Saharawi men fought in the Western Sahara against an invading Moroccan army, it was mainly Saharawi women who built and sustained the ministries, hospitals, schools, police offices and government institutions of a nation-state in refugee camps located in southern Algeria. The political leadership of the Saharawi nationalist movement has made Saharawi women's work and their active participation in the revolution iconic of Saharawi nationalism per se, a discourse which continues to be relevant in the current post-cease fire moment because, while most young Saharawi men live in continuous movement across North African/European borders for the purposes of livelihood, it is mostly women who continue to administer the exiled Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic through their everyday labor within the state. Having investigated the memory of Saharawi women, transformations in kinship relations, and the historical and contemporary role of the National Union of Saharawi Women in the camps, this research explores the relationship between state-building processes (practices of sovereignty), different forms of international intervention and gender relations, as it works through the contradictions that emerge for nationalist and women's struggles in a humanitarian context.
Erami, Narges, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on ' Crafting Bazaari Identity: Markets, Law, and Society in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick
NARGES ERAMI, while a student at Columbia University in New York, New York, received funding in June 2001 to aid ethnographic research on identity and practices in the bazaari carpet industry in west-central Iran, under the supervision of Dr. Brinkley M. Messick. Erami addressed the ways in which bazaaris in the carpet trade maintained their status as traditionalists while partaking of modern commercial techniques, from transnational capital flows to state-of-the-art technologies and marketing strategies. Bazaaris had reportedly allied themselves with the ulama (religious leaders) who founded the Islamic Republic of Iran, but they also retained a special autonomy from the state and its clerical apparatus. Looking at bazaari social networks in three towns, Erami explored the autonomous commercial spaces staked out by contemporary bazaaris, from the workshops and offices where ancient practices of carpet-making met high-tech design to the labyrinthine urban bazaars and more 'modern' sites of mercantile activity. The subtle interrelations between merchants in the bazaar and other players in the chain of rug production and circulation-designers, cottage-industry laborers, and local and international buyers-were examined. Bazaaris in the post-Revolution carpet industry were found to have formed self-regulating alliances to monitor trade and mediate disputes in a local domain independent of the state's legislative and judicial institutions. In their negotiations with fellow merchants and with producers and consumers of their luxury goods, the bazaaris of the carpet trade strategically counterbalanced conceptions of trust and openness with secrecy and suspicion.
Ozcan, Omer, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Waiting in the Kurdish Bordertown of Yuksekova,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
OMER OZCAN, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Waiting in the Kurdish Bordertown of Yuksekova,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali. The grantee conducted twelve months of research to study historically conditioned and future-oriented aspects of ordinary waiting practices in the border town of Yuksekova. Located at the juncture of the borders of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, Yuksekova has been a significant center of the ongoing armed conflict between the Turkish army and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) since the mid-1980s. In this border town waiting took on the weight of history and the embodied process of living shot through with trauma, forced displacement, chronic unemployment, and poverty. This project explored how chronic waiting has permeated the sensibilities of everyday life and shaped local conceptualizations of hope and resignation. Situated in the anthropological studies of time, everyday life and hope, this project studied waiting at two analytically related levels: 1) the ways in which waiting practices mediated historical and social change into the arrangement and rhythm of everyday life; and, more importantly, 2) how this influenced the imaginations of the future and conceptualizations of hope and resignation. Employing methodological tools of archival research, participant observation, life histories and interviews, this project analyzed the intricacies of everyday life within the larger processes of socio-political transformations and individual and communal experiences saturated with uncertainties and expectations.