van Vliet, Netta, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Israeli Security Corps: Citizenship, Population, and Militarism in Israeli National Identity Formation,' supervised by Dr. Diane Michelle Nelson
NETTA VAN VLIET, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received a grant in November 2006 to aid research on 'Israeli Security Corps: Citizenship, Population, and Militarism in Israeli National Identity Formation,' supervised by Dr. Diane Nelson. In 2002, Israel began constructing its controversial 'Security Fence.' More than 600 kilometers long, costing approximately 1.5 million dollars per kilometer, and complete with army patrols and watchtowers, the fence is an example of Israel's attempt to militarize and secure its borders while also consolidating its population as Jewish. The fence is emblematic of the two kinds of Israeli national security concerns -- demographic and militarized -- that are the focus of this research. This project examines security practices that link the production and defense of a specific collective to cultural and physical separation, incorporation, and reproduction of individuals. The research is based on three years (2006-2008) of ethnographic fieldwork focused on how Israeli state mechanisms aimed at producing a cohesive national Jewish-Israeli community shape the broader category of Israeli citizenship through social and biological reproductive processes framed in terms of securing a Jewish majority. This project examines how Jewish Israelis differently define and act on the values that inform their decisions to participate in, reproduce, and sometimes resist national security mechanisms, and how these definitions and practices shape their relations to and formations of wider socio-political contexts in terms of security, threat and war.
Le Febvre, Emilie Kathleen, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Visual Knowledge Production in the Negev: Bedouin Engagement with Visual Materials and Representational Antagonism in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Marcus Banks
EMILIE K. LE FEBVRE, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Visual Knowledge Production in the Negev: Bedouin Engagement with Visual Materials and Representational Antagonism in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Marcus Banks. Anthropologists of the Middle East have documented the significance of oral recitation and text-making in arab badu culture; however, little is known about the growing presence of visual materials in their societies. This research documents the practices by which photographs and videos are increasingly awarded value by the Arab Badu al-Naqab of southern Israel. It questions: How are visual mediums transformed into commodities in the Naqab? How do members use visual materials to support their genealogies and identities? Why are some visual materials restricted to private spheres while others are allowed to freely circulate? To answer these questions, ethnographic and archival research was conducted for sixteen months amongst families of the Al-ane and Al-Athamin. During this time, the grantee recorded the biographies of fifteen sets of 3-4 photographs and videos, created from 1890 to 2013, currently circulating within and between visual political economies in the Naqab. It was found that Arab Badu are increasingly consuming visual materials as a result of steady access to digital technologies and subsequently experiencing a democratization of their customary representational systems. Members engage visual materials in similar ways; however, their reading or re-reading of image content and circulation of the visual objects is contingent on the visual political economies in which the photograph or video is displayed and the pre-existing socio-political relationships established within these particular schemes of interaction and identification.
Nalbantian, Tsolin, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Native to National?: Collective Identity Production in Beirut's Armenian Neighborhoods 1991-2005,' supervised by Dr. Rashid Khalidi
TSOLIN NALBANTIAN, then a student at Columbia University, was awarded funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Native To National? Collective Identity Production In Beirut's Armenian Neighborhoods,' supervised by Dr. Rashid Khalidi. This research was a historical-anthropological, multi-sited ethnography of the Armenian community of greater Beirut, Lebanon. This research examined manifestations of collective identity and competing representations of the homeland and nation through the medium of media and a variety of cultural records, such as religious and educational documents from a variety social, cultural, and religious organizations. Research was conducted among various Armenian community media outlets located in Armenian-populated neighborhoods of Beirut and in Armenian social, religious, and cultural organizations that often (but not exclusively) sponsored these media outlets. This research was complemented by a series of Arabic, French, and English media sources in Lebanon. The findings also draw on participant observation at community and party-run media organizations, and interviews with media producers and local community officials. The project reveals the different senses of national identity that are communicated within spaces of production and consumption due to varying imaginations (even though membership rosters invariably overlap). The idiosyncrasies of this case -- including the consistent (yet variable) locus of the nation, the presence of state and affiliated institutions (without a corresponding state), and their maintenance within the state of Lebanon -- allowed for the examination of community media and the extent to which it is a form of governmentality from below. In addition, the project explores citizen-subjectivity within the intersection of social movement building, activist use of media, the nation, state institutions, and the state.
Aciksoz, Salih Can, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Broken Sons of The Nation: Masculinity, Disability, and Nationalism in Turkey' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
SALIH CAN ACIKSOZ, while a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Broken Sons of the Nation: Masculinity, Disability, and Nationalism in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali. Aciksoz examined subjectivity and political agency formation among the disabled veterans of the Turkish Army, who fought against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as conscripted soldiers. The research explored the nationalist signification, embodied experiences, and political practices of disabled veterans through the analytical lens of gender to account for the recent emergence of a politics of revenge, which targeted particularly dissident and minority intellectuals. Research findings indicate that the political agency of disabled veterans, which mimetically reproduces state violence, can only be understood in relation to the tension between the nationalist investment in disabled veteran body and the everyday experience of being a disabled man in Turkey. This tension is strongly articulated and violently exploited by a novel ultra-nationalist political culture, which provides disabled veterans both an intelligible account of their everyday suffering and sites of revenge. Fieldwork was conducted in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, where the grantee carried out archival research, collected life histories, and did participant observation in disabled veterans' associations.
Açiksöz, Salih Can. 2012. Sacrificial Limbs of Sovereignty: Disabled Veterans, Masculinity, and Nationalist Politics in Turkey. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 26(1):4-25.
Paz, Alejandro I., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Emergence of Latinos in Israel: Migration, Forms of Contact, and Discursive Transformation,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
ALEJANDRO I. PAZ, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in August 2004 to aid research on 'The emergence of Latinos in Israel: Migration, Forms of Contact, and Discursive Transformation,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein. Mostly due to mass deportations and anxiety-ridden flight in the last three years, Latinos in Israel have become a declining ethnic group, whose major ordering organizations have substantially changed. Churches and soccer leagues, which used to function as both meeting points for networks of friends as well as ritual centers for the celebration of Latino ethnic qualities in relation to Israel, have been decimated, and less formal organizations of households and friends have taken their place as the major sites for maintaining a sense of Latino ethno-linguistic identity. Latinos are conscious of their difference because of the fragility of their undocumented status, the work they do, the language they speak, the friendship networks which hold them together, and the set of holidays they celebrate separately from the Jewish nation. Especially among the youth, they and the NGOs that mediate their voice in the public sphere would have that difference recognized as a typical ethnicity comparable to any Jewish immigrant group. The differences that mark this group are, as expected, found in both their speech and their consciousness of speech. While for them, Israelis speak impatiently and often too aggressively, Latin Americans speak alegre, happily, and with more ritual. Although many adults are irritated by Israeli lack of manners, they have adjusted and many favor Israelis' more 'liberal' and 'modern' mores in comparison to Latin American 'conservatism' and 'underdevelopment'. There is then, a dialectic, often played out between parents and their children, where Latinos find themselves adopting apparent Israeli speech even as they preserve Latin American speech norms as part of their children's education.
Can, Basak, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Social Economy of Witnessing Violence: Enforced Disappearances in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois
BASAK CAN, then a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in July 2011 to aid research on 'Social Economy of Witnessing Violence: Enforced Disappearances in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois. Twelve months of research was conducted to study the continuum between political violence and its scientific bureaucratic inscriptions, and how the 'victims' of political violence, specifically families of the forcibly disappeared people, are influenced by and modify this continuum. The research was mainly conducted among the Saturday Mothers (an organization of the families of the enforcedly disappeared people) and at two human rights organizations (Human Rights Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) in order to have an ethnographic grasp of the social, political, and legal repercussions of political violence practiced by state security forces. Semi-structured interviews with lawyers, legal medicine experts, and doctors who are part of the reporting, documentation, and judging of political violence were carried out to understand meaning-making processes and practices of experts. Findings indicate that political discourses and practices of the victims of violence are increasingly influenced by the legalities of the state, be they forensic investigations, medical reportings or trial processes. On the other hand, families use these legal discourses and practices to question the legitimacy of the violence inflicted on them by re-politicizing the spaces, discourses, and relations that produce these legalities.
Schindler, Alexandra Kath, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Untimeliness of Permanent Transience: The Social Lives of Syrians in Alexandria,' supervised by Dr. Gary Wilder
Preliminary abstract: The Mediterranean port city of Alexandria has historically been a global transit point for migration and trade. Today it is host to a multi-million dollar human smuggling industry, as thousands of Syrians fleeing civil war attempt to take boats across the water to Europe. Many Syrians however, for various reasons, are unable to leave Alexandria, and are now living in permanent transience throughout the city. The influx of Syrians to Alexandria has taken place against the backdrop of controversial post-Uprising development and revitalization projects, and complaints by the city's Egyptian residents of state neglect and failing public infrastructures. This ethnographic project examines how new and distinct socio-economic relations, urban infrastructures, and informal economies emerge in Alexandria under the contemporary global and local conditions of war and displacement, economic precarity, and the failure of humanitarianism. In doing so, this research asks how the social lives of displaced Syrians in Alexandria invite us to rethink assumptions about mobility, displacement, and refugees.
Erten, Hatice Nilay, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'At Least Three Children: Negotiating Pronatalism, Neoliberalism and the State in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Marcia Inhorn
Preliminary abstract: This project explores how reproduction has been politicized in contemporary Turkey through the emergence of pronatalist policies. It aims to shed light on the ways in which women in urban Turkey experience and negotiate the emergent pronatalist discourses and policies of the Turkish state as they receive reproductive health care. This twelve-month project addresses this question by exploring the ways in which pronatalist discourses and policies make their way into medical setting resulting in gendered negotiations with the Turkish state. By conducting ethnographic research in hospitals and clinics, the project offers an ethnography of reproductive health care as an arena of encounter with the state (Ustundag and Yoltar 2011; Sullivan 2012) and as a process of reproductive governance (Morgan and Roberts 2012) through which the diverse expressions of class, ethnic and gendered identities in contemporary Turkey manifest. This study, thereby offers a critical analysis of how emergent pronatalism in Turkey plays out as increasingly powerful discursive, legislative and biomedical interventions into women's lives and the complex ways in which women negotiate these interventions.
Vinea, Ana Maria, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Between the Psyche and the Soul: Mental Disorders, Quranic Healing and Psychiatry in Contemporary Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Talal Asad
ANA VINEA, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Between the Psyche and the Soul: Mental Disorders, Quranic Healing and Psychiatry in Contemporary Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Talal Asad. This project explored questions of affliction and well-being, as well of the relation between science and religion as they are configured in the contemporary Egyptian field of 'mental disorders.' It has ethnographically examined two therapeutic practices - biomedical psychiatry and Quranic healing, both employed by suffering Egyptians. It has also analyzed the debates between these two groups of practitioners. Approaching these therapeutic practices as forms of knowledge about the human, the researcher investigated the techniques employed by psychiatrists and Quranic healers to construct their knowledge, as well as the concepts of affliction, causality, and reality articulated and enacted in their practices. She also examined the styles of reasoning and ways of invoking authority used by psychiatrists and Quranic healers. The evidence collected shows that in contemporary Egypt psychiatry gains authority by its state-authorization as the only legitimate way of treating mental disorders and by its 'scientific' status. However, psychiatry's etiology, diagnostic categories and treatment methods are contested by Quranic healers' practices. These practices, while themselves partly reconfigured by the encounter with psychiatry, continue to argumentatively engage with the Islamic tradition, providing different ways of understanding affliction and of being in the world.