Stein, Dr. Rebecca, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Digital Occupation: Social Media and the Israeli Occupation'
DR. REBECCA L. STEIN, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Digital Occupations: Social Media and the Israeli Occupation.' This project studied the ways that Israel's military occupation has been transformed in the age of social media and new digital communications technologies. Through ethnographic work with a variety of Israeli state institutions involved in the management and implementation of Israel's occupation, with Israeli human rights bodies working to document and educate about the violence of military rule, and with everyday Israeli civilians whose experience of occupation is increasingly meditated by online tools, the grantee tracked the ways that an increasing reliance on such digital tools, platforms, languages, and aptitudes has changed both the everyday terms of military rule in the occupied territories, and the Israeli struggle against it. The ways that Israeli civilian populations-highly literate in digital tools-are being recruited into the work of sustaining and supporting the occupation through ordinary social media processes, platforms, and practices were also considered. The research concluded that the evolving terms of social media usage are heavily impacting and shaping Israeli militarism, while shifts in Israeli militarization are dramatically altering the social media field itself-a phenomenon this study terms 'digital militarism.'
Gantt, Julian Monroe, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Islamic Property in Azerbaijan: A Century of Transformations,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
Preliminary abstract: When the Bolsheviks conquered Azerbaijan in April 1920 one of their first official acts was to confiscate the thousands of Islamic pious endowments or waqfs that dotted the countryside. Waqfs in Azerbaijan were frequently parcels of land converted into endowments for the support of mosques, schools, irrigation systems, and roads. Waqfs formed an essential part of a pre-Soviet Islamic property regime. Despite the fact that waqfs were abolished thirty years earlier, Azerbaijanis in the rural northwest were creating them out of their personal plots in collective farms in the 1950s and 60s. Using historical and ethnographic methods, this project asks what has property meant for Azerbaijanis in the context of a century of sweeping religious, political, and economic transformation? In what ways has the privatization of land in 1996 affected Islamic property and personhood? This research will examine how Azerbaijani communities have shaped and have been shaped by state interventions in the realm of Islamic property, providing a greater understanding of Islam, socialism, and capitalism as intertwined material and social processes.
Yonucu, Deniz, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Transforming Space and Citizens: Neoliberal Urban Governance and the Re-Formation of the State in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. P. Steven Sangren
DENIZ YONUCU, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Transforming Space and Citizens: Neoliberal Urban Governance and the Re-Formation of the State in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. P. Steven Sangren. The research has concentrated on the processes that led to the emergence of state of exception policies in some working-class neighborhoods of Istanbul during the 1990s. The first phase research was based on an ethnographic study conducted in a working class neighborhood of Istanbul. The second phase of the research was concentrated on the examination of the human rights abuse documents of the 1990s. The dissertation will argue that in addition to the officially declared state of exception policies in the Kurdish region of Turkey, the residents of the mostly Alevi populated, leftist identified neighborhoods have, also, been subjected to state of exception policies during the 1990s. The dissertation will analyze the effects of these policies on the marginalized working classes. It will also investigate the ways in which these policies which, sometimes express themselves in the most brutal forms of violence, inform the political subjectivities of the leftist identified working-class people in Istanbul.
Houston, Dr. Christopher, Macquarie U., Sydney, Australia - To aid research on 'Erich Auerbach, Islam and the Kemalist City'
DR. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, was awarded a grant in July 2001 to aid research on 'Erich Auerbach, Islam and the Kemalist City.' Funding resulted in nearly eleven months of research time being spent in Istanbul over three years (2001-2004). The key aim of the research was to explore the transformation in design, use and policing of urban spaces that facilitated the 'de-Ottomonization' of cities in the new territorial space of Turkey after 1923 until the present. One key question involved the architectural and urban planning processes involved in the reorganizing of cities by the Republican State. The research found that 'Kemalist Cities' were built by key planners and state elites on the conviction of the efficacy of modernist architectural forms or built environments to generate new social practices within them. The animation of cities as Kemalist was also achieved through routinizing secular practices and rituals and embedding nationalist symbols in public space. This involved strict control over both the public visibility of Islam and of the urban aural environment, primarily through the banning of languages other than Turkish in the public sphere. The research also found that contemporary Islamist and Kurdish social movements (diasporic or otherwise) are usefully understood through their response to these transformations of cities as Kemalist.
Houston, Christopher. 2005. Provocations of the Built Environment: Animating Cities in Turkey as Kemalist. Political Geography 24:101-119.
Lustenberger, Sibylle, U. of Berne, Bern, Switzerland - To aid research on 'Kinship and Homosexuality in the Age of Reproductive Technologies: A Perspective on Jewish Israeli society,' supervised by Dr. Edouard Conte
SIBYLLE LUSTENBERGER, then a student at the University of Berne, Bern, Switzerland, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Kinship and Homosexuality in the Age of Reproductive Technologies: A Perspective on Jewish Israeli Society,' supervised by Dr. Edouard Conte. It is argued that kinship relationships define a newborn child's place in society and reproduce collective identities and social relations. But how static are conceptions of kinship and what happens when gays and lesbians claim access to family rights? This research examines the obstacles same-sex couples overcome when becoming parents, and explores how they challenge the structure of Jewish Israeli society. In Judaism, kinship and religion are tightly interwoven, and religious status is transmitted through birth. This is also true in Israel, where family law is informed by Jewish approaches to kinship, and Orthodox authorities control conversion, marriage, and divorce. While Orthodox rabbis oppose same-sex parenthood, gays and lesbians have won partial access to reproductive technologies and recognition for their families in civil courts. Additionally, they bypass domestic restrictions, taking advantage of less restrictive regulations abroad. Against a background of legal incoherence, same-sex couples invest considerable energy to protect their family relations through legal means. Furthermore, they manifest their families' belonging to Jewish Israeli society when converting children born to non-Jewish mothers, and circumcising the boys. By promoting their own conceptions of kinship as legitimately Jewish, this research argues that they undermine the hegemony of Orthodox Judaism in Israel.
Nucho, Joanne, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid engaged activities on 'Imagining the City: Ethnographic Film Workshop in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon,' 2013, Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon
JOANNE NUCHO, University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in February 2013 to aid engaged activities on 'Imagining the City: Ethnographic Film Workshop in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon.' This project established a filmmaking workshop for young adults living in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon. Bourj Hammoud is a diverse, densely populated, working-class suburb of Beirut that is dominated by Armenian social and political institutions. Earlier dissertation research in Bourj Hammoud looked at the ramifications of various urban planning initiatives as well as infrastructures and social service institutions on the formation of sectarian identity. Using videography and photography, the grantee documented how people obtained much-needed services and resources, like education, medical care, electricity and water. The presence of the grantee's camera elicited great interest among several of interlocutors and enabled unexpected conversations as grantee and interlocutor filmed the urban landscape of Bourj Hammoud together. The engaged anthropology project established a filmmaking workshop with some interlocutors. Not only did students learn practical filmmaking skills, but their ethnographic explorations of their city serve as a collaborative method of starting critical conversations about some of the issues raised through the initial research encounter, including the notions of sectarian identity and community experienced through the built environment.
Allen, Lori A., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Uncertain State of Palestine: 'Pain and Suffering' in Nationalism and State-Building,' supervised by Dr. Nadia L. Abu El-Haj
LORI A. ALLEN, while a graduate student at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, received an award in December 2001 to aid field research in the West Bank on human rights and the role of suffering in Palestinian politics, under the supervision of Dr. Nadia L. Abu El-Haj. Allen focused on the institutional settings and organized practices of Palestinian human-rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in order to determine to what extent the transnational discourse of human rights, the global institutions that help define its parameters and goals, and the local brokers who parlay that discourse in Palestine have helped construct Palestinian nationalism, routinize violence, and link 'suffering' to politics. She explored the political and cultural processes through which Palestinians in the West Bank have experienced and adapted to increasing levels of violence committed by the Israeli occupation forces and the effects these processes have had on how the intifada (uprising) has been played out. Research methods included participant observation in human rights NGOs, interviews with families of 'martyrs' and former political prisoners, collection of media coverage of intifada and human rights issues, and observation of public demonstrations. Palestinian efforts to represent the conflict through the tropes of human rights and victimization are one manifestation of a larger project of redefinition-both within the Palestinian community and globally-of what counts as justifiable violence and a rescaling of the value of pain suffered for a political cause.
Allen, Lori A. 2009.Martyr Bodies in the Media: Human Rights, Aesthetics, and the Politics of
Immediation in the Palestinian Intifada. American Ethnologist 36(1):161-180.
Raucher, Michal Soffer, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'A Womb of One's Own? How Jewish Women Know What to Expect When They are Expecting,' supervised by Dr. Helen B. Schwartzman
MICHAL SOFFER RAUCHER, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'A Womb of One's Own? How Jewish Woman Know What to Expect When They Are Expecting,' supervised by Dr. Helen B. Schwartzman. This research was based on the hypothesis that given the prominent cultural and religious rejection of fetal personhood by Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) women in Jerusalem, anthropological theories on the effect of fetal ultrasound on personification did not apply. This project sets out to unravel the relationship between medicine, religion, and the individual in Israeli prenatal care. The phase of research supported by Wenner-Gren resulted in the collection of interviews with doctors, nurses, midwives, and doulas (labor-coaches) who work with Haredi women in Jerusalem. This phase also included extensive observations in a Haredi prenatal clinic and in the fetal ultrasound department of a major hospital in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the researcher spent a year observing the daily operations at the Jewish pro-life organization in Jerusalem. Findings from this phase of research highlight the ways in which doctors and rabbis act in concert in order to control the prenatal experiences of Haredi women; however, bolstered by their embodied experiences of pregnancy and the value given to their reproductive capabilities by the religious culture, Haredi women manipulate this system of control in order to conform to their requests and desires regarding prenatal medical care.
Caton, Dr. Steven C., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA; and Abdo A. Othman, Sana'a U., Sana'a, Republic of Yemen - To aid collaborative research on 'Environmental Events and State Governance: An Ethnography of a Crisis in the Sana'a Basin, Republic of Yemen'
DR. STEVEN C. CATON, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and DR. ABDOU ALI OTHMAN, Sana'a University, Sana'a, Yemen, received funding in June 2005 to aid collaborative research on 'Environmental Events and State Governance: An Ethnography of a Crisis in the Sana'a Basin, Republic of Yemen.' This grant proposal was on the Yemeni state's efforts to 'manage' a burgeoning water crisis in the country. For this research, four Yemeni post-graduate students were trained in anthropological theory and methods (conducted in Arabic, reading in English), followed by a practicum in which students applied what they had learned to fieldwork in 'water sites' (for example, parks, hospitals, water purification units, etc.). This included practice on how to write up field notes. Fielwork on the problems of water management began thereafter and lasted eight months. Ethnographic essays are now being prepared for publication in a volume tentatively titled, 'Anthropological Studies of Water in the Sana'a Basin,' which will not only be a contribution to the field of water sustainability studies but, hopefully, inspire Yemeni students to pursue social anthropology.