Ozgen, Zeynep, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Schooling, Islamization, and Religious Mobilization in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Rogers Brubaker
ZYNEP OZGEN, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Schooling, Islamization, and Religious Mobilization in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Rogers Brubacker. This ethnographic and historical project analyzes the relationship between rapidly growing religious education sites and mobilization efforts by Islamic movements in Turkey. The dissertation concentrates on the period from Turkey's 1980 military coup through the present to explain how Islamic movements have appropriated the secular vision of social engineering through education to reach, recruit, and organize followers. It also explores the consequences of a renewed emphasis on religious education for the perception and practice of Islam in everyday life. Through a combination of ethnographic field notes, interviews with key local and national actors, and analysis of archival documents the dissertation traces how religious education becomes the focal point of local and national struggles to inspire mobilization and advance an agenda of sociocultural Islamization.
Bishara, Dr. Amahl Alexis, Tufts U., Medford, MA - To aid research on 'Space, Infrastructure, and a Fragmented Public Sphere: A Palestinian Exchange Across a Divide'
DR. AMAHL A. BISHARA, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Space, Infrastructure, and a Fragmented Public Sphere: A Palestinian Exchange across a Divide.' Conducting research in two Palestinian communities, one in the West Bank and one in Israel, this research employed an exchange of photography taken by participants from each community to examine the factors that enable and constrain solidarity or exchange of ideas between these two communities. Both of these Palestinian communities live under Israeli rule, albeit with different political statuses. Palestinians in Israel are citizens of Israel, but on the peripheries of the Palestinian nationalist project. Palestinians in the West Bank are at the center of the nationalist project but live under military occupation. Both groups struggle to secure quality housing, to achieve physical safety, and to find ways to effectively express themselves to authorities. All participants had a strong connection to commonly recognized elements of Palestinian culture. Social media may seem to multiply opportunities for communication across geographic and political boundaries, but the photography exchange, conducted primarily over Facebook, laid bare the obstacles to solidarity even as it demonstrated shared cultural and political concerns. Each group had a distinct political habitus formed by everyday political experiences. Laws, physical restrictions, and cultural norms constitute barriers to exchange despite perceptions of shared interests and culture.
Rignall, Karen Eugenie, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Expanding Cultivation, Land, and Livelihood Transformations in Southern Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett
KAREN EUGENIE RIGNALL, then a student at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Expanding Cultivation, Land, and Livelihood Transformations in Southern Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett. The project explored the relationship between land use change, land tenure, and livelihood strategies in a pre-Saharan oasis valley of southern Morocco. Research in three communities in the Mgoun valley revealed how changing land use practices become sites for contestations around livelihoods, political authority, and social hierarchies. In the past two decades, local residents have converted uncultivated steppe into agricultural land and housing settlements in unprecedented numbers. This conversion reflects shifts in land tenure systems resulting from transformations in livelihoods and social hierarchies in the region. The research explored these changes at a variety of scales -- regional, community, and household -- and used household case studies to address the centrality of land as a site of political and social contestation. Households with the resources to navigate customary tenure regimes in their favor use these institutions to facilitate their agricultural investments in the steppe. Rather than push for open land markets and individual tenure -- as predicted by many accounts of neoliberalism and agrarian change -- they invoke a discourse of communalism in support of customary regimes. In contrast, marginalized families without access to land resist communal tenure regimes, mobilizing to divide collective lands and secure individual tenure
Doberne, Jennie Carmel, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Technologically-Assisted Later Motherhood in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon
JENNIE DOBERNE, then a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'Technologically-Assisted Later Motherhood in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon. This research queries the reproductive practices and politics of extending motherhood into the fifth and sixth decades of life among Israeli women. Through the lens of later motherhood, both the limits and horizons of Israeli pronatalism become visible. The grantee conducted participant observation in a high risk pregnancy unit, interviewed later mothers and health care professionals, attended medical conferences on fertility and pregnancy, followed online communities of later mothers, and analyzed media representations of assisted reproduction. By listening to professional and personal narratives and by investigating the routes and risks Israeli women take to become mothers later in life, the stakes of belonging through family in Israel come to the fore. As citizenship is increasingly formulated in genetic terms and the future Jewishness of the state is uncertain, understanding the cultural preoccupation with assisting the nation's reproduction is of the essence.
Strava, Cristiana, U. of London, London, UK - To aid research on 'At Home with Modernity: Exploring Place-Making in a Casablanca Slum,' supervised by Dr. Trevor Marchand
CRISTIANA STRAVA, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'At Home with Modernity: Exploring Place-Making in a Casablanca Slum,' supervised by Dr. Trevor Marchand. This project explores the everyday lives and struggles of those living in Hay Mohammadi, a marginalized and criminalized neighborhood in Casablanca. Built on the gaping holes of a colonial-era quarry, Hay Mohammadi has become a mythical neighborhood in the history of Morocco. Home to North Africa's oldest and largest slum still in existence today, Hay Mohammadi served as a laboratory for experimentation with new urban planning forms at the height of the modernist movement. Sixty years later these visionary projects stand as monuments to ruin and decay, as the neighborhood became infamous for an underground torture prison, high crime rates and the more banal traumas of poverty and illness. The aim of this project is to explore the ways in which neighborhood spaces serve as powerful sites for the individual and communal negotiation of both past and future social imaginaries. Based on fifteen months of fieldwork that combine participant-observation with a variety of sensorial and multi-media methodologies, this project will present an experiential account of how everyday lives and the built spaces in which they unfold are enmeshed in an intimate web of historical, material, and sensorial aspects, and how these exist in tension with current political and heritage efforts centered on the neighborhood.
Hakyemez, Serra M., Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Double Side of Law: Minority Cultural Rights and Anti-Terror Laws in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
SERRA M. HAKYEMEZ, then a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded funds in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Double Side of Law: Minority Cultural Rights and Anti-Terror Laws in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork, this research aimed to examine the ways in which politics and law are weaved into each other in the adjudication of Kurdish political activists with the charges of terrorism in Turkey. One of the major trials charging thousands of Kurds with terrorism is the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial, which constituted the main focus of this research. This trial offered a particularly interesting ethnographic site to explore the relationship between law, terrorism, and sovereignty as it was based on an ambiguous definition to terrorism, curtailed the Kurdish dissent en masse, and violated the procedural precepts by which it was bounded. Attending courtroom hearings, interviewing all legal parties and collecting court documents, this research explored the kind of evidence police and state prosecutor produced to establish suspects' culpability, the procedural tools judges deployed to adjudicate them, and political defense statements suspects prepared to contest the accusations. Rather than attributing exceptional character to the KCK trial, this research explored how ordinary political activities were made security threats by the court and the ways in which suspects reclaimed politics in their genres of protest and defense.
Zaatari, Darine, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Clans and Cooperation in the Beq'aa Valley of Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk
DARINE ZAATARI, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received funding in May 2005 to aid research on 'Clans and Cooperation in the Beq'aa Valley of Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk. The objective of the study was to investigate cooperative and punitive behavior in Lebanon among kin and among different members of the community in Lebanon. Fieldwork was set out to test the extent to which degrees of relatedness, moral codes, and individual variation encourage or discourage cooperation. Research is expected to shed some light on the degree to which individuals have a sense of belonging, loyalty, and obligation to relatives versus non-relatives and how this shapes the social system. Conducting research was performed in two phases. The first part consisted of informal interviews and participant observation, with subject search and logistic preparation for the second phase. In the second phase, members of the community were selected to play a set of economic games, an objective experimental method. These games were simple, granted real monetary rewards, and could be applied in a variety of contexts. These games measured differences in cooperative behavior among different communities in Lebanon and among individuals within the community.
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.
Mittermaier, Dr. Amira Susanne, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Ethics of Giving: Islamic Charity in Neoliberal Egypt'
Dr. AMIRA MITTERMAIER, University of Toronto, was awarded a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'An Ethics of Giving: Islamic Charity in Neoliberal Egypt.' Whereas many NGOs in Egypt have shifted their focus from handouts to development, this project examines distributive forms of charity that are often quickly dismissed as 'ineffective' and 'outdated.' Fieldwork was conducted at large-scale charity organizations that collect and distribute obligatory and voluntary alms; among believers who prefer giving food or money directly to the poor; and in religious spaces of food distribution, such as Sufi khidmas and Ramadan tables (mawa'id al-rahman). Through in-depth fieldwork this project traces varied, shifting, and conflicting understandings of Muslims' religious-ethical responsibilities toward Others in need. Against the backdrop of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the project pays particularly close attention to overlaps, tensions, and interplays between political calls for 'social justice' and everyday acts of giving. It aims to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of intersections between religious practices, politics, ethics, and economics.
Mittermaier, Amira. 2012. Invisible Armies: Reflections on Egyptian Dreams of War. Comparative Studies in Society and History 54(2):392-417.
Mittermaier, Amira. 2012. Dreams from Elsewhere: Muslim Subjectivities beyond the Trope of Self-Cultivation. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(2):247-265.
Ozgul, Dr. Ceren, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research and writing on 'Converting Back to Armenianness: Normalization, Tolerance and Secularism in Turkey' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: My book, 'Converting Back to Armenianness: Normalization, Tolerance and Secularism in Turkey,' engages the religious, political and legal processes around Armenian return conversions in Turkey. The research that forms the basis of this application is my dissertation fieldwork, conducted in 18 consecutive months in Turkey, on the recent cases of conversion from Islam to Christianity in Turkey by individuals who trace their ancestry to Christian Ottoman Armenians and who once adopted Islam in the context of massacres culminating in the genocide of 1915. Accordingly, it draws critical attention to the diverse processes of formation of religious and secular subjectivities through 'double conversion': first, conversion from Islam to Christianity and second, conversion from a majority status to that of a religious minority. While focusing on return conversions in Turkey, the book aims to develop more general insights regarding secularism and ethno-religious difference, both in Turkey and within the broader scholarship on Muslim and post-colonial contexts. It also aims to contribute to recent anthropological efforts to interrogate how religious freedom is constituted in the greater context of academic scholarship and bring ethnographic insights to bear directly on some of the most pressing issues within democratic practice today.