Rottmann, Susan Beth, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'The Predicaments of Reciprocity at 'Home' for German-Turkish Return Migrants,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth Martin George
SUSAN BETH ROTTMANN, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'The Predicaments of Reciprocity at 'Home' for German-Turkish Return Migrants,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth George. With funding supported 12 months of dissertation research with German-Turkish return migrants in Turkey. By interviewing migrants, collecting their life stories, and observing everyday interactions, the grantee examined how German-Turks navigate belonging in families, communities, and nations after returning 'home.' By focusing on moral obligation in diverse domains (in families, in religious communities, and concerning the nation), the research was able to bring to light the complexities and interconnections of ethno-nationalism, class, and Muslim identity for return migrants. German-Turks are a group that has come to represent the potential socio-cultural redefinition of Turkey and Europe signified by Turkey's pending European Union membership, and this research represents an important contribution to our understanding of this group and makes contributions to anthropological scholarship on return migration, moral obligation, reciprocity, and ethno-national identity.
Day, John William, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Peace through Prosperity: Capital Investment, Entrepreneurship, and the 'Kurdish Problem' in Southeastern Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Steven Charles Caton
WILL DAY, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2008 to aid research on PPeace through Prosperity: Capital Investment, Entrepreneurship, and the 'Kurdish Problem' in Southeastern Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Steven Charles Caton. Research focused on urban poverty, post-conflict economic assistance and economic reconstruction projects, and claims making in the city of Diyarbakir in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. Set in the context of the violent upheaval of the countryside and the acts of military-led forced displacement and rural dispossession that have remade country and city in that region since the 1980s and 1990s, this ethnographic study examines the ongoing consequences of this transformation. It centers on families cut off from rural subsistence solidarities and working to rebuild lives and livelihoods in a stagnant urban economy, and on the web of relations joining their social worlds with a heterogeneous and deeply divided field of poverty knowledge, assistance, and war-loss compensation. Through 26 months of fieldwork that moved back and forth between the sites of poverty knowledge production and economic policy (national and Kurdish local governmental institutions, various NGOs) and the meaningful practices of memory, claim making for state accountability and economic justice, storytelling, the researcher explore the generation of new forms of belonging and citizenship from within the contradictions and tensions of contemporary economy and politics in a city in flux.
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.
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?'
Kennedy, John Michael, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Coming of Age in Palestine: Childhood and Youth Between Two Generations,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu Lughod
Preliminary abstract: The mass mobilization of young people -- known colloquially as 'children of the stones' -- in the first Intifada generation gave rise to intense debates in Palestinian society and the international community about the exposure of children and youth to political violence within the context of national liberation. Since the Oslo state building process and the second Intifada, these debates continue amidst the establishment of institutions within the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a flourishing of international humanitarian and development projects that have shaped children and youth as populations with particular rights and needs, requiring new modes of governance. How do historical events marked by violence (i.e. the two Palestinian uprisings) serve to complicate the very distinctions between 'childhood,' a category of social and political immaturity, and 'youth', a period of nascent political subjectivity? How do fluctuating classifications of age -- normatively marked with words like child, youth, adult, and generation -- (re)structure relations of power? My project will investigate how categories of childhood and youth are differently constructed and mobilized for the first Intifada generation and the current Aqsa (or second Intifada) generation, by both Palestinian and international actors. As the first full-length ethnographic study to draw attention to Palestinian children and youth as political subjects, this research will speak to the role of state and non-state practices of age classifications, and the forms of political participation and social formation that such practices make possible.
Mittermaier, Amira, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'A Poetics of the Imagination: Dreams and Dream Interpretation in Contemporary Egypt, ' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick
AMIRA MITTEMAIER, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in June 2002 to aid research on 'A Poetics of the Imagination: Dreams and Dream Interpretation in Contemporary Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick. The project examined modern religious dream-worlds of contemporary Egypt, and research proceeded from an understanding of the dream as a specific kind of experience, which is narrated, valued, and interpreted in historically specific ways. It traced the significance of dreams and visions in Muslims' everyday lives; analyzed modes and media of dream interpretation; and sought to unravel the epistemologies and subjectivities that shape and are shaped by dream-discourses. As Western psychology was imported to Egypt in the 1950s and met there a long tradition of Muslim dream interpretation, the grantee was particularly interested in how religious dream-concepts articulate with the seemingly incompatible epistemological and ontological assumptions of their psychological counterparts. Next to the disentanglement and mutual contestation of psychoanalytic and religious dream-models, the grantee also examined the role of mass media in the marginalization and simultaneous re-empowerment of religious dream interpretation traditions. The bulk of her research consisted of an ongoing engagement with Muslim dream interpreters; religious scholars; Sufis; psychologists; and 'lay dreamers' in Cairo. Based on her fieldwork and in dialogue with her Egyptian interlocutors, textual sources, and critical theory, the grantee considers the present-day predicament of the prophetic and describes a genealogy of the dream in modern Egypt. Dream-visions, while contested, continue to provide contemporary Muslims with an ethical guide to action and are considered a source of knowledge and inspiration. This research is intended to contribute to anthropological studies of Islamic modernities, as well as to an anthropology of the imagination.
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.
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
Preliminary abstract: 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. My research investigates how a new generation of pro-Islamic Republic Iranian revolutionaries deploys media to constitute their own generational experience as cultural activists, and as a strategy for 'restaging the revolution' for younger generations who have not shared that experience. I plan to conduct twelve months of ethnographic research on contemporary Iranian pro-state media producers, focusing on how card-holding members of Iran's paramilitary organization, the Basij, create media and train a younger generation of media makers.
Saleh, Zainab, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'On Exclusion and Authenticity: National Self-Fashioning and State-Building in Iraq,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley Messick
ZAINAB SALEH, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'On Exclusion and Authenticity: National Self-Fashioning and State-Building in Iraq,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley Messick. This grant made possible ethnographic and archival research on state-building, nationalism and national identity in Iraq. The project focuses on what has been known as 'Iraqis of Iranian origin,' Shia Arabs and Kurds, who sought asylum in the United Kingdom after expulsion or flight from Iraq during the Baath regime in the 1970s and 1980s. This work considers the decisive role of British colonial rule in the formation of the Iraqi state, and explores how subsequent Arab nationalistic rhetoric and practices of the Iraqi state have been based on exclusion since their inception, emphasizing the institutionalization of these acts of exclusion through law that divided Iraqis into citizens of authentic and inauthentic status. Ethnographically this project seeks to understand Iraqis' contemporary experiences of expulsion and flight, their fantasies of an eventual return to Iraq, feelings of social belonging after years of exile, religious practice and self-identification, and Iraqi exile views of the nationalistic discourse in Iraq. This project engages with a wide sampling of the diverse Iraqi community in London, focusing on those persons who fled Iraq because of their political activities and opposition to the Baath regime, in order to ultimately grapple with the different imaginations of Iraq as a horizon within which distinct histories and desires are ongoingly negotiated.
De Cesari, Chiara, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Cultural Heritage Beyond the 'State'/Palestinian Heritage between Nationalism and Transnationalism,' supervised by Dr. Ian R. Hodder
CHIARA DE CESARI, while a student at Stanford University, California, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'Cultural Heritage Beyond the 'State'/Palestinian Heritage Between Nationalism and Transnationalism,' supervised by Dr. Ian Hodder. This research focuses on the relationship between patrimonialization processes and the new forms of governmentality that have emerged during the past decade in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - a political (dis)order characterized by the coexistence of novel forms of Israeli colonial rule, a quasi-state, the Palestinian Authority, as well as the significant presence of international and donor agencies. Taking as starting point the activism of Palestinian civil society organizations, and the relevance of material remains of the past as sites of high discursive density, the research explored heritage discourses and practices, the conditions of their emergence, and the effects of heritage projects on affected local communities. During tenure of the Wenner-Gren grant, the researcher carried out ethnographic fieldwork chiefly within UNESCO and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, a Palestinian semi-governmental organization responsible for a major urban rehabilitation project in the old city of Hebron, as well as in the old city itself. Fieldwork indicates the proliferation of different cultures of memory/heritage in the lacerated space of Palestine, rooted in a desire for continuity and roots against dispossession and displacement. While global languages of heritage are appropriated by local actors in the making of a relived Palestinian past, the politics of donors' aid tend to direct flows of monies to restricted, accessible areas, thus reinforcing the current process of bantustanization of the Occupied Territories.
De Cesari, Chiara. 2010. Creative Heritage: Palestinian Heritage NGOs and Defiant Arts of Government. American Anthropologist 112(4):625-637