Liu, Roseann, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Educating for Justice: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and a Charter School's Pursuit of Racial Equality,' supervised by Dr. Kathleen D. Hall
ROSEANN LIU, then a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Educating for Justice: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and a Charter School's Pursuit of Racial Equality,' supervised by Dr. Kathleen D. Hall. Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education (1954), American schooling clearly remains a central arena in the fight for greater equality. How to achieve equality is less clear. Desegregation was once the ideal for creating a more just educational system, but the charter school movement has changed all that. Because desegregation has largely failed, pursuing a politics of recognition, through the creation of identity-based charter schools, has for some become a more viable approach to achieving the promise of Brown today. Yet despite this shift, surprisingly little is known about these schools. To be sure, identity-based charter schools are engaged in a moral undertaking that places concepts like equality and justice at the heart of its value system. Many of these schools use culturally relevant pedagogy to confer recognition to marginalized groups as a method for achieving these moral values. But in non-homogenous settings, does seeking recognition for some lead to the misrecognition of others? This ethical tension is central to this year-long ethnographic study that examines how a school, serving predominantly Asians but with a significant Black student population, reconciles this tension as it seeks to advance racial equality in education in contemporary urban America.
Gogel, Leah Pearce, Teachers College, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Diagnosis Postponed: Ethnographic Perspectives on the Mental Health of Female Youth in Court-placed Residential Treatment,' supervised by Dr. Charles Harrington
LEAH PEARCE GOGEL, then a student at Teachers College, New York, New York, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Diagnosis Postponed: Ethnographic Perspectives on the Mental Health of Female Youth in Court-Placed Residential Treatment,' supervised by Dr. Charles Harrington. This ethnographic study provides an analysis of the how psychiatric diagnoses, including Disruptive Behavior Disorders and Bipolar Disorder, are located in a residential treatment center for female youth in the juvenile justice system. Fieldwork was conducted for twelve months with residents and staff at a facility in New York State. In particular, the project sought to explore how juvenile justice gatekeepers, youth, and other members of the residential community invoke, embrace, and/or challenge diagnostic categories. Data generated from participant observation and interviews suggests that there are meaningful contradictions in how psychiatric diagnoses operate in this environment. On the one hand, mental health concerns remain relatively muted in the daily lives of residents, who face myriad challenges related to histories of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual coercion, and school failure. On the other hand, the assignment of a psychiatric disorder to specific individuals, whether by self-labeling or by consensus among peers or staff, functions both to forgive and discredit; youth who acknowledge diagnoses can purchase leniency from peers and adults but only at the cost of being perceived as somehow broken. Ethnographic data is integrated with literature on the historical transformation of adolescent psychiatric disorders in order to examine how diagnoses like Conduct Disorder and Bipolar Disorder become a currency of value for various actors with different end goals.
Berg, Ulla D., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Mediating Home and Community: Peruvian Migration and Communicative Practices in Paterson, Miami and Huancayo,' supervised by Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie
ULLA DALUM BERG, while a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in November 2003 to aid ethnographic research on the role of communicative practices in the context of contemporary Peruvian migration to the U.S., under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Abercrombie. Research -- conducted in highland Peru and in three U.S. locations from March 2004 through September 2005 -- examined the role of communicative practices in shaping the possibilities for social cohesion across great geographical distances and across legal and national boundaries. By comparing older communicative practices characteristic of Andean life, such as festive performances with newer ones -- including internet communication, phone calls, circulating photographs and videos -- the grantee analyzed how Peruvian migrants in the U.S. and their family members in highland Peru engage in transnational communication allowing for long-distance maintenance and reproduction of social ties. While the proliferation of digital technologies have enabled easy flows of information across the globe and between social contexts -- what globalization scholars have referred to as 'time-space compression' -- the technologies and the forms of communication they enable have differentially impacted and at times further divided the migrants abroad from those who stay behind. Thus the transnational social field produced by such 'time-space compression' is a highly uneven and segmented social space. Navigating this space is crucial for migrants' 'success' in claiming membership across social contexts and for their ability to produce multiple and complex forms of subjectivity, including cosmopolitanism, which has been historically denied to rural and indigenous people in Peru.
Berg, Ulla D.2010. El Quinto Suyo: Contemporary Nation Building and the Polticial Economy of Emigration in Peru. Latin American Perspectives 37(5):121-137.
Stanley, Diana Michelle, McMaster U., Hamilton, Canada - To aid research on 'Caring in Custody: Subjectivity and Personhood in a Men's Prison Hospice,' supervised by Dr. Ellen Badone
Preliminary abstract: Until recently, most prisoners who died of natural causes faced a lonely and isolated death. However, new prison hospice programs involve prisoners in the process of care. Dying prisoners often remark that peers are a critical partner because of their shared lived experiences of incarceration. In this study, I examine a prison hospice program and aim to gain insight into the subjectivity and personhood of prisoners as 'volunteer' providers of care. I will conduct ethnographic fieldwork over ten months, between July 2016 to April 2017, primarily at Maine State Prison Hospice in Warren, Maine. The Hospice is a separate unit of the prison that provides end-of-life care to terminally ill prisoners and engages prisoners in the process of care. I aim to gain insight into the experiences and identities of prisoner-caregivers and ask: how does the complex social world of the prison hospice influence prisoner personhood and subjectivity? How do prisoners negotiate or constitute identity and self in the context of a prison hospice? How does care in prison challenge representations of prisons as disciplinary institutions? This anthropological investigation will shed light on care, custody, subjectivity and personhood and the interactions between them. My project moves beyond anthropological theorizations of care as a tool of governance and representations of the carceral world as constituted by of technologies of governance, to understanding disciplinary institutions as spaces where care co-exists with violence. Therefore, this project will reveal alternative modes of institutional rationality and practice within the prison and has the potential to advance current understandings about social control, subjectivity and personhood.
Medhat, Katayoun T., U. College London, London, UK - To aid 'Bi-Cultural Discourse in Mental Healthcare: An Ethnography of Organizational Dynamics in Navajo Health Services,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood
KATAYOUN T. MEDHAT, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in August 2004 to aid 'Bi-Cultural Discourse in Mental Healthcare: An Ethnography of Organizational Dynamics in Navajo Health Services,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood. Focusing on healthcare organizations as micro-cosmic representations of socio-cultural structure and ideation, this is a comparative ethnographic study of one community, and one hospital-based mental health service on the Navajo Nation. The study considers changes to administration and funding policy and their impact on service development and professional identity in the context of (post-) colonial discourse. The bureaucratization and hierarchization of the healing domain may be seen as a global phenomenon, where competition for scarce resources and third-party-issued guidelines increasingly define treatment process.
In the quest to commodify health-services, professional boundaries dissolve in a metamorphic exchange by which administrators become clinicians and clinicians become administrators. These developments lead to progressively standardized definitions of illness and treatment. Thus, paradoxically, while the importance of asserting and expressing (cultural) identity in a 'pluralistic' society is prominently acknowledged, difference in the context of healthcare -- be it in terms of symptomatology, professional credentials, or treatment approaches -- is systematically displaced.
Whereas culture as form may be tolerated and even promoted, culture as substance cannot be accommodated by a homogenized system seeking to establish its efficacy through economic viability. Discourse on change in this context is typically ambiguous: While the idea of 'progress' and 'integration' is perceived as seductive, challenging and finally as unavoidable by a majority, it is equally felt that 'progress' and 'traditional values' cannot co-exist peacefully, leading to the bitter-sweet realization that the inevitable process of change constitutes a protracted swan-song of a quasi-mythologized congruent cultural identity.
Hansen, Tobin M., U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on ''Getting By': Resilience in One-and-a-Half Generation Immigrant Men Deported to Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Lynn Stephen
Preliminary abstract: This ethnographic project explores men's resilience after forcible displacement--the everyday individual and collective responses to social and physical dislocation to try to attain modest social, economic, and psychological stability and wellbeing. It expands three areas of anthropological theory critical to understanding resilience in the context of forcible displacement: structural violence and structural vulnerability, by attending to economic, political, and social structures that cross-cut deported men's historical and geographic trajectories; kinship, through study of how deported men make family; and gender, by examining expressions of masculinities on the streets and in domestic life. The men in this study emigrated from Mexico as children, lived for decades in the U.S., then were convicted of crimes and served prison sentences before being deported back to Mexico as 'criminal alien' adults. In Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, the site of this research, they face ostracism as criminal outsiders and conspicuous pochos ('Americanized' Mexicans) and isolation from home and family in the U.S. This project is motivated by a concern for human vulnerability, suffering, and risk. Interest in responses and resistances to such vulnerabilities, or resilience, fosters examination of how individuals and collectives attempt to contest precarious conditions. By investigating deported men's grounded resilience strategies--attempts at some social, economic, and psychological wellbeing despite hardship--this research will better illuminate the vulnerabilities of forcible displacement and the everyday efforts to mitigate them.
Burton, Orisanmi, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Taller Than the Wall: The Politics of Knowledge Production in New York State Prisons,' supervised by Dr. Charles Price
Preliminary abstract: Based in New York State, this research examines how incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people draw on their experiences of imprisonment to create knowledge about prisons, race, and social justice in the United States (U.S.). It will ethnographically explore the proposals and knowledge practices of the Green Haven Think Tank, the Center For NuLeadership, and the Black Consciousness Coalition, three interconnected organizations staffed by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated black men and women. In doing so, this project seeks to identify and analyze the ways in which this form of activist knowledge production has influenced incarceration discourse and policy. Since the 1970s, punitive policing and sentencing policies in the U.S. have led to 'mass incarceration.' Today, the U.S. outpaces all other countries in both its rate of incarceration and the rate at which it incarcerates its racial minorities. Although in recent years, public debate about these troubling facts has increased, the perspectives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people have been 'crowded out' by those of traditional scholars and experts. By examining the proposals and knowledge practices of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people as they attempt to impact prison policy, this research seeks not only to elaborate an alternative tradition of prison-based scholarship, but also to contribute to ongoing public debates about incarceration.
Wallace, Anders Axel, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Swinging in the Iron Cage: Pickup Artists, Seduction Communities, and Passing for Heterosexual Men,' supervised by Dr. Michael Blim
Preliminary abstract: Don Giovanni clearly did not need any training in seduction skills, but many American men feel they need help. This project examines the phenomenon of 'seduction communities,' male pickup artists and their followers who train each other in attraction skills to seduce women. From internet dating to the rise of going solo, transient intimacies amidst new forms of choosing gender have thrown into question historical taboos over masculine sexual inhibition and ability in the formation of personality. Do heterosexual men feel particular and unexpected needs to 'pass' in their gender role? Examining the production of masculinity through practices of appearance, deception, and authenticity among men and women in seduction communities in New York City, this research project seeks to understand norms of cooperation, competition, and inequality in intimate labors of crafting desires for heterosexual embodiment. Showing new patterns of communication among men, boys, and the women in their lives, this proposal hypothesizes that training in the arts of seduction to achieve the effect of gender naturalness both challenges and reproduces male domination. This illuminates new patterns in how social inequalities are perpetuated within middle-class beliefs in mobility, equal opportunity, and meritocracy that encourage people to become entrepreneurs of the self.
Nickrenz, Elizabeth Hadley, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Drawing the Autism Spectrum: A Multi-Method Ethnography of Neurodiversity in North America,' supervised by Dr. Richard Paul Taub
ELIZABETH H. NICKRENZ, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in April 2008, to aid research on 'Drawing the Autism Spectrum: A Multi-Method Ethnography of Neurodiversity in North America,' supervised by Dr. Richard Taub. The new diagnostic category of 'autism spectrum disorders' has risen to extraordinary prominence over the past thirty years -- and with it, new forms of neurological identities and identity politics. This study documents how individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, their families, and the professionals who work with them, draw upon ideas about culture, identity, and medicine to build new meanings for autism spectrum disorders. During 2008 and 2009, participant observation and semi-structed interviews were conducted in a number of sites where the definition of Asperger's Syndrome -- a controversial autism spectrum disorder diagnosis -- are negotiated and put into practice, including public and private school classrooms, a psychiatric clinic, a research center, and support groups. As individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders weave together narratives from medicine, bioscience, clinical psychology, science fiction, and contemporary civil rights movements, they challenge and transform divisions between self and other, between nature and artifice, and between the biological and social sciences. Yet, as this research shows, it is the conflicting demands within ideals of American selfhood -- to be both highly specific and highly flexible, both authentically spontaneous and socially appropriate -- that continue to drive deep divisions within the autism community.
Hu, Cameron S., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Bakken Formation and the Nature of American Power,' supervised by Dr. Joseph P. Masco
Preliminary abstract: The proposed study is an ethnography of petrochemical economies, ecological transformation, and imagined futures within the American 'shale revolution,' a near-doubling of US crude oil production made possible by new techniques of hydraulic fracturing ('fracking'). Focused on 'tight oil' extraction from Bakken shale formation in the northern Great Plains, the project asks a) how a powerful new natural resource is 'made' --rather than 'discovered' -- by varieties of material, epistemic, and imaginative work, and b) how the new regime of hydraulic fracturing, along with its ecological side-effects, choreographs collaborations and contentions between American industry, labor, nation-state, and citizen-subjects. This study aims to expand anthropological knowledge of the lifeworlds of energy production, of finite fossil fuels and their imagined future in American culture and economy, and of large-scale, human-induced ecological change. It is based on an anticipated 11 months of archival work, interviews, and participant-observation across critical nodes of petroleum production on the Great Plains, including university research institutes, conferences and expositions, geological surveys, and petrochemical exploration and extraction processes.