Kilshaw, Dr. Susie, U. College London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'Friendly Fire: An Anthropological Account of Gulf War Syndrome' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. SUSIE KILSHAW, University College London, London, United Kingdom, received a Hunt Fellowship in October 2007 to aid research and writing about the Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) community in the UK. She prepared a book that conveyed a new complexity to understanding this and other emerging illnesses. Impotent Warriors: Gulf War Syndrome, Masculinity and Vulnerability (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009) examines GWS as an illness of its time, revealing its similarity to other contested illnesses and they way it is shaped by wider cultural anxieties. However, the work also shows the illness to be an expression of distress that is unique to a particular group of people. By looking at the narratives that surround GWS, insight is gained into the social and cultural dimensions of the illness and in what ways this has influenced sufferers' understandings. GWS symptom reporting can be interpreted as a vehicle to draw attention to and a means to communicate concerns of the people it affects; issues such as trust, life within a dramatically changing military, gender roles, and toxicity. Revealing how an anthropological approach is necessary to better understanding the condition, the book challenges biomedicine's interpretation of GWS as a psychiatric and somatizing condition. Biomedicine has a rigid, limited view of illness and suffering that is unhelpful and obscures our understanding of illnesses such as GWS. Modernity and increasing individualism as well as the anxieties of (post)modernity are topics of great interest to anthropology and this book contributes to this ongoing discourse.
Kilshaw, Susie. 2009. Impotent Warriors: Gulf War Syndrome, Vulnerability and Masculinity.
Berghahn Press: New York, Oxford.
Kilshaw, Susie. 2009. Obligations to Veteran Informants: Contentious Research and Stakeholder Engagement. Anthropology News 50 (5):28-29.
Allison, Jill D., Memorial U., St. John's, Canada - To aid research on '(In) Fertile Ground: Contradictory Conceptions in Assisted Reproduction in Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Robin G. Whitaker
JILL D. ALLISON, then a student at Memorial University, St. John's, Canada, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on '(In) Fertile Ground: Contradictory Conceptions in Assisted Reproduction in Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Robin G. Whitaker. This research examined the social challenges and paradoxes that surround infertility and its treatment in relation to rapid and recent social and economic change in the Republic of Ireland. Recent changes include economic growth, new economic and political links with the European Union, and declining public confidence in social power of the Roman Catholic Church within Ireland. Less overt factors in the infertility experience emerge from debates around the traditional definition of family and its significance to Irish political identity, the long-standing issue of abortion politics, and the meaning of the constitutionally protected 'right to life of the unborn' in relation to increasingly available assisted reproduction technologies (ART) in Ireland. Based on in-depth interviews with people who have experienced difficulty conceiving, the researcher explored the way they contend with moral and ethical challenges posed by technological innovations in infertility treatment, how they make decisions between medical or social options that may or may not be available, and the impact of infertility itself in a climate of changing social values. In spite of continuing emphasis on the traditional family as the site of social, moral, and political stability in Ireland, the research suggests that women dealing with infertility are challenging the institutionally and discursively constituted meanings of motherhood, conception, and fertility that have been the cornerstones of their subjective identities.
Lofink, Hayley Elizabeth, U. of Oxford, Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents, in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek
HAYLEY ELIZABETH LOFINK, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek. Research on the health behavior of low-income, ethnic minorities has assumed that the poor are uneducated, and that if delivered the necessary knowledge, behavior will change. If poor nutrition and low levels of activity are attributed solely to individual-level decision making, it is unlikely that broader social and structural influences will be acknowledged. This research employed a biocultural framework to examine socio-cultural and political-economic factors influencing dietary and activity patterns and resulting underweight, overweight and obesity among British Bangladeshi adolescents (aged 11-14 years old) from low-income families in East London. Quantitative (anthropometry and survey data) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews and participant observation) methods were integrated to develop a nuanced understanding of adolescent weight, dietary and activity patterns, and the local level and larger scale processes influencing those patterns. Quantitative analysis will include multinomial logistic regression and other techniques to test the relative importance of a range of factors affecting weight status. Narrative analysis will be used to explain statistical results in order to move beyond a mere documentation of a relationship between poverty and obesity, and offer explanations of how local and broader level factors influence health inequalities in this context.
Carroll, Jennifer Jean, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Choosing Methadone: Managing Addiction and the Body Politic in Post-Soviet Ukraine,' supervised by Dr. Laada Bilaniuk
Preliminary abstract: In recent years, interventions targeting the HIV and intravenous drug use epidemics in Ukraine have been supported by some of the largest international public health grants in the world. This has given leverage to European and North American biomedical approaches to drug use and addiction, which stand in stark contrast to Soviet-era approaches to addiction. Biomedical paradigms are gaining traction and forcing addicts and public health workers, alike, to change the way that they think about the connections between drug use, addiction, and mental health. Methadone therapy is hailed by Western biomedicine as an effective medical treatment for addiction, which is viewed as a maladaptive medical disorder. This research questions these definitions, and asks whether drug use and drug treatment can be seen as adaptive behaviors, and whether addicts seek methadone treatment for its purported medical benefits at all. Via ethnographic research in L'viv, Ukraine--a city that lies culturally and geographically in the space where Europe and the former Soviet Union meet--this project will explore how drug users incorporate these new public health infrastructures into their addiction and into their personal strategies for navigating new political economies in an increasingly neoliberal Ukraine.
Murphy, Dr. Liam D., California State U., Sacramento, CA - To aid research and writing on 'A City of Spirit: Religion and Social Change in Belfast, Northern Ireland' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. LIAM D. MURPHY, California State University Sacramento, was awarded a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in June 2005 to aid research and writing on 'A City of Spirit: Religion and Social Change in Belfast, Northern Ireland.' Funding assisted writing of a book-length manuscript based on the grantee's doctoral and post-doctoral research among charismatic Christians in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The project examines relations among religiosity, ideas about the self, and socio-political transformations currently underway in Belfast. In particular, the project looks at changes to religiosity stimulated by 1998's Belfast Agreement and 2006's St. Andrew's Agreement - which have seemingly brought the region's low-level civil conflict (the 'Troubles') to an end. Whereas religion has helped to define community boundaries and ideas about self in relation to society since the sixteenth century, the character and purpose of religion in the 'new' Belfast is now subject to a different form of scrutiny and revision. The future status of religion as a marker of identity and selfhood is in doubt. Participants in an ecumenical, evangelically-driven charismatic 'renewal' devise occasions and language of religious devotion that hybridize embodied and ecstatic experience, ideas about civil society in Northern Ireland, Europe, and elsewhere, ritualized practices that embrace elements of Northern Ireland ritual tradition transformed to emphasize social unity, theories of historical change that minimize social difference.
Dzenovska, Dace, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'From Multi-Ethnic Socialism to Multicultural Europe: Difference and European Integration in Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak
DACE DZENOVSKA, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, Califonia, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'From Multi-Ethnic Socialism to Multicultural Europe: Difference and European Integration in Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak. The research set out to examine how the European present and the Soviet past constitute contemporary forms of liberalism and multiculturalism in Latvia. It suggested that rather than arriving in Latvia fully formed, it is in Latvia that Europe, liberalism, and multiculturalism are made. Ethnographic research focused on discourses and practices of tolerance and immigration control, while the former aim to incite individuals to reflect on the boundaries they draw between themselves and others and to cultivate a particular ethical disposition towards difference, the latter police the borders of the territory and the national body. Research findings suggest that Europe, multiculturalism, and liberalism are highly contested and heterogeneous sets of practices. While exhibiting liberal inclinations, dicourses and practices of tolerance and multiculturalism are also shaped by the influential articulation of state legitimacy with the integrity and sovereignty of the cultural nation and understandings of good life grounded in a particular way of life. Further analysis will consider how liberal practices, both state and non-state, are enabled by and themselves enable particular ways of life. How does one engage with nationalism as a particular way of life without either rendering it as fundamentally problematic or becoming complicit in its troubling renditions of difference?
Dzenovska, Dace, 2010. Making 'The People' Political Imaginaries and the Materiality of Barricades in Mexico and Latvia. Laboratorium (3):5-16.
Dzenovska, Dace. 2010. Public Reason and the Limits of Liberal Anti-Racism in Latvia. Ethnos 75(4):425-454.
Dzenovska, Dace, and Ivan Arenas. 2012. Don't Fence Me In: Barricade Sociality and Political Struggles in Mexico and Latvia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 54(3):644-678.
Sweetapple, Christopher Michael, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Convergence and Cleavae: Queer Muslims at the Instersectin of Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary Europe,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline Urla
Preliminary abstract: In Germany, as elsewhere in contemporary Europe, sexual politics and the politics of immigration have converged around the figure of the Muslim. Homophobia has been actively constructed as inherent to Islam and thus Muslims, and in the process homosexual citizens and Muslim immigrants have come to be understood as mutually oppositional categories of identity. My research troubles the discursive habit of segregating queer from Muslim through an investigation of subjects who dwell at the intersection of rising Islamophobic exclusion and queer recognition. I propose to conduct in-depth, multi-sited ethnographic research among queer Muslims in Berlin, Germany. Ethnographic immersion and data collection at a suite of sites, including an NGO, a prayer group, among cultural producers like writers and DJs, and in the material and online spaces where queer Muslims gather will allow me to witness how people at the fault lines of sociopolitical exclusion and inclusion negotiate, suffer, and respond to their predicament. My research questions are: 1) With what cultural and semiotic resources do queer Muslims produce and maintain identifications that are habitually deemed irreconcilable in public discourse? 2) To what degree and effect do their political interventions, everyday practices and discursive enunications borrow from, combine, and resignify idioms of racial, cultural and religious difference? 3) How does their identity-work, which spans multiple sites including political organizing, cultural production and/or informal sociality, disrupt, transform or reproduce the regnant cultural logic pitting queer citizen against Muslim-identified migrant?
Pocs, Dr. Eva, U. of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary - To aid workshop on 'Spirit Possession. European Contributions to Comparative Studies,' 2012, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pecs, in collaboration with Dr.Andras Zempleni
Preliminary abstract: European conceptions and rituals of spirit possession described by historians and ethnographers of Western and Eastern Europe have never been compared systematically with those observed by anthropologists elsewhere in the world. This workshop intends to trigger an exchange of ideas between qualified representatives of these oddly separated research communities in order to reformulate some basic questions recently raised in comparative anthropology of possession. Anthropological studies are still rooted in European notions of body-soul dualism, concepts of self and personhood, and they convey a whole set of presuppositions inherited from Christian models of ?good' and ?bad' possession. This legacy and these lasting presuppositions will be reviewed in a debate with historians of Europe going back to their origins. We expect a significant contribution of the workshop to ongoing anthropological attempts to redefine the very notion of possession to be freed from the western notion of the self and more clearly delineated from related idioms such as witchcraft, devotion, mysticism etc. European studies which have long been faced at a diachronic level with the thorny issue of delineation may both contribute to and benefit from ongoing anthropological studies focused on interactive transformations of official and popular concepts of possession competing in the contemporary transnationalized religious spaces of the Americas. New field data to be presented on the contents of messages issued by North-Indian and Malagasy mediums in a state of trance may incite both camps to revise former ideas on the nature of 'communication' triggered by trance. A pioneering anthropological approach, experimentally extended to European models, will address African possession rites as a form of indigenous historiography. This perspective promises to become another meaningful meeting point between Europeanists, Africanists, Americanists and Indianists.
Grant, Dr. Bruce M., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Cosmos and Cosmopolitanism in the Azeri Caucasus'
DR. BRUCE M. GRANT, New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Cosmos and Cosmopolitanism in the Azeri Caucasus.' Despite centuries of participation in Silk Road trade and evidence of intense linguistic, religious, and cultural pluralisms, the mountainous Caucasus region has long been thought of as a 'closed society,' unwelcoming to outsiders. Through a project on the life of a small but regionally famous village in rural northwest Azerbaijan over the course of the twentieth century, the grantee combined extended field and archival research to consider the manifold but rarely documented ways that the Caucasus region has deeply embedded in economic, political, religious, and social networks across Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond. The research found fresh accounts of Sufi-style networks across Azerbaijan, and worked with a number of local religious leaders who considered that the hard-won religious traditions preserved in the late Soviet period compare in some respects more favorably, paradoxically, to those practiced today in a time of expanded religious tolerance. With this ethnographic approach to cultural history, the goal of this research was to better understand the Soviet project itself, as well as the logics of sovereignty in a world area too long known only for its violence.
Wastell, Dr. Sari, U. of London, London, UK; and Starman, Dr. Hannah, Institute of Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia - To aid collaborative research on 'The Codification of Trauma in Humanitarian Law'