D'Arcy, Michael Joseph, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Uncertain Adherence: Psychosis, Anti-Psychosis, and Medicated Subjectivity in the Republic of Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Stefania Pandolfo
Preliminary abstract: The majority of current anthropological research on psychopharmaceuticals focuses on the political economy of pharmaceutical production, prescription, and distribution. This research is invaluable, but it obscures the entanglement of the lived experience of psychotic mental illness with the social context of adherence. This project explores how the practice of antipsychotic adherence by psychiatric patients in Dublin, Ireland can be understood in relation to psychotic experience. I argue that adherence, or the extent to which a patient complies with a prescribed treatment plan, is troubled by the same ambiguities and ambivalences as psychotic subjectivity itself--characterized by delusions and hallucinations disrupting the relationship between the psychotic individual and their sociocultural milieu--and it is therefore problematic for the discipline of anthropology to engage solely with the 'logic' of psychopharmaceutical adherence, excluding the meaningful relationship that develops between patients and their medications. The place of madness and its relationship to curative substance within Irish myth and colonial history, as well as within the disciplinary history of medical and psychological anthropology, is well known. Privileging the ambiguity of this relationship is particularly important because of recent changes in Irish psychiatric care. The increasing complexity of community mental health in the aftermath of Ireland's psychiatric deinstitutionalization, as well as the massive influx of immigrants in the 1990s and early 2000s, have radically changed the social and institutional context of Irish mental health. Through the analytic lens of antipsychotic adherence, new understandings of psychotic subjectivity and its engagement with collective history take shape.
Dalyan, Can, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on ''Anxious About Their Treasures:' Biodiversity, Biopolitics, and the Secret History of Plants in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki
Preliminary abstract: Last three years in Turkey witnessed the rise of an unlikely phenomenon to the forefront of public and governmental attention. With the opening of the Turkish Seed-Gene Bank (TSGB) in 2010, construction of the first national botanic garden with the help of 50 million Dollars of direct government funding, start of a series of seed-exchange festivals along the Aegean Coast and the ensuing media interest in stories of foreigners getting caught by the police while illegally collecting endemic plant species, loss of agro-biodiversity in Turkey became an important article of national political agenda and of popular interest. This project is an ethnographic and historical exploration of this phenomenon and it asks three three fundamental questions: 1) How does the current national policy of conserving and showcasing agro-biodiversity in Turkey take shape and how is it implemented? 2) How do the scientists working at the TSGB relate (politically, economically, intellectually) to this national policy and especially, how do they experience, work with, and think about this policy in its relation to global processes of climate change and biodiversity loss? 3) How is this contemporary interest and anxiety about agro-biodiversity linked to the distinctive periods in Turkish history in which loss of natural resources and regulation of nature appeared as major political and popular concerns?
Paladi-Kovacs, Dr. Attila, Institute of Ethnology, Budapest, Hungary - To aid conference on times, places, passages: ethnological approaches in the new millennium, 2001, Institute of Ethnology, in collaboration with Dr. Peter Neidermuller
Firat, Bilge, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The Negotiation of Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
BILGE FIRAT, then a student at State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'The Negotiation of Turkish Europeanization in Brussels,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson. European enlargement is considered to be the most successful policy of the European Union (E.U.), and the one that perhaps has the greatest direct impact on lives of peoples, societies, and states in the region at large. Lobbying is a central practice in EU politicking and policymaking. Located in Brussels for twelve months, the objective of this study was to understand how lobbying as a politico-cultural communicative practice works in facilitating the enlargement dynamic of the E.U. towards Turkey wih the help of non-participant and participant observation, interviewing political cultural actors, and analysis of textual policy advice. European politics is an area in which students and scholars of anthropology of European integration and anthropology of policy-making are very well equipped to explain emerging realities of today's advanced European integration.
Stavrianakis, Dr. Anthony, EHESS, Paris France - To aid research on 'Freedom and Death: Modality and Value in Swiss Assisted Suicide'
Preliminary abstract: In Switzerland euthanasia is not permitted. In 1982, however, several organizations emerged to aid persons in a 'voluntary death,' once they had reached a limit to their suffering. The Swiss case is unique, one in which has developed a political form for assisted dying that exists in a 'para'-medical and 'para'-legal zone between a citizen's personal liberty, the care of another citizen and the recourse to a doctor's medical expertise and authority in order to provide a person with 'humane' means to end their own life. Through an ethnography based at a Swiss (Romande) right to die organization, this project describes how an individual's demand for assistance to end their life is mediated through a range of medical, ethical and political configurations, people and things, whose actions and positions are multiple: doctors' diagnostic and prognostic claims, psychological evaluations, biomedical techniques and molecules, 'accompaniers' from the assisted suicide organization, family members, as well as the action of specific illnesses (somatic and psychological), which all mediate a person's request for assistance in ending their life. This project, moreover, situates assisted suicide in the context of the specific cultural conditions of Swiss liberal political governance and ethical values.
Rees, Dr. Tobias, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The Plastic Brain: An Ethnography of the Emergence of Adult Cerebral Plasticity Research and its Impact on Neuroscience as We Knew it'
Preliminary abstract: For much of the twentieth century the human brain was viewed as a neurochemical machine organized in synaptic circuits, governed by synaptic communication. What led neuroscientists to assign the synapse such a privileged role were two nineteenth century observations -- that humans are born with a definite number of neurons and that, once development ended, the neuronal structure becomes essentially fixed. Synapses, specifically synaptic communication, appeared as the only dynamic element of an otherwise immutable brain and were henceforth seen as the key for understanding the nervous system. When, in the late 1990s, first reports on the massive birth of new neurons in the adult human brain were reported, the century old belief in adult cerebral fixity was profoundly shattered -- and the centrality of the synapse doubted.
In this project I ethnographically explore the most sweeping impact the rise of adult neurogenesis research has on neuroscientific understandings of the brain, its diseases, and its humans. I document the shift away from a thoroughly fixed to a profoundly plastic vision of homo cerebralis.
Halili, Rigels, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland - To aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel
RIGELS HALILI, then a student at Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel. This research project realized from July 2006 to February 2007, aimed to inquire into the presence, function and role that oral epic poetry plays nowadays in the regions of Sand?ak and Kosovo. Several singers have learned their songs from other members of their families or neighbors; in other words through an oral transmission. But others admitted that they have learned songs from different songbooks or tapes of other singers. Textual analysis of recorded songs showed that only among Kosovo singers is there still a strong presence of formulaic character of singing. The traditional way of singing is becoming more and more a professional and commercial activity. In San?ak, but increasingly in Kosovo as well, epic songs rarely appear in public places that are not in connection with commercial activities. But they are still present in many spheres of private life, especially weddings. Moreover, the number of active singers is decreasing. All singers emphasized that the young generation is not interested in learning old songs, while they prefer newly composed popular songs, especially those broadcasted in the media or distributed on the internet. However, oral forms did not disappear entirely, but were transformed, while functioning in new communicative conditions.
Vilageliu, Dr. Roger Canals, U. of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain - To aid filmmaking on 'Afro-Venezuelan Rituals in Barcelona: A Comparative Study of Religious Nomadism through Film' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: 'Gods in motion' is a film about the practice of Afro-Venezuelan religious rituals in Barcelona (Spain). The project focuses on the cult of María Lionza, a highly popular Afro-American ritual in Venezuela in which episodes of spirit possession are common. At the same time, the film will show how the celebration in honor of San Juan Batista is introduced in Barcelona, combining with the Catalan celebration of Sant Joan, and will demonstrate the practice of the cult of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, patron saint of the region of Maracaibo. All three cults are closely related and mutually complement each other. By following a group of believers and a cult groups made up of both Catalans and Venezuelans, the film will show how these religions are adapted to a new cultural context, being modified and incorporating elements of local culture. The film aims to contribute significantly to current debates about diaspora, religion and transnationalism. 'Gods in Motion' is an innovative film which combines images filmed in Venezuela with others filmed in Barcelona. Through this 'transcultural montage', the film aims to show the continuities and discontinuities which emerge from a religious practice when this takes on a transnational dimension.
Shayduk-Immerman, Olesya, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Reinventing the Jewish Way: How the Soviet State Created the Jewish Movement by Restricting it,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak
Preliminary abstract: My research project focuses on the Jewish revival movement that emerged in the Soviet Union between the 1960s and the late 1980s. This movement was virtually invisible in public space, and the state periodically persecuted its members. To avoid the gaze of the Soviet state, Jews clandestinely gathered in private apartments, where they collectively studied Hebrew, sacred Jewish texts, Jewish history and tradition, celebrated Jewish holidays, and even published samizdat (unofficial) Jewish magazines. Some of them decided to practice Judaism daily. Many of these people had submitted an official application to the Soviet state to grant them the possibility of emigrating to Israel. Typically, following the model of 'totalitarianism', the story of the Soviet Jewish movement has been told in scholarly works as an attempt to restore an existing type of repressed 'pure' Jewishness. Based on the idea that power does not only repress, but also creates, my research will show a more complex picture of the relationship between the late Soviet state and its Jewish citizens. Rather than merely repressing 'ideal' Jewish identity and Jewish practice, what kinds of alternative experiences, meanings, and intellectual pleasures of the Jewish movement did it enable?