Fox, Samantha Maurer, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'EisenhüttenSTADT IM UMBAU: Imagining New Futures in a Post-Socialist City,' supervised by Dr. Brian Larkin
Preliminary abstract: Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany has been a city defined by a series of imagined futures since it was founded in 1950. Originally called Stalinstadt, it was conceived as the East German state's socialist utopia. Today it is a key site in the German government's push to transform post-industrial cities in the former East Germany into icons of green urbanism, most notably via the consolidation of sparsely populated urban areas and a rapid, often disruptive push to rely on renewable energy sources. My dissertation investigates the role that housing and electricity play in the transformation of Eisenhüttenstadt. I examine how residents interact with and talk about the transformations in their cityscape, and how such engagements fulfill or subvert planners' expectations. I also examine the ideologies of state socialism that lay behind the city's planning and investigate how such ideologies were manifested and experienced. Considering that the same built space has come to serve as a model for strikingly different conceptions of society and urbanization, Eisenhüttenstadt is an ideal site in which to investigate fundamental claims in anthropology about how built space produces social subjects and collectivities, as well as how new urban futures are established and enacted.
Resnick, Elana Faye, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Waste, Work, and Racialization in Bulgaria,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon
ELANA F. RESNICK, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Waste, Work, and Racialization in Bulgaria,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon. This research examined disposal, collection, processing, storage, and recycling of waste in Bulgaria, focusing on the capital city, Sofia. Fieldwork addressed relations between informal waste collection (individuals collecting trash objects for re-use or resale) and formal waste management sectors. Relying on ethnographic and archival data, preliminary analyses explore waste collection in Bulgaria as deeply built on, and a result of, time's ability to pass, create, and 'waste,' as well as the physical environment's capacity to change, develop, and decompose. Through participant-observation and interviews with individual trash collectors, privately-owned trash companies, and recycling organizations, as well as visits to diverse landfill sites, this research addressed the potential for continued 'life'-and ultimate 'death'-of waste (often discussed in terms of recycling or energy-from-waste as 'life' and landfilling as 'death'). Investigating waste on a variety of scale, from the elderly who gather plastic bottles each morning, to waste management and recycling companies that collect and sort household garbage, to the practical and legal implementation of E.U. waste and environmental directives, this work looks beyond dichotomies of dirty vs. clean or animate life vs. inanimate objects, to show how personhood, sensory phenomena, and life-death processes are better understood through the study of waste.
Silian, Alina Petronela, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'Identity Politics, Knowledge Production, and Governmentality: The Romani Politics of Difference in Romania,' supervised by Dr. Ayse S. Caglar
Karaca, Banu, City U. of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Claiming Modernity through Aesthetics: A Comparative Look at Germany and Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
BANU KARACA, while a student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, received a grant to aid research on 'Claiming Modernity through Aesthetics: A Comparative Look At Germany and Turkey', supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano. This comparative study is based on fieldwork conducted in the contemporary art scenes of Berlin and Istanbul. Drawing from interviews with artists, curators, critics, gallery directors, corporate sponsors, foundation and government officials, as well as observations at contemporary arts institutions, including each city's Biennial, and the analysis of cultural policy documents this research examines how divergent conceptions of art are mediated within the art world. Furthermore, this study centers on how modernization and nation-building processes in both Germany and Turkey impact the discourses, policies and practices in their present-day art scenes. In so doing, rather than asking questions about a Turkish or German 'kind of modernity' it aims to understand respective experiences and, most importantly, probe paradoxes of modernity through the lens of the arts. Paradoxes that manifest themselves, for instance, in tensions between the civic impact accorded to art and its pliability to market forces, and between understandings of art as a universally human and also particularly national expression.
Van Den Bos, Dr. Matthijs, Birkbeck College, U. of London, London, UK - To aid research on 'European Shi'ism: Peripheral Networks and Religious Renewal'
DR. MATTHIJS VAN DEN BOS, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in May 2007, to aid research on 'European Shi'ism: Peripheral Networks and Religious Renewal.' The research has explored networks and religiosity of Shiites in Europe to answer the question of what comprises European Shiism. It was hypothesised that Shiism in Europe occupies a peripheral position, enhancing autonomous 'European (Shiite) Islam' through context sensitive lay religious exegeses and the adoption of reformist thought that decenters clerical jurisprudence. These issues were investigated through a database of approximately 300 Dutch and British organizations, and key French and German organizations, which listed their board members and ethnic affiliations; approximately thirty interviews with representative Shiites in Britain, the Netherlands and Iran; exploring Shiite publications; and observing Shiite communal life in Britain. Core findings refuted the premises. Many key organizations were related to global Shiite authority; Shiites' formal organizational life in Europe did not cohere cross-ethnically and transnationally, but was nationally and ethnically fragmented. Thus, European Shiism did not constitute a particular, peripheral space. The research identified both indicators of European Shiism, lay readings and decentering jurisprudence, but did not find them to define European Shiism. Ideational lines in major lay organizations derived from clerical statements; a non-jurisprudential focus was experimented with at relatively low levels in an hierarchy of knowledge where provision at Iranian (and Iraqi) seminaries ranked supreme.
van den Bos, Matthijs. 2012. European Shiism? Counterpoints from Shiites' Organization in Britain and the Netherlands. Ethnicities 12(5):556-580.
van den Bos, Matthijs. 2012. 'European Islam' in the Iranian Ettehadiyeh. In Shi'I Islam and Identity: Religion Politics and Change in the Global Muslim Community. L. Ridgeon, ed. Routledge: London.
Latea, Daniel, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Debt and Duty in Postsocialist Romania,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
DANIEL LATEA, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Debt and Duty in Postsocialist Romania,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery. Since the privatization of the Romanian retail commerce in 1989, large numbers of people have started buying consumer goods without paying on the spot; this occurs in the absence of any legal provisions. They refer to this practice using the vocabulary of 'debt' (datorie): 'selling on debt' and 'buying on debt.' In contrast, Romanian notions and practices of 'credit' and 'debit' generally denote formal bank transactions. Debt relations are marked by the absence of interest, security, witnesses, formal agreements, evident means of sanctioning defaulters, as well as an elastic duration of repayment. Drawing on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in rural Oltenia (southern Romania), the grantee studied the unfolding of social relations of debt and duty in commercial and other social settings as a crucial instance of the local production of social orders. The project describes the negotiation of debts in terms of the tempo and sequencing of interactions. Acceptable motives or excuses are more convincing to the extent they constitute shared temporalities and moralities -- past, present or future situations, events and relations. Mastering the arts of delay requires continuous effort, creativity and often recalcitrance to state formalities. Moreover, it emphasizes the immense work that people put into rendering debt and duty relations ordinary.
Bjork, Stephanie R., U. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI - To aid research on 'Clan as Social Capital among Somalis in Finland,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Malaby
STEPHANIE R. BJORK, while a student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was awarded a grant in July 2003 to aid research on clan affiliation as social capital among Somalis in Finland, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas M. Malaby. Bjork's goal was to understand the changing dynamics of the Somali clan system and the way traditional kinship networks are remade in diaspora. During 16 months of fieldwork among Somalis living in Helsinki and the neighboring cities of Espoo and Vantaa, she collected data through participant observation, sociodemographic surveys of 200 Somali men and women representing the major clan families and two minority groups, and in-depth interviews. Challenging the traditional assumption that clan-based societies are egalitarian, Bjork documented the hierarchical structure of the Somali clan system through clan discourse, including everyday talk, stereotypes, and performance. She also investigated the ways in which Somalis gained access to work in both the Finnish formal economy and the Somali informal economy. She found that clan identity played a stratifying role for Somalis in everyday life and that clan affiliation shaped social networks and affected participation in the Somali informal economy. New networks formed in diaspora among Somalis from different clans (and to a lesser degree including Finns) through work, school, neighborhoods, and friendships helped shaped the informal economy as well as clan affiliation in everyday use and practice.
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Modernity Meets Clan: Cultural Intimacy in the Somali Diaspora. In From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context. (A. Kusow and S. Bjork, eds.) Red Sea Press:Trenton, NJ
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Clan Identities in Practice: The Somali Diaspora in Finland. In Somalia: Diaspora and State Reconstitution In The Horn Of Africa. (A. Osman Farah M. Muchie, and J. Gundel eds.) Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd.
Mattioli, Fabio, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Productive Debts: The Financialization of Urban Life and the Magic of Debts in Skopje, Macedonia,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
Preliminary abstract: Despite the promise that the center of Macedonia's capital 'will become like Times Square', the urban redevelopment project Skopje 2014 has run out of money. Yet, local building companies continue to erect new buildings, borrowing materials and not paying workers on time. What drives the continuing production of Skopje 2014's new urban spaces, once debt and not capital is being accumulated? How do building companies transform negative debt relations in productive forms of credit? Based on ethnographic fieldwork in three building companies of different size, this study analyzes the stalled relations of debt within building companies, and their continuing ties to the post-socialist Macedonian State and neoliberal international lenders. This research addresses the way in which networks of reciprocity at different scales manipulate debts to turn them into credits, and the problems of conversion that occur when debts and credits move across different domains of social life.
Demetriou, Dr. Olga, Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Insecure Minorities in Conditions of Ethnic Antagonism in the Balkans and Cyprus'
DR. OLGA DEMETRIOU, of Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, was awarded a grant in June 2002 to aid research on insecure minorities under conditions of ethnic antagonism in the Balkans and Cyprus. Demetriou investigated political expressions of marginalized identities from a comparative social anthropological perspective, bringing together research previously carried out in Balkan Greece and ethnographic research in multiple sites on Cyprus. This latter part of the project was designed to compare the experience of marginalization by different groups of Turkish Cypriots living in southern Cyprus. Demetriou compared groups in urban 'ghettos' such as that of the old Turkish quarter of the town of Limassol with those living in historically mixed villages such as Potamya, a village close to the dividing Green Line, which throughout the period of communal separation remained demographically bi-communal. She examined how 'ethnic' difference became instituted in state and legal structures; how Greek and Turkish Cypriot 'coexistence' was conceptualized and manifested in the southern part of the island; and the impact of state policies on the treatment of Turkish Cypriots in an environment of perpetuated political suspension. Following the relaxation of movement restrictions across the island's dividing line in April 2003, she also turned to the ways in which the accommodation of Turkish Cypriots in Greek Cypriot discourse and governmental policy shifted, as well as how the concept of 'coexistence' was reconfigured in official and unofficial rhetoric on both sides of the island. The results of the project were to be incorporated into ongoing research on marginalization and the experience of citizenship in the southeastern Mediterranean.
Demetriou, Olga. 2007 To Cross or Not to Cross? Subjectivization and the Absent State in Cyprus. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13(4):987-1006.