Ketchum, Frederick Benjamin, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Redesigning Human Nature: An Anthropology of Enhancement Drugs in Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquar
Preliminary abstract: This research ethnographically examines the phenomena of 'enhancement' in Germany, or the use of medications to improve performance by individuals who are not sick. These medications give individuals the power to redesign themselves and their capacities, raising important ethical questions about whether using enhancements is unnatural, if this use threatens individuals' identity, if everyone should have access to these medications, and what the consequences for broader society are. I argue that enhancements need to be understood as technologies of everyday life that enable multiple ideals and desires to be realized, and are linked to hopes about human perfectibility and anxieties about the proper relationship between nature, humans, and technology. Drawing on anthropological scholarship on medicine, pharmaceuticals, biopolitics, and ethics, I will ethnographically explore the practices and motivations for using these drugs, and describe the ideals of perfection and achievement that power them. Enhancements are intimately linked to medicine and medical advances, as well as discourses of health and illness that are used to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate uses of drugs. Because much of what has been written about enhancements is oriented towards a future in which enhancement use is widespread, this work will also place enhancement technologies in the larger context of utopic (or dystopic) visions of a re-engineered humanity, in an attempt to discern what enhancements might mean for broader social and political life.
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.
Lem, Dr. Winnie, Trent U., Peterborough, Canada - To aid research on 'Transnationalism and Chinese Migrant Livelihoods'
DR. WINNIE LEM, of Trent University in Peterborough, Canada, was awarded a grant in December 2002 to aid research on the significance of transnational networks in the organization of livelihoods among Chinese migrants in France. Lem conducted fieldwork on small, family-run businesses operated by migrants from Asia in Paris, in order to assess the role played by transnational circuits in the initiation, organization, and operation of such firms over the previous 50 years. Through this case study, Lem explored the different propositions and debates that were emerging in the literature on the nature of migration and transnationalism and their relationships to globalization.
Lem, Winnie. 2007. William Roseberry, Class and Inequality in the Anthropology of Migration. Critique of Anthropology 27(4):377-394.
Mishtal, Dr. Joanna Zofia, U. of Central Florida, Orlando, FL - To aid research and writing on 'Contradictions of Democratization: Reproductive Rights and the Politics of Morality in Poland' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. JOANNA Z. MISHTAL, University of Central Florida, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2011 to aid research and writing 'Contradictions of Democratization: Reproductive Rights and the Politics of Morality in Poland.' The book is a historical, theoretical, and ethnographic study of the intersections of politics, gender, and religion. Based on 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork during doctoral and postdoctoral research between 2000 and 2007 in Krakow, Warsaw, and Gdansk, the book explores the postsocialist democratization process and the contentiousness of reproductive politics that emerged since the 1989 fall of state socialism. As reproductive rights became significantly curtailed after the fall of the socialist regime due to the new-found political power of the Catholic Church in Poland, the politics of gender and reproduction shifted to the center of transformative negotiations taking place nationally in Poland and internationally within the European Union. Findings argue for an alternative understanding of Polish democratization refocused around reproductive politics, and make a contribution to the theoretical debates on the significance of regime change and transition politics for feminist consciousness-raising and mobilization. This study demonstrates the centrality of the governance of women's bodies in postsocialist politics-a constitutive feature of the Polish democratization process.
Donkersloot, Rachel, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on ''Get Out or Get Left?': Understanding Youth Life-Paths and Experiences of an Irish Fishing Locale,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Menzies
RACHEL DONKERSLOOT, then a student at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on ''Get Out or Get Left?' Understanding Youth Life-Paths and Experiences of an Irish Fishing Locale,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Menzies. This research is located in the social and economic landscape of a rural fisheries-dependent community. Here the subject of rural youth emigration is addressed through attention to gender differences in the ways young people perceive, experience, and cope with rural life, which includes decisions to emigrate. Funding made possible eleven months of fieldwork in the coastal community of Killybegs, County Donegal, Ireland. Through this support, 67 formal (individual and group) interviews were conducted. Research participants include young people (aged 18 to 30), as well as parents, teachers, community members/leaders, and retired and active fishermen and industry workers. Preliminary findings suggest: 1) discourse surrounding migration that devalues staying and locates stayers as underachievers or 'losers left behind' represents, at best, a 'partial perspective and particular interests;' and 2) gender is a critical dimension of rural youth experience but its import should not eclipse the very powerful ways in which class shapes young people's experience of place. Resituating young people's life narratives at the intersection of class and gender is imperative to understanding rural youth experience. To privilege gender over class, or vice versa, risks overlooking, over-simplifying or mis-recognizing the subject.
Petryna, Dr. Adriana, The New School U., New York, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Pharmaceutical Testing and Evidence Making: An Ethnography of the Globalized Clinical Trial' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ADRIANA PETRYNA, The New School University, New York, New York, recieved a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2006 to aid research and writing on 'Pharmaceutical Testing and Evidence Making: An Ethnography of the Globalized Clinical Trial.' Accelerated therapeutic innovation and massive pharmaceutical sales are driving an unprecedented worldwide search for human test subjects. When Experiments Travel:Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects (Princeton University Press, in press) takes the reader deep into the clinical research enterprise. It enters the perspectives of multiple actors with divergent standpoints and stakes, illuminating the benefits and risks that accompany global clinical trials. Based on interviews with corporate scientists and executives, the book charts the evolution of the clinical research industry in the United States and probes the regulatory and logistical challenges faced by this outsourced venture. Concerned with scientific integrity and human safety, the book traces the offshoring of clinical trials and their aftermath in middle and low-income countries where it also engages the work of trial coordinators, academic scientists, and regulators. When Experiments Travel shows how private-sector research thrives on public institutions and is integrated as health care for the poor, how ethics is variable, and how the success of trials can be engineered and harms underestimated. As the world becomes a series of interlocking laboratories, data-producing sites, and drug markets, better systems of protection, accountability, and benefit-sharing are in order. The book holds vital lessons for social scientists, citizens, and policy makers concerned with the future of global medicine and the changing infrastructures of our lives.
Pettit, Matthew David, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Free Life: Healing the Alcoholic Self in Paris,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
Preliminary abstract: A research project investigating Vie Libre, a mutual-aid association for alcoholics in Paris, France. Over 10 months, I will use participant observation to examine how the group's understanding of healing ('guérison') and the healed alcoholic ('buveur guéri') is changing through their increasing subjection to new social and material conditions. These include various forms of precariousness and isolation, the perceived decline of the public ethos of solidarity, as well as new patterns of alcohol consumption (e.g. binge drinking among the young, co-morbid dependencies). My focus is on concrete instances of self-definition and relation, particularly in their weekly 'talking groups,' but including outreach efforts at hospitals and schools and their participation in public events. This perspective will include the ways in which medical and psychological treatments and strategies enter into my informants' lives as core tools in their self-making. The research centres on the two Parisian chapters of the group, and combines person-centred approaches, namely, long-form interviews and participant-observation of the daily lives and organizational initiatives of the group members, with an analysis of broader social phenomena. These include the history and shifting role of 'associations' in French civic society, increasing material precariousness due to short-term contracts and unemployment, and the rhetorics that shape, sustain and limit demands on the state and its citizens.
Gouez, Aziliz, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'Dwelling in Debt: Mortgage Debt and the Making of the Future in Contemporary Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov
Preliminary abstract: This research proposes to study the hold of financial debt on domestic time frames in contemporary Ireland by focusing attention on the role of debt in configuring the future, a domain of human life which remains underexplored in anthropology. The objective is to investigate the characteristics of the particular temporal regime fostered by a financial instrument which the Irish version of late capitalism made available to the many -- that of the mortgage loan. Taking my cue from Jane Guyer's notion of 'punctuated time', I shall examine how the domestic future is assembled and rendered intelligible (or perhaps, on the contrary, obscured) through the projection of dates that encapsulate distinct horizons and categories of obligations. This will entail looking at various temporal devices related to household budgeting strategies, such as wall calendars, family account books and mortgage repayment schedules, as a site from which to grasp the nesting of conflicting obligations as well as temporal disjunctures, when the round of monthly mortgage payments disrupts the unfolding of anticipated personal and intergenerational trajectories, or when it intersects with provisions made for a child's communion or one's own funeral. I shall also delve into the moral discussions arising from the weighing up of mortgage debt against other types of debt, including those binding citizens to the state, and those obligating the Irish government towards its international creditors.