Kanaaneh, Dr. Rhoda, American U., Washington, DC - To aid research and writing on 'In the Name of Insecurity: Arabs in the Israeli Military' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. RHODA KANAANEH, American University, Washington, DC, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctural Fellowship in May 2004, to aid research and writing on 'In the Name of Insecurity: Arabs in the Israeli Military.' The Hunt Fellowship allowed the grantee to complete a book manuscript currently titled, 'On the Edge of Security: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military.' The manuscript looks at a small group of mostly men arguing that aIthough the percentage of these soldiers in the population is miniscule, the ways in which they operate at the margins of their communities and the state shed light on the community and state as a whole. The experiences of these controversial soldiers, how they negotiate their positions, and the ways in which they are accepted, integrated, and marginalized, form a powerful vantage point from which to understand citizenship, identity, ethnic conflict, class and gender in Israel. In addition, the grantee completed two new articles based on this research.
Kanaaneh, Rhoda. 2008. Surrounded: Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military. Stanford University Press: Stanford, California.
Kanaaneh, Rhoda. 2005. Boys or Men? Duped or 'Made?': Palestinian Soldiers in the Israeli Military. American Ethnologist 32(2):260-275.
McCormick, Jared Sherman, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Mobility of Desire: Men, Movement, and Sexuality in Beirut,' supervised by Dr. Steven Caton
JARED S. MCCORMICK, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'The Mobility of Desire: Men, Movement, and Sexuality in Beirut,' supervised by Dr. Steven Caton. Beirut is often thought of as a pilot light of liberalism in the Middle East. As such, it has become the arrival and departure point for many queer men in the region. Men from the Arabian Gulf, diasporic Lebanese, and Syrian migrant workers descend into the context of Beirut, just as Lebanese men grapple with their own sexual subjectivities. This project focuses on these communities who transit through Beirut and how their presence alters the environment in which sexualities are negotiated. Research aims to produce an ethnographic study of how gender is constructed, reassigned, and how these networks of mobile men become constitutive of male sexualities in Lebanon. What unites this inquiry are the ways in which travel, migration, and tourism are as much about imagination as they are about desire -- as much about the negotiations of the 'self' and subjectivities as the crafting of a physical space through which one 'passes.' The relationality of all these men -- touring, migrating, and 'toured' -- speaks not only to how gender/sexuality are in flux, how movements and mobilities are changing in the Middle East, but how imagination becomes instructive in our metaphors of movement.
Ozden, Senay, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Other Refugees: A Comparative Ethnography of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon and Syria,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
SENAY OZDEN, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2003 to aid research on May 2003 to aid research on 'Other Refugees: A Comparative Ethnography of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon and Syria,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. This research explored how the Palestinian refugee is produced as a subject at the intersection of Arab nationalism, the politics of class, and the territoriality of resistance in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war in Syria. Arguing that Palestinian refugee politics cannot be isolated from the larger configuration of Syrian politics, the research sought to understand how various political powers in Syria - the state as identified with the Ba'th Party, the communist opposition, and various Palestinian political factions - conceptualize 'refugee' as a political and administrative category, and in turn, how the varying definitions of the Palestinian refugee contribute to the discursive construction of nationalism and the state in Syria. The project further explores how, among Palestinian refugees, a shift in discourse from an earlier anti-imperialist rhetoric to one of civil society and human rights has inspired new perceptions of state, resistance and the refugee camp. Archival research was conducted, in Syria and Lebanon, at the National Archives and at the archives of Syrian and Palestinian political organizations. Ethnographic research involved interviews with members of the Palestinian resistance and the Syrian opposition, as well as participation in the activities of Syrian and Palestinian protest movements in Syria and Lebanon.
Allen, Lori A., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Uncertain State of Palestine: 'Pain and Suffering' in Nationalism and State-Building,' supervised by Dr. Nadia L. Abu El-Haj
LORI A. ALLEN, while a graduate student at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, received an award in December 2001 to aid field research in the West Bank on human rights and the role of suffering in Palestinian politics, under the supervision of Dr. Nadia L. Abu El-Haj. Allen focused on the institutional settings and organized practices of Palestinian human-rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in order to determine to what extent the transnational discourse of human rights, the global institutions that help define its parameters and goals, and the local brokers who parlay that discourse in Palestine have helped construct Palestinian nationalism, routinize violence, and link 'suffering' to politics. She explored the political and cultural processes through which Palestinians in the West Bank have experienced and adapted to increasing levels of violence committed by the Israeli occupation forces and the effects these processes have had on how the intifada (uprising) has been played out. Research methods included participant observation in human rights NGOs, interviews with families of 'martyrs' and former political prisoners, collection of media coverage of intifada and human rights issues, and observation of public demonstrations. Palestinian efforts to represent the conflict through the tropes of human rights and victimization are one manifestation of a larger project of redefinition-both within the Palestinian community and globally-of what counts as justifiable violence and a rescaling of the value of pain suffered for a political cause.
Allen, Lori A. 2009.Martyr Bodies in the Media: Human Rights, Aesthetics, and the Politics of
Immediation in the Palestinian Intifada. American Ethnologist 36(1):161-180.
Ritchie, Jason, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing,' supervised by Dr. Matti Bunzl
JASON RITCHIE, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing,' supervised by Dr. Matti Bunzi. Research focused on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender -- or 'queer'-- Palestinians who live in or travel to Israel. The project is part of a broader interest in the relationship between sexuality and race in ostensibly democratic nation-states at the historical convergence of neoliberal capitalism and 'clash of civilizations' discourses, which have facilitated the increasing normalization of homosexuals and the increasing marginalization of racialized -- especially Arab -- others. Against this backdrop, the plight of queer Palestinians -- in Israel and in many Western countries -- has emerged as an effective tool for normalized queers to engage in nationalist politics and indirectly advocate for their own projects by constructing 'homophobia' as the sine qua non of the illiberal, non-Western/non-Israeli other. Rather than taking for granted the centrality of Palestinian homophobia or the benevolence of Israeli liberalism, the project utilized extended ethnographic research with queer Palestinians to explore the uses of sexuality and race in the disciplinary practices of the Israeli state and the possibilities -- or not -- of social change emanating out of spaces defined and constrained by those practices.
Collins, Rodney W., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Coffeehouse Circulations: Everyday Masculinities and Urban Spaces in Contemporary Tunis,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick
RODNEY COLLINS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Coffeehouse Circulations: Everyday Masculinities and Urban Spaces in Contemporary Tunis,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick. The research project was envisaged as an ethnographic and archival study of the spatial forms, everyday practices and social imaginings specific to coffeehouses in Tunis since the republic's independence in 1956. It not only sought to examine the historical and transnational circulatory processes that have rendered this institution ubiquitous in contemporary Tunis, but also to interrogate the background of theoretical privilege granted to the institution in the social sciences. The socio-spatial distribution of everyday practice was surveyed and mapped with especial attention for the effects of gender, kinship, class, and confession. Tunisia's post-colonial social history was charted and documented in the oral narratives of governmental officials, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, unemployed youth, and retired men. Interviews and data gleaned from popular, official, and specialized media sources localize the discursive effects of translocal, transnational, and global forces in the context of political, economic, and social reform in contemporary Tunisia. As such, the dissertation to be produced from this research seeks to provide an ethnographic interrogation of contemporary habitudes and practices of public-ness.
Touhouliotis, Vasiliki Despin, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Weapons between Wars: Cluster Bombs, Technological Failure and the Durability of War in South Lebanon,' by Dr. Ann Laura Stoler
VASILIKI D. TOUHOULIOTIS, then a student at New School for Social Research, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Weapons between Wars: Cluster Bombs, Technological Failure and the Durability of War in South Lebanon,' by Dr. Ann L. Stoler. This project is an ethnographic study of the millions of cluster bombs dropped by Israel on south Lebanon during the 2006 war. Six months of ethnographic research in Lebanon were premised on the hypothesis that these cluster bombs are productive agents that render war durable by assembling people, objects, practices, and discourses in ways that defy the official end of war. To understand how cluster bombs prolong the time of war and what the forms of this prolongation look like, ethnographic research was conducted across the following sites: de-mining teams working to clear contaminated fields; local organizations providing mine risk education and victim assistance; surgical units specializing in treating injuries by cluster bombs; inhabitants of bomb afflicted areas; and farmers cultivating currently or formerly contaminated land. Evidence was collected on how cluster bombs continue to affect work, agricultural practices and land use, regimes of care, health and mobility, structures of governance, and ways of talking about prolonged and continuous war. Preliminary findings indicate a further militarization of south Lebanon through the sustained presence of the bombs and their de-mining, their importance as objects of discourse, and their location in a web of conspiracy theories, generalized suspicion, and potential for betrayal.
Goner, Dr. Ozlem, City U. of New York, Staten Island, NY - To aid engaged activities on 'Engaging with Multiple Histories: Ethnographic Research at a Time of History-Making,' 2013, Dersim, Turkey
DR. OZLEM GONER, City University of New York, Staten Island, New York, was awarded an Engaged Anthropology Grant in February 2013 to aid 'Engaging with Multiple Histories: Ethnographic Research at a Time of History-Making, Dersim, Turkey.' This project followed up previous research that analyzed multiple histories of a series of massacres the state undertook in Dersim, and revealed formation and transformation of outsiderness through direct and indirect, experienced and imagined, past and present forms of historicity. Since this research was conducted, various collective memory projects have introduced new discourses and silences about historical narratives. The engagement project involved sharing the dissertation work with the host community at a time when their history is being narrated in more formulaic and exclusive forms. To this end, the grantee revisited narrators in various districts and villages of Dersim during which they interpreted the conclusions of the dissertation together. The grantee also organized a workshop among the local researchers who worked on similar issues to promote a dialogue among different collective memory projects and to make these projects more transparent to the host community. Moreover, in its reinterpretations, history is often mobilized to understand the current relationships between the state and subaltern populations, such as the continuing dam and mining projects, which threaten the livelihood of people in Dersim. This engagement project provided the grantee a chance to participate in various discussions with academics, local researchers, political actors, and local residents, and present how ethnographic research can contribute to more participatory solutions.
Kassamali, Sumayya, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Death, Disappearance, Martyrdom: Warscapes of Contemporary Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley Messick
Preliminary abstract: In a region long marked by experiences of political insecurity and militarized conflict, the tiny Middle Eastern country of Lebanon stands out for the seemingly endless cycle of violence that characterizes its recent history. From the Civil War of 1975-1991 and the Israeli invasions of 1982 and 2006, to its current imbrication in the conflict in Syria, Lebanon is a country layered by war. This experience of war has shaped two concurrent discourses: one that accuses the Lebanese public of opting for collective amnesia for the sake of national reconciliation, and another that sees in post-war reconstruction the possibility of cultural and collective renewal. Yet between unease at an apparent forgetting evidenced by a lack of memorialization in monuments or public discourse, and excitement at urban innovation as a form of national healing, lies the ongoing persistence of the dead. Bringing together stories about those who disappeared during the Civil War and those killed as a result of the current Syrian conflict, my dissertation project examines the afterlife of war outside the formal mechanisms of memorialization (or their absence). How are the overlapping layers of war in Lebanon narrated and lived with? How are the dead laid to rest, and how might some persist, making demands on those left behind, actively participating in the various communities of sect, religion, and nation? Through extended fieldwork in and around Beirut, I will examine forms of private grief versus public mourning, rituals that surround the naming and commemorating of martyrs, and campaigns drawing attention to the disappeared as attempts to put the not-quite-dead to rest. My project builds on a longstanding cross-disciplinary interest in how societies experience collective tragedy and intimate loss, turning to ethnography to intervene in a broader set of debates about war, mourning, and social transformation in the modern Middle East.
Mikdashi, Maya, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Conversion, the Politics of Secularism, and the Personal Status System in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Preliminary abstract: Conversion is usually understood as an act of faith. In Lebanon, the right to 'change religions' is protected by the state, and citizens can and do convert their personal status in order to change the rights pertaining to their 'private lives.' For example, in particular circumstances, citizens will 'convert' in order to fall under the purview of a different divorce or inheritance law. Secular activists often read this practice of conversion as an injury to religious subjectivity, even though it might not always be experienced as such by 'converts.' Through twelve months of ethnographic and archival research in Beirut I will study the Lebanese personal status system in two contexts: this mechanism of conversion, and a political movement that seeks to add a 'secular' personal status law. By studying these Lebanese 'conversions,' the religious and secular legal discourses addressing them, and the institutional terrains of the personal status system, I will enrich theoretical debates on secularism, religion and their Lebanese articulation, political sectarianism.