Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationIndiana U., Bloomington
Grant numberGr. 10237
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleRachok, Dariia (Indiana U., Bloomington) "Affective Ruins: Sex Workers’ Political Subjectivity and HIV in Ukraine"
The unfolding transformation of the public health system in Ukraine, including reorganization of HIV services provision, have evoked hopes, anxieties, and anticipations of despair among citizens. This transformation provides an advantageous site for studying how the relationship between marginalized citizens and the state is produced through affect—sensations that are bodily intense, oscillating in range, and relational. This project investigates how the political subjectivity of commercial sex workers is produced through affect that is generated through sex workers’ interactions with a reorganized public health bureaucracy when seeking HIV services. To do this, I elaborate the concepts of embodiment and ruins in relation to affect and situate affect in the system of power inequalities. My project investigates how structural inequalities become written on sex workers’ bodies and shape their visceral and affective responses to a state bureaucracy which is supposed to assume the responsibility for HIV provision as international donors withdraw. Emphasizing the corporeality and relationality of affect, this research advances anthropological notions of agency by foregrounding the issue of how political subjectivity is formed beyond the sovereign subject, through intense bodily experiences and outside of rational activity, and how the marginalized are political actors in their own right.