Karina Vasilevska-Das

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, San Francisco, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9439

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Vasilevska-Das, Karina, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on ''Children are Our Future': Childhood, Citizenship and the Corporeal Politics of Futurity in Post-Socialist Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Ian Whitmarsh

Preliminary abstract: This project explores body-centered child-rearing techniques aimed at creating healthy and productive adults in post-socialist Latvia. I call these techniques – that include baby-massage and physical therapy for athletic children – ‘managed corporeality.’ Latvia is a unique site at the intersection between Russia and the European Union, each with historically- and ethnically- contested interpretations of the past. Divergent views about pre-Soviet and Soviet history inform how adults of different political and cultural backgrounds envision the future through their children in today’s Latvia. This project explores how these visions of the future are turned into bodily practices in relation to children’s development. Through interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, I will situate myself, firstly, with parents and children from a range of ethnic and economic backgrounds as well as the medical professionals who advise them in a state-sponsored medical program for child athletes and; secondly, with a group of ‘middle class’ parents whose child-rearing techniques are informed by Western psychological ideas of attachment. Through these two sites, I will explore how future is imagined and enacted in Latvia through managing children’s bodies in a way that ensures continuity for the individual subjects and the state.