Lindsay Bell Grubb

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

University of Western Ontario

Grant number

Gr. 9485

Approve Date

April 27, 2017

Project Title

Bell, Dr. Lindsay A., State U. of Western Ontario, Canada - To aid research on 'Transparency: An Ethnography of a Global Social Value'

LINDSAY BELL, Western University, London, Ontario, was awarded a grant in April 2017 to aid research on “Transparency: An Ethnography of a Global Social Value.” In the first decade of this century, diamonds and other conflict-laden gemstones spearheaded a global trend toward transparency. Despite the growing pervasiveness of transparency in business strategies and political discourses across political and economic spectrum, it remains a theoretically nebulous and ethnographically elusive category that occludes more than it purports to reveal. Rather than assuming that the category of transparency is itself transparent, this research interrogates the technological practices, material qualities, linguistic interactions, and institutional standards which produce transparency in the diamond sector. Funding is supporting ongoing anthropological research on how diamonds’ transparency is constituted in the interconnections between people, institutions, words and things. The primary field site for the research is Gemological Institute of America (GIA), in Carlsbad California. Through participation in courses in diamond evaluation and grading, the initial research describes how people in the gemstone industry learn to evaluate and standardize transparent stones, companies, and producing countries.