Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationGeorge Washington U.
Grant numberGr. 9675
Approve DateApril 19, 2018
Project TitleRoss, Scott, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'The Early Warning Radio: Humanitarian Infrastructures and Networks of Protection in the Congo,' supervised by Dr. Sarah E. Wagner
SCOTT ROSS, then a graduate student at George Washington University, Washington, DC, was awarded funding in April 2019 to aid research on “The Early Warning Radio: Humanitarian Infrastructures and Networks of Protection in the Congo,” supervised by Dr. Sarah E. Wagner. This project focuses on an early warning radio network in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where humanitarians have appropriated existing highfrequency radio technology to collect and disseminate information about armed groups active in the region. Originally used commercially and by churches, the humanitarian iteration of the network connects rural communities in an area marked by poor communications and transportation infrastructure and low-level insecurity. The dissertation research involved ethnographic and archival research that asks how “insecurity” is defined and by whom, as well as how rural villagers respond to an array of actors including humanitarians, park rangers, pastoralists, rebels, and soldiers that are involved in such insecurity. The research also explored how intervention is shaped by and shapes politics and conceptions of the political (e.g. what does it mean for humanitarians to be “apolitical?”), how the history of the HF radio influenced its current forms, and how the technology’s possibilities and limits affect the network. Through an ethnography of a unique intervention in a marginal region, the research speaks to the politics and ethics of innovation and intervention in humanitarianism, counterinsurgency, conservation, and immigration.