Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York, Graduate Center, City U. of
Grant numberGr. 9610
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleLove, Stephanie V., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Life of the Dead: Linguistic Infrastructure and the Signs of War in Post-Colonial Algeria,' supervised by Dr. Jillian Cavanaugh
Preliminary abstract: The dead create our social worlds. Their names constitute our sense of place, their images watch over us from monument perches, and their stories build the foundation of our polities and societies. In Algeria, after 50 years of independence, material and linguistic vestiges of the dead of the War of Liberation (1954-1962) continue to exert power over Algerian society, reflecting the enduring consequences of colonialism, war and civil violence on post-colonial social formation. This 12-month field research project investigates the construction of post-colonial space by asking: How do linguistic and material invocations and representations of the war dead shape political-economic subjectivities and collectivities in Algeria? How are they inscribed onto or erased from the landscape? How do Algerians make sense of these spaces? Using linguistic anthropological and ethnographic methods to map sites of commemoration, this project brings together an analysis of (a) political-economic structures and struggles over power in post-colonial Algeria, and (b) the everyday, material experience of language in space. In order to do this, I offer the theoretical frame of ‘linguistic infrastructure,’ which refers to material forms of language and other semiotic systems that function as built networks of circulation, fostering the exchange of goods, people, and ideas. This concept contributes to anthropological theory by revealing how people strategically mobilize material language in order to define the social experience of space and funnel resources to certain people. Using participant observation, audio-recordings and transcriptions of talk, and interviews, this project tests the proposition that the war dead ‘live’ on in Algerian society as gatekeepers of political power and socio-economic resources.