Papering the Divide: Religious Difference, Bureaucracy, and Belonging in Pakistan
This dissertation will examine how modes of governance relate to what it is to be a Hindu in predominantly Muslim Pakistan. I propose to study how the Hindu minority community aspires towards, and patches together, a semi-official existence in the suspension of official recognition. My hypothesis is that creative substitutions for suspended bureaucratic processes serve to establish Hindu belonging to the Pakistani state, by articulating political claims to citizenship. To this end, I will conduct ethnography and participant observation at the lower courts, government offices, and community councils in the town of Mirpurkhas, to understand the relationship of Pakistani Hindus to local government and bureaucracy. I will study how a religious minority aspires to a political life within an ideological state that only partially recognizes it. In these circumstances, how is the material infrastructure of legal and political life used to reimagine notions of viable forms of citizenship? What may be the motivations and circumstances for creating an appeal to the state through bureaucracy, amidst the abeyance of legal codes? This project will also examine state archives in Karachi, the former federal capital and current provincial capital city, to track antecedents on the minority question in the early years of Pakistan, as well as how the law has accommodated and contracted such valences of citizenship since 1947. Addressing long-standing questions about the relationship of minorities to the modern state, my dissertation project will explore how political subjectivity and the nature of citizenship and belonging may be navigated in creative ways. In so doing, it indexes current debates on citizenship, religious freedom and the place of the law.
Multicultural Celebration or Unwelcome Intrusion? The Politics of Mosque Construction in Spain
Crossing Borders in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Europeans in Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Galata
In 1617, Fatma Hatun, an ordinary Ottoman woman, agreed to pay a certain amount of money to the Venetian merchant Pavlo to save her son, a war captive imprisoned on Chios Island. This project takes as its subject the lived experiences of European merchants, diplomats, and travelers, such as Pavlo, in the seventeenth century Middle East. The focus is upon Istanbul, the seat of the Ottoman Empire, and particularly Galata, the main commercial and diplomatic district of the city where most Europeans resided. Merchants, diplomats, sailors, missionaries, and travelers acquired official documents guaranteeing the safety of their lives and property during their stay, thereby becoming muste'min, i.e. protected foreigners. Utilizing a diverse set of archival sources composed of legal court records, commercial records, consular reports, diplomatic correspondences, and personal writings from archives located in Istanbul, London, and Paris, this research demonstrates interdependent relations and the fluidity of social bonds between Europeans and local Ottoman subjects. Traditional historiography portrays a picture of conflict and difference. This dissertation seeks to problematize these conventional views of cultural binary oppositions such as East and West, Christian and Muslim, insider and outsider, and local and foreigner. Without underestimating the existence of conflict, it seeks to probe the assumed political, linguistic, and religious boundaries to reveal dense cross-cultural and cross-religious exchange, interdependence, and shared business networks between Europeans and Ottoman subjects, as well as the multifaceted identities of the early modern Mediterranean.
The Ascendancy of Mathematics: Mathematics, Politics, and Eduaction at Trinity College, Dublin
Political Violenec and the Development of Nigeria:a study of Yobe State
Cooperation in Uncertainty: Migration, Ethnicity, and Community Governance in India's Urban Slums
In the face of common threats, why do some vulnerable communities develop institutions that advance their collective interests and security while others fail? Through a comparative analysis of slum communities in urban India, my dissertation will explain how community governance institutions take shape in contexts of ethnic diversity and patronage politics—conditions that describe many cities in the developing world. Two related puzzles motivate my research. First, the level of basic public goods and services—access to drinking water, sanitation and waste removal, public safety, and schools—varies widely across and within slums in India. What causes these developmental disparities? Second, urban slums are among the most densely populated and ethnically diverse areas in India. Slums diverge, though, in their levels of inter-ethnic cooperation and political organization. This complicates a growing and interdisciplinary literature that posits a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and cooperation. Drawing on variation in inter-ethnic organization across India’s slums, my research will illuminate the mechanisms that impede or facilitate collective action in socially heterogeneous groups. It will also provide insight into the origins and formation of informal political institutions. I propose a research design that combines the strengths of sustained qualitative fieldwork, formal theory, and a larger quantitative analysis.
The Many Lives of the Buddha in Modern Japan
Transforming Death, Transforming Society: Palliative Caregiving Networks in Thailand
Between Amsterdam and Riga: Networks of Jewish Merchants in Warsaw between 1750 and 1815
US Congress and Asia
Land in DDR Programmes: An Analysis of the Role of Land in the Reintegration of Ex-combatants in Northern Uganda and South Sudan
Land Tenure, Farm Investment and Technical Efficiency in Ghana
CONFLICT REPORTING OR CONFLICT ESCALATION? AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN PRESS IN THE COVERAGE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS IN NIGERIA (1999-2013).
Crafting the Self in the Shadow of the Turkish State: The Formation of Yurtsever Subjecthood in the 1990s
My research explores the building of the yurtsever (patriot) youth movement in the 1990s when the Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan - Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) mobilization was at its height in Turkey. I specifically focus on the formation of yurtsever subjecthood in the high school setting when Kurdish youth, whose parents were deemed "backward" and "ignorant", were invited to be part of "civilization" and participate in the project of building the Turkish nation. My research investigates the processes that constituted yurtsever subjecthood as a historical process of subject formation that rejected assimilation and instead chose to be a part of struggle for recognition, even at the cost of their own lives under state of emergency conditions. Today, the youth of the 1990s refer to themselves as the "lost generation" to highlight the massive loss of lives and tutunamayan (disconnected) attitude of survivors towards life. I suggest that this critical moment in the mobilization of Kurdish youth and their struggle for recognition speaks to us about how subjectivities challenged and also reconfigured the Turkish political landscape where their experience of difference and inequality continue to be neglected, denied, or uncounted. I combine in-depth and semi-structured interviews with students and teachers who attended Ziya Gökalp High School in Diyarbakir, one of the main centers of yurtsever youth mobilization, archival research of PKK publications, as well as auto-ethnography, to examine the practices and discourses that shaped young people receptive to the PKK's mobilization efforts. Together, these research approaches will enable me to interpret in what ways the political practices of yurtsever youth challenged and reshaped the Kurdish movement in particular and Turkish politics in general. I expect that my study will contribute to interpreting the production of "the political" and also to comparative understandings of political mobilization and subject formation.
Jardins de Apolo: as perspectivas de jovens traficantes sobre o lugar social das drogas
The Curse of Oil: Unpacking the Challenges to Food Security in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region
The Making of Human Rights in Turkey
My research explores human rights training programs for state officials in Turkey, where academics and human rights activists teach human rights sensibility to various social and political actors involved in Turkey’s governance (the police, mayors, judges, prison administrators social workers etc.). The implementation of a comprehensive national human rights policy is increasingly viewed as an essential requirement for Turkey’s membership in the EU. Uncomfortable with many of its provisions, nationalists both within and outside the state bureaucracy in Turkey view EU’s human rights policy as part of foreign/Western impositions on Turkey. For many state officials, human rights secure “rights for terrorists” and threaten national security and sovereignty. Both the EU and human rights circles in Turkey put great emphasis on the human rights education of state officials, viewed as the primary human rights violators in the country. Training programs serve as critical sites to study the interpretation, translation, modification, contestation and re-articulation of what universal human rights come to mean in the Turkish governmental context. Studying how different actors address the issue during the training reveals how human rights discourse interacts with the ideas of national polity in Turkey. My project aspires to move beyond the normative framework in studying human rights in a non-Western context, articulated within the binary of the country’s accomplishment versus failure in implementing those rights. It aspires to explore what human rights do in a liminal setting where the term occupies a controversial position. Studying "the making of" human rights assumes that “failures” in implementing human rights do not correspond to passive moments of doing nothing. Rather, they are productive instances of doing something else. My research aspires to find out what the failures in implementing human rights in Turkey’s governmental realm actually end up producing.
Deliberative Union Democracy: Reconciling 'Insiders' and 'Outsiders' within the Italian Union Movement
Cultures of the Sun: The Politics of Solar Energy in India
Sunlight has played an often overlooked, yet significant role in Indian political history. In 1930, Gandhi undertook his famous Salt March to protest the British taxation of salt by making his own, and encouraged other Indians to do the same. Gandhi's method was simple: he mobilized sunlight, a resource accessible to all Indians, to extract salt from sea water. Today, as India gears up to become one of the world's largest producers of solar energy, similar rhetoric is employed in government, policy and NGO circuits, reminding people that sunlight is a democratic energy source, freely accessible to all. My dissertation focuses on this apparent socially transformative potential of sunlight at a moment when solar energy is being globally hailed as a zero carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Although sunlight maybe "free" and freely available, it is precisely this quality that binds it to social, political and economic relations. In recognizing this, my project asks: How might we understand solar energy as a social technology? What kinds of social identities and political formations are engendered and dissolved through this technological manifestation of sunlight? How do these interact with existing historical and religious modes of relating to the sun in India? I explore these questions through a multi-sited ethnography in India, engaging bureaucrats involved in formulating solar energy policy, urban residents bypassing unreliable state electricity grids with rooftop solar modules, villagers experiencing electric modernity through solar-based NGO initiatives, and spiritualists looking beyond the economic in their harnessing of the sun's energy. Each site affords me the opportunity to examine social relations that have begun to accrue around sunlight as it emerges as a crucial component of contemporary economic and political systems.
The role of civil society in Peace-building: A case study of West Africa.
Objects of Taste and Knowledge: Chinese Furniture between London, Batavia, and Canton in the Long Eighteenth Century
My dissertation examines the interaction between Europeans and Chinese in the material culture of export Chinese furniture in Canton, Batavia, and Britain during the long eighteenth century. Specifically, it concerns the transmission of cultural and technical knowledge through the production and consumption of furniture and the plural representations of China resultant from such transmission. By examining the Chippendale-style "Chinese bookcase" in Britain, the "Chinese cabinet" of Dutch colonials in Batavia, and the vernacular display cabinets of provincial Canton, my project goes beyond previous scholarship's focus on the exotic chinoiserie to show how Europeans and Chinese co-produced and co-domesticated "Chinese-ness" in heterogeneous ways by mixing exotic and familiar cultural elements. It also replaces the East-West binary with multiple vectors of interest and interaction occurring triangularly between three important trading zones. Following the trajectory of export furniture highlights the networks between dispersed artisans, merchants, and consumers, who formed a complex web of connections that played an important role in the formation of the early modern global trade. By locating its subject matter at the intersection between the local and the global, therefore, my dissertation will reconfigure the transmission and trans-culturation of taste and knowledge through the movement of objects and people in the long eighteenth-century world.