When Citizenship and Kinship Intersect: Comparing Japanese and American Responses to Transnational Child Custody Disputes
Creative Pathologies: Experimental Psychology and the French Avant-Garde, 1889-1914
Lost in Translation: Language and Colonial Rule in Nineteenth-Century French Algeria
My dissertation examines French linguistic intermediaries during the first decades of imperial expansion into Algeria. France had long promoted foreign language training, with specialists practicing as philologists, royal advisors, and as ambassadors abroad. But the conquest of Algiers in 1830 fundamentally altered their prospects for employment and advancement, drawing together an unprecedented number of bilingual functionaries in one space. The Algerian territory provides a privileged site for understanding the role of linguistic liaisons: interpreters were required for French and Arabic, but also Berber, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew. Communication with the local population was a necessary precursor for colonization, and France's dependence on an unsteady and overworked interpreter corps highlights the difficulty of imposing imperial rule. Necessity dictated that the colonial state recruit wherever and however it could, and foreign-language specialists arrived from all over the Mediterranean basin to fill positions within the new colony. Homing in on the decades that witnessed conquest and then the slow, uneven construction of an administration, I reveal an era of massive disruption, change, and adaptation. This social and political history of interpreters' experiences in French Algeria illuminates the formation of a new professional class of translators through the everyday practices of colonial governance. Periodic attempts at administrative centralization and corps professionalization, as evinced in the founding of the Colonial School in 1889, suggest a prevailing official concern with securing control over interpreters' actions. Even so, pragmatism ruled the everyday empire. By recovering the lives of these intermediaries, I shift the locus of imperial power toward largely unacknowledged men—indeed, the mark of a good translator was to become invisible—who played a key role in projecting French language, culture, and power abroad.
Post-Boundary Adjustment Resettlement: The Case of Bakassi “Nigerians”
Spaces of Inequality: Globalization, Governance, and the City
Adolescent boys’ experiences of sexual violence in South Africa: a comparative analysis of the effects of gender identity formation, structural inequality, migration and social conflict in two urban cities
Acculturation and the Radicalization of Young Women in Kenyan Universities
Blackness, Work, and Repression: Street Children at Play in Guayaquil, Ecuador
In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, street children line the traffic intersections, enmeshed in the city’s landscape: juggling tennis balls, washing windshields, selling flowers and oranges, and begging passers-by for money. Although a majority of these “street” children do not live on the streets, their work places them there and links them to images of poverty and childhood in an attempt to inspire compassion from those driving by: they frown as they walk from one car window to the next and some children hold signs describing a disability or an illness. These are the images outlining the city. Over 30 percent of Ecuador’s population is under the age of 15, and, as of 2006, approximately 20 percent of children in Ecuador live and work on the streets (Velasco 2006). This phenomenon is not unique to Ecuador, as 20 percent of children in Latin America work (typically on the streets), but the racialized discourses surrounding Ecuadorian street children—“indians” in the highlands and “blacks” on the coast—highlight specific tensions and ethno-racial stereotypes that accompany Ecuadorian poverty. This project explores the interconnections of the forms of play and work of Afro-Ecuadorian street children in Guayaquil, as a means of understanding how these children conceptualize their worlds and how these conceptualizations challenge traditional play theories and traditional ideas of childhood. My research calls attention to growing social inequalities, questioning the ways in which poverty, hope, and survival are intertwined in Guayaquil and how and why forms of play, work, and “care and compassion” (Ticktin 2011) emerge in the relationships between street children, their families/guardians, and governmental and nongovernmental entities.
‘I felt the hand of the government in my womb’: Black women, intimate violence, and political subjectivity in Colombia and Brazil
My central research question is how do black women in Colombia and Brazil understand and negotiate the contradictory nature of the state as both a protector against and a perpetrator of violence in their everyday lives? Contributing to existing scholarship on the gendered dimension of state violence, and feminist interventions on the public and private, I argue that black women understand this contradiction by conveying State violence along a continuum. This continuum colludes the categories of public and private forms of violence, which problematizes the state as a perpetrator of intimate violence. That is, for black women, state violence at its most basic level is about intimacy within the body, the home, and the family. Through in-depth interviews and ethnographic data, my research seeks to explain how black women navigate this contradiction through their participation in grassroots social movements, React or Die! (Brazil), and the Process of Black Communities (PCN-Colombia).
Gendered Experiences? Assessing Women’s Music Performances in Tunisia
My research will focus on how popular and conservatory-trained female professional musicians assess their musical experiences, and on what it means to be a female professional musician in Tunisia today. I will work with female musicians active in popular music festivals and conservatories, the two contexts where they perform most prominently and publicly. Because the music festivals occur in the summer months and the conservatories are open between October and May, I will need to spend a full year in Tunisia: between September 2007 and August 2008. By working with musicians such as the popular singer Shadia Shaabene and Amina Srarfi, who founded and directs a music conservatory and all-female music ensemble, I hope to investigate women’s understandings of their gendered musical performances. My project will contribute to underserved fields of research such as studies of Tunisian popular music, detailed ethnographic studies of Arab women, and studies of women’s affective responses to music and their lived experiences as musicians.
From Political Solidarity to Human Rights: The Transformation of Pinochet’s Opposition in Europe, 1973-1998
On September 11, 1973 a military coup resulted in the death of Chile's socialist President Salvador Allende and the installation of a brutal military Junta led by Augusto Pinochet. While the Pinochet dictatorship was not the first or even the bloodiest of its kind in South America during Pinochet's reign from 1973-1988, it fomented the greatest political mobilization in Europe since 1968. My project will examine West German, British, and Spanish solidarity organizations as they transformed from more Marxist in nature, tending to employ the radical language of anti-imperialism and anti-fascism, to engendering a more "anti-political" language of human rights by the late-1970s. It will follow this opposition as it contributed to Pinochet's historic 1998 arrest in London for human rights abuse charges, issued by Spanish judge Balthasar Garzón. While legal scholars have highlighted this moment as setting the precedent for universal jurisdiction in international law, my project will historicize this moment, tracing the long-genealogy of international justice. In this way, my project will demonstrate the way that social movements can impact the structures of international law. It will also contribute to ongoing interdisciplinary debates in human rights scholarship related to the concept's transformation and widespread use in the 1970s.
Altering Asia's Banana Republic? The Making of an "Alternative" Supply Chain along the Pacific Rim
Across the Asia-Pacific, nation-states are anxiously anticipating major socio-economic changes brought about by the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership and the 2015 Association for Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement. Where intensifying regional free trade regimes pressure the agricultural sectors to view more and more of the world in terms of monocrop plantation economies, this ethnographic project between Japan and the Philippines explores the making of a supply chain of a non-plantation commodity, the balangon banana. Biological properties that make this wild, highland Cavendish resistant to monocrop-style agriculture profoundly shift the dynamics of its supply chain. These new infrastructural networks offer growers, intermediaries and consumers alternative routes to political engagement and transnational solidarity. Through them, actors seek to alter the Philippines' trademark as "Asia's Banana Republic," and reimagine Japan's "neo-imperialist" relationship to Southeast Asia. This project adopts the "commodity chain" as a heuristic to track not only infrastructural but also moral geographies along the alternative pathways from harvest, packaging, transport, marketing, distribution through consumption, and back. In describing the dynamic relationship between agro-ecological crop systems, supply chain logistics, and political processes, this research aspires to contribute broadly to global commodity chains research, economic anthropology, and the anthropology of infrastructure in the inter-Asian region.
Modernity's Garb(age): A Political Ecology of Municipal Solid Waste in Delhi
Discourses and practices of development have consistently held that urbanization is the key to progress. But the process of urbanization also brings a set of problems, two of which are—an informal sector that perpetually escapes the purview of the state and piling amounts of unmanaged and sometimes, unmanageable, garbage. At the intersection of these two problems of urbanization are waste pickers—those who informally manage the city’s garbage—whose livelihoods are being threatened as the city of Delhi privatizes its waste management services in its aspirations to become a “world-class” and “global” city. The proposed research asks the following broad question: What can the problem of garbage tell us about relations within and between classes, the state and private capital in the process of urbanization in Delhi? More specifically, this research examines: (a) garbage and waste pickers as objects of urban planning; (b) tactics and strategies of private waste firms; (c) middle and upper class desires for a particular kind of urban modernity; and (d) modes of informal sector waste pickers’ organizing. In order to do this, this research will employ the following methods as part of the fieldwork to be conducted between July 2012 and June 2013: (1) Fifty semi-structured interviews with government officials, NGO and development agency personnel and waste firm managers; (2) Participant observation at six Resident Welfare Association (RWA) meetings, one waste picker organization (Safai Sena), and one waste firm (through a four-month long internship); and (3) Household surveys with 120 households in the six neighborhoods where participant observation at RWA meetings will be conducted. The crux of this research is an examination of the stakes involved in the imagination of alternative urban futures not just for Delhi but for other cities that aspire to become “world-class” and “global” as well.
Property & Politics in Transition: Land in the South African Political Imagination
Inventing locality: Returnees and reconstruction of the Eritrean social landscape
Of Specimens and Scalpels: Medical Objects and the Making Museums of Medical History in the United States, 1860-1990
Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children
Victorian Fiction and the Virtual Moving Image
Victorian realist fiction is traditionally understood to be a representation of the object world. My dissertation complicates this formulation through a study of the emergence of immaterial visual culture in the nineteenth century. New technological media for the production of the virtual moving image, such as magic lantern shows, stage illusions like Pepper’s Ghost, and early cinema, divested vision from material objectivity through flickering, insubstantial projections. I track the influence of the virtual moving image on the representational strategies of Victorian novelists such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Henry James, demonstrating that the technological dematerialization of vision was formative for the creation of realist literary effects. My research yields a new account of the construction of reality in Victorian culture, one that defines “the real” as the visual expression of a phenomenological dialectic synthesizing the material and the phantasmal.
Toussaint or Castro? Marxism, Black Radicalism, and the Caribbean Revolutionary Imaginary, 1959-1983
My dissertation examines the relationship between Marxism and Black radicalism in the 20th century Caribbean as at times complementary and at times competing models for liberation. Focusing on the contexts of the Cuban Revolution, the Duvalier dictatorship, and decolonization in the Anglophone Caribbean, I explore how these intellectual movements transformed events such as the 1804 Haitian Revolution and 1959 Cuban Revolution into key sites for the projections of particular emancipatory desires. Rather than exploring a single national or linguistic tradition, I aim to trace the fractured dialogues between various parts of the Caribbean that surrounded this process, as a romanticized oppositional ideology in one context could be dominant in another, a lack of translations impeded the exchange of ideas, and state institutions sought to manipulate revolutionary symbols to their own advantage.
Taking Sides: The Effects of Supply and Demand Driven Policies on Parent Decision Making and Education Investment in Brazil
When Democracies Elect Dictators: Motivations for and Impact of the Election of Former Authoritarians in Argentina and Bolivia
Soldiers Now, Citizens Later: Baloch Mercenaries and Bahraini State Formation
National Armies, composed of citizen-soldiers, have been an integral feature of modern nation-states. Recruitment of nationals for state institutions like the army is considered essential for tying together the nation and the state. The nation furnishes state armies with its own nationals, who in their capacity as state-functionaries, often police the nation, as much as fight external wars. Recently though, various states around the world have started employing foreign laborers for positions within critical state institutions like the army. In Bahrain, over 40% of the National Guards are recruited from the Pakistani province of Balochistan. This project asks; how do mercenaries mediate the relationship between state and society? It posits the hypothesis that mercenaries, given their connection to both the place of recruitment and place of deployment, formulate not a binary state-society relationship but a triangulated relation with the mercenary-exporting state as the third coordinate. The research follows Baloch mercenary networks in order to understand 1) how the Bahraini state, through the process of mercenary recruitment, gets woven into political struggles in Pakistan, and 2) how sections of the Bahraini society, due to political maneuvering on the part of Baloch mercenaries, forms bonds with the Pakistani state on the basis of shared sectarian identities. It argues that these two interrelated processes mutually reinforce each other, resulting in state-society aligning along sectarian lines and increasing influence of the Pakistani State. Building on previous professional experience, ethnographic fieldwork, and archival research; the project looks to conduct 14 months of fieldwork in Karachi (Pakistan), Gawadar (Pakistan) and Manama (Bahrain), on the processes and discourses around mercenary recruitment, payment and deployment.
Impacts of Out-bound Marriage Migration on Korean Minority Communities in China
Representing Oil Damages: Evidence, Health, and the Environment in the Ecuadorian Amazon
In 1972, the U.S. based Texaco Corporation began oil production in the upper Amazon, operating for 20 years without any environmental regulations or public health guidelines. The result was the largest and most sustained oil disaster to date, for which damages are now being sought in a class-action lawsuit by the Ecuadorian people. This project examines how damages to health and the environment from oil development in the Ecuadorian Amazon are accounted for and translated into forms of evidence in order to be mobilized and acted upon in scientific, legal, and social arenas. The translation of damages into evidence by lawyers, scientists, advocates, and residents is significant because it is a means for making claims to truth, action, and reality. Over a twelve-month period, I will conduct community-based ethnographic research and document collection in order to investigate how the practices of measurement, documentation, and narration construct the reality of oil damages. This project contributes to anthropological scholarship on disaster and response, and draws on science and technology studies to examine the production of evidence and documentation practices of oil damages. By examining how evidence of oil damages is produced and mobilized in a multi-national case in the Amazon, this project also contributes to public and interdisciplinary academic knowledge about the human and environmental costs of oil development worldwide.