The Collective People's Politics: Mobilization, Radicalization, and Political Change in Argentina (1966-1973)
Narco-rulers and Civilian Choice
The Creation of Local Order: Armed Groups' Strategies and Civilians' Collaboration in Civil Wars
Nations and Migrations in the Pacific: Peruvian Chinese Contributions to Nationalism and Nation-Building in China and Peru
Violence, Fear of Crime and the Transformation of Everyday Life in Monterrey, Mexico
Making Families Through Adoption: Legal Imaginaries and Cross-Class Adoption Practices in Morelos, Mexico
My project explores (1) how new legal initiatives and governmental practices that encourage the “full” adoption of poor children are reconfiguring the relationship of family and state in Mexico; and (2) the ways in which new legal conceptions of kinship reshape or censure other existing informal cross-class adoption practices related to domestic service. With the Mexican state’s adherence to international adoption conventions since the 1980s, and the shift towards the right in Mexican politics since 2000, federal and state-level governments adjusted existing codes starting in 1998, to facilitate the “full adoption” (adopción plena) of poor children. The reforms –which define “full adoption” as the creation of family ties that extinguish all previous kinship of the adopted child-, mark a move away from earlier “simple adoption” laws, which conceived adoption as form of “civil kinship” between two individuals that could be revoked. These previous laws provided tenuous regulation of widespread practices of informal adoption or “entenado”, in which wealthier families took in poor children either as domestic servants or because the mothers of those children worked as servants for the adopting mother. Through ethnographic research with adoptive families and the government agents charged with implementing adoption laws in the central Mexican state of Morelos, this research will provide an account of (1) the legal and administrative structure of adoption and the forms of inclusion and exclusion that they make possible; (2) the manner in which the state’s legal provisions of adoption are interpreted and translated into governmental practices within state agencies in charge of adoptions; and (3) the forms of relatedness that earlier and new adoption laws make possible, paying special attention to forms of belonging and exclusion that are created in different families.
The Empire of Apostles in the Old World and the New: Jesuits in Brazil and India, 1542-1697
The age of discoveries, which conventionally inaugurates the early modern era, begins with the seminal voyages of Christopher Columbus to America in 1492 and Vasco da Gama to India in 1498. The “Indies,” as these newly discovered parts of the world were called, symbolized any place which presented a challenge to Christian missionary activity. Under its framework, India, Brazil, southern Italy and other European regions occupied the same plane. Nonetheless, by the seventeenth century, this dispersive geography of the "Indies" was transformed into a hierarchical framework of global European, Christian empire. This project will trace this historical process through the lives of six Jesuit missionaries: Francis Xavier, Thomas Stephens and Baltasar da Costa in India and Manuel da Nóbrega, José de Anchieta and António Vieira in Brazil. The careers of these Jesuits, spanning the mid-sixteenth to the late seventeenth centuries, frame two key moments of crisis in the Catholic notion of universal Christian empire: the dissolution of the unity of the Church, and the end of Iberian hence Catholic domination of the enterprise of European empire, in the face of Dutch and English imperial ambition. Their lives thus parallel and reflect the arc of the first phase of European imperial enterprise in which the Roman notion of imperium was adapted to include the profession of Christianity as a mark of civility, a project in which the Jesuits played a crucial role. By examining how these three generations of Jesuit missionaries adapted to and were changed by their colonial context, I hope to trace both the development of the role of the “colonial” European and the concomitant evolution of the imaginary of global empire. On the level of methodology, the project also represents an attempt to bridge world history with biography, a resurgent field in the historical profession.
The War Against Trachoma: Ophthalmology between Jews and Arabs, 1914-1973
My dissertation investigates how the ocular disease trachoma became a focal point in reconfiguring notions of “Arab” and “Jew” through bodies, medical practices, scientific discourses, and ethnographic observations in Mandate Palestine and Israel from 1914-1973. Trachoma’s unique etiology and prevalence in Arab and Yemenite Jewish settlements allowed Jewish ophthalmologists in Mandate Palestine to construct it as a marker of severe poverty, cultural backwardness, and the “East.” I argue that the Hadassah Medical Organization therefore launched an intensive “war against trachoma” not only to eradicate the disease, but to culturally differentiate Yemenite Jews from Palestinian Arabs and integrate them into the burgeoning national body. I will explore the socio-medical discourses physicians employed that contributed to the “Arabization” of trachoma; the relationship between Orientalist knowledge and biomedical practice; and how ophthalmologists in private practice produced alternate visions of their relationship to Eastern patients. Rather than only placing my study of Hadassah’s anti-trachoma campaign within a nationalist framework, I am proposing to make comparative Jewish connections between trachoma treatments and discourses in Israel, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. French Jewish philanthropic organizations were all involved in anti-trachoma projects in Jewish communities in North Africa in the 1950s to prepare Jews to immigrate to Israel. Understanding these efforts uncovers transnational histories of public health by placing Middle Eastern Jews within their countries of origin and Israel before and after 1948. I would also like to investigate the legacy of Israel’s ophthalmic expertise within the global context of decolonization. The Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ophthalmology Department became the frontrunner of sub-Saharan African medical relief. I argue that these development projects aligned with previous cultural conceptions about ocular disease.
Networks of Exchange: Propaganda and Information Society in Modern Chinese Literature
Networks of Exchange: Propaganda and Information Society in Modern Chinese Literature
In focusing on the emergence of literary propaganda as a central site of information management, my dissertation will explore the development of a modern, transnational information state in China between 1920 and 1960. Along with news media, literature constituted a crucial vector in states' involvement with information. The confrontation between state institutions devoted to managing information (including both censorship and propaganda) on the one hand, and the urban media environments and readerships on the other, precipitated both new literary sensibilities regarding the production, circulation, and exchange of information, as well as new modes and genres of writing, such as socialist realism and the spy novel. A central figure in the linkage of literature to information is the prolific author, Mao Dun (1896-1981), who throughout his career remained keenly aware of new practices involving information. By examining the institutional backdrop to the production and circulation of the works of Mao Dun and other Chinese authors, as well as two key Japanese propagandists in China, I explore how literature simultaneously engaged in and reflected a new paradigm about knowledge work as both a form of labor and a textual object. Historically, such literature represented negotiations between new figures of information labor, embodied by the propagandist working for the Nationalist government’s Propaganda Bureau, the official censor, or the Japanese authors (J: jugun sakka; C: congjun zuojia) embedded within the imperialist occupying forces in the Chinese mainland. By identifying and following the emergence of information-related practices in modern Chinese propaganda literature, my research will combine disciplines of institutional and sociological historiography, close textual analysis, and new media and print culture studies to contribute to our understanding of the development of a Chinese information state.
"Socialism of Sentiment": Culture, Progress and Community in the Early Romanian Left (1870-1914)
My dissertation questions the traditional assumption of the absence of an indigenous socialist tradition in Romania prior to the Soviet takeover in 1944 by exploring the cultural and intellectual history of early socialism in Romania between 1870 and 1914. Moving away from the unimpressive political and institutional history of Romanian socialism, I argue that this period witnessed the emergence of an influential leftist intellectual tradition, particularly visible in the fields of literary criticism and the popularization of science. Examining left-leaning periodicals, brochures, lectures, literary and theoretical studies and archival sources, my project will reconstruct the cultural and educational agenda of Romanian socialist intellectuals and explore its dynamics, reception and legacy. In the process, by applying contemporary theories of “cultural transfer” and the “circulation of knowledge”, I will show that Romanian socialists belonged to a broader transnational movement and question the status of the Balkans as a periphery. While recovering the works of major Marxist critics absent from the Western canon, I will explore the significance of this unusual debut of socialism in Romania for the understanding of the shape and meaning of socialism in general and in the Balkans in particular. In addition, using intellectuals and their cultural pursuits as a lens for the reassessment of socialism will provide new insights into the relation between socialism and nationalism and capture the complexity of the initial encounter with socialism, characterized simultaneously by ideological ambiguity, ethical idealism and unlimited faith in science and progress.
Vehicle of Progress: The Santiago Metro and the Techno-Politics of Military Rule in Chile, 1965–1990
My dissertation is a history of the Santiago metro system in the context of changing techno-political regimes in Chile. My central question is why public transportation became a shared concern among diverse actors between 1965 and 1990 and how their proposals changed over time. Planning for the metro began in 1965, during a period of democratic state-led development under President Eduardo Frei. Transnational from the start, the metro united Chilean engineering with French technology, funding, and expertise. Construction proceeded during the democratic socialist government of Salvador Allende. After the 1973 coup that ousted Allende, the military junta continued to support the project, as did the French funders and consultants. Both before and after the coup, metro planners made claims for the project's importance in terms of apolitical technical criteria. The first metro line opened in 1975, the year that the neoliberal "Chicago Boys" began to occupy influential positions in the new government. Amid a climate of economic austerity and boom and bust cycles, construction proceeded slowly throughout the 1970s and 1980s. My research ends in 1990, just after the metro was converted to a state-owned corporation, and as the dictatorship came to an end. Given this shifting political terrain, why did the metro remain a viable project? What social and political work did the technocratic discourse of metro planners accomplish? My research examines collaboration and conflict between Chilean and French professionals, state agencies and private businesses, technological experts and users, and planners and urban residents. Cutting across democratic and authoritarian periods, this project illuminates degrees of continuity and discontinuity in Chilean state formation. At the same time, it historicizes contemporary debates about the role of the state in providing transportation as a public good.
Representing the Resistance: Narratives of Rebellious Koreans in Taisho Japan
Crack e AIDS: Qual a Resposta do Estado Brasileiro?
Return, Rediscovery, Resistance: Overseas Korean Adoptees in Korea
Keeping the Faith: Maliki Fuqaha, the Almoravid Dynasty, and the Sunnization of North Africa c. 1000 -1150 CE
This dissertation asks "how did North Africa become the heartland of Maliki Sunni Islam that it is today" and argues that the transformation of the region came about due to the Almoravid dynasty (1048-1149), an Amazigh (Berber) dynasty that rose to power via Sunni Islam. My doctoral dissertation will directly challenge contemporary scholarly beliefs regarding the unimportance of the medieval North African Muslim community by mapping out the extensive connections North African fuqaha' (religious scholars) had with their eastern brethren and how these scholars gave rise to the Almoravid Dynasty (1048-1149 CE). This dynasty from the Sahara promoted the orthodox Maliki madhab (school) of Sunni Islam throughout North Africa which led to the school's dominance in the region to the present day. My dissertation will reconsider the historical and religious significance of the Almoravids in several key ways. First, I will investigate the religious landscape of North Africa and the development of Sunni Islam prior to the eleventh century, especially the region's transformation from a Late Antique Christian society to an Islamic society heavily influenced by tribal loyalties and Arabization; second, my work will reveal the symbiotic relationship between the fuqaha' and the dynasty throughout the period, and will lead to a revision of the established narrative which argues that ties between the Almoravids and the Maliki fuqaha' only appeared during the reign of 'Ali ibn Yusuf (1106-1143) ; and third, I will chart the growth and expansion of the fuqaha's network in North Africa to the territorial expansion of the dynasty in order to provide the first visual map of the expansion of Maliki Sunni Islam in the region.
Constructing Identity through Liturgy: Devotion to the Saints in Medieval Aquitaine
The formation of communal identity has long been a topic of interest to scholars in a variety of disciplines. My dissertation investigates this issue from a new perspective through my examination of the construction of identity at three musical and ecclesiastical centers in medieval Aquitaine: the cathedrals of Saint-Étienne in Toulouse, Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur in Narbonne, and Saint-Trophime in Arles. Using these case studies, I argue that the music, texts, and ritual actions of the liturgy were a critical element in forming communal identity in the Middle Ages. The impact of liturgies for the saints was particularly strong on the construction of identity because clerics often created their own, local rites in order to obtain the protection of these holy men and women against perceived threats, such as disputes with secular rulers or the perceived incursion of heresy. My project focuses on liturgies for the patron saint and the founder-bishop at Saint-Étienne, Saint-Just, and Saint-Trophime because the choice of a patron and the transmission of foundation legends were also a fundamental expression of the identity of a community, revealing how the clerics sought to position themselves in relation to their political neighbors and the larger Christian world. Sanctoral liturgies were created for use in a particular space, so in addition to analyzing liturgical music and texts my study examines the architecture and sculpture of the aforementioned sites. I focus on what the building programs reveal about the performance of liturgy at each locale and how these choices reinforced or sought to change the historical identity of the community. Although my work focuses on clerical communities in medieval Aquitaine, the implications of my interdisciplinary approach are much broader, providing a means toward a deeper understanding of the construction of identity in religious institutions throughout Latin Christendom in the Middle Ages.
The Social and Economic Causes of Crime in Mexico in the 1990s and its Consequences
Coca Nation: The Protean Politics of the Coca Leaf in Bolivian Nationalism (1900 – 1961)
This dissertation is a cultural history of the development, in the twentieth century, of Bolivian coca politics in relation to U.S.-led international anti-narcotics regimes. It investigates the processes through which Bolivians constructed- or reconstructed- coca as an indigenous drug. Challenging essentialist notions of coca as embodying autochthonous Andean culture, my research examines the roles of a broad array of Bolivia's social groups, including but not limited to Indians, in the formation of the cultural politics of the leaf. In order to trace the processes through which coca emerged as a symbol of Bolivian nationalism, I pursue five primary lines of research. These include the development of Bolivian Creole indigenismo, medical and pharmacological modernization, positivist criminology, urban popular and worker culture, and international drug diplomacy. From the point of view of Creoles,I investigate the formation of ambivalent ideas about coca and indigeneity at the intersection of transnational discourses of medicine, criminology, and modernization. I also examine Indian engagement with, and resistance to, Creole efforts to define and regulate coca. Additionally, I examine the entrance of coca into the popular culture of urban mestizos. From a transnational perspective, I consider not only Bolivian geo-politics of drug interdiction, and the impacts thereof, but also the engagement of Bolivians with international discourses on the meanings of both drugs and indigeneity.
Constructing Coca: A History of Bolivian Coca Nationalism and the War on Drugs (1920 – 2000)
The Politics of the Income Tax in Postwar Japan: A Historical Institutionalist Approach
Local Renewal or Provincial Relapse? Networks of Informal Governance in Post-Socialist Russia
Sounding the Nation: Cassettes, Culture, and Everyday Life in Modern Egypt (1970-2010)
In the 1970s, blaring cassette tapes became an integral component of Egypt's soundscape. Unlike state-controlled Egyptian radio, cassette technology allowed millions of people to participate regularly in a dynamic culture molded by the masses. For the first time in Egypt's history, ordinary Egyptians – no longer simply listeners – created, distributed, and absorbed an unprecedented array of auditory material that circumvented cultural gatekeepers, challenged the state's monopoly on cultural production, and contributed to changing notions of "Egyptianness". Through an interdisciplinary analysis of the production, circulation, and consumption of cassettes from 1970 through 2010, I will construct a sensory history of this overlooked medium that enriches "bottom-up" and "top-down" approaches to cultural production by bringing into conversation "high" and "low" culture, the sacred and the profane, colloquial and classical Arabic, producers and consumers, and the urban and the rural. Drawing on audio, textual, and visual sources, I explore the structures, actors, and discourses central to Egypt's cassette culture and unpack the complex relationship between cassettes, radio, and records. I make three interventions in the study of modern Egypt. First, I reorient the historiography, which is characterized by excessive attention to the visual, completely overshadowing the aural. Second, I engage discussions of Arab mass media and Egypt's expressive culture, which are often limited to state-sanctioned musicians and adopt Islam as an analytical lens. Third, I complicate narratives of national identity that rely on the writings of society's elites to explicate the making of Egyptians. Positioned at the crossroads of social history, cultural anthropology, and sound and technology studies, this dissertation promises to make a critical contribution to both Egyptian historiography and broader discussions about sensory histories, popular culture, and technopolitics.
Comparative Perspectives on Postwar Systems of Industrial Relations
Producing Space, Constructing Identities: Urban Planning in São Paulo, 1938-1972
In the shadow of a Shinto torii gate in São Paulo's "Japanese" neighborhood sits the city's oldest "African" slave cemetery. Scholars have shown that urban spaces like these both reflect and help to construct cultural identities, but we know less about the range of social and spatial actors who do the constructing. My research examines how official urban planners (employed by state or development institutions) and unofficial urban planners (local residents) gave meaning to racial/ethnic identities by creating, inhabiting, and modifying spaces in mid-twentieth-century São Paulo. Official planners' urban renewal projects in the late 1930s widened avenues, demolished homes, and raised property values in center-city neighborhoods like Bixiga and Liberdade. Displaced residents migrated to cheap lands on the urban periphery and built new neighborhoods like Brasilândia independent of official planners. These related official and unofficial planning activities occurred in neighborhoods that became racialized/ethnicized in the decades following as "Japanese" Liberdade, "Italian" Bixiga, and "African" Brasilândia. Employing historical geographic information systems (HGIS), oral history, and archival analysis, my research endeavors to uncover the array of official and unofficial planning practices that contributed to the making and cultural marking of these neighborhoods. São Paulo's diverse population and polarized development patterns make it an auspicious site for tracing broad participation in the co-production of cities and cultural identities. By bringing a novel conception of planning as a set of practices to an apt historical case, my work challenges the formal/informal dichotomy in urban studies and elucidates the underappreciated relationship between urban planning and culture over time.