Will Japanese Become an International Language?
Negotiating 'Culture' in a Cosmopolitanism Capital: Urban Style, and the Tanzanian State in Colonial and Postcolonial Dar es Salaam
The Making of Acapulco: People, Land and the State in the Development of the "Mexican Riviera", 1927-1973
Taarab Music and the Politics of Ethnic Identity in Mombasa, Kenya
Trilateralism in the U.S.-Japan-China Security Relationship
The Search for the Straight Path: Islamic Reform and Regional Change in Algeria, Senegal, and Mali in the Twentieth Century
My dissertation examines the expansion of Salafi Islam in North and West Africa, particularly the important but understudied ideological and personal ties between reformist Muslims in Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. Beginning in the early 1950s, West African Muslims from what are today Senegal and Mali traveled to Algeria to study at schools run by the Algerian Association of Muslim 'Ulama (AUMA). These men chafed at the power and practices of Sufi leaders, and the education they received in Algeria -- which emphasized the teaching of Arabic, modernization of what Salafi thinkers decried as outmoded forms of Islamic education, and purification of allegedly heretical practices – had a dramatic impact on their trajectories. They returned home in 1953 and established the Union Culturelle Musulmane (UCM), which spread throughout West Africa and became the most important reformist organization in the region. The UCM followed the AUMA's model for educational and spiritual reform as well as its engagement with colonial politics. Like the AUMA, the UCM sought to carve out space for reformist religious authorities and encourage the creation of a new identity, one of an educated African Muslim tied to the Arabophone Muslim world. And on both sides of the Sahara, this project and exchanges between North and West African reformists continued long after independence to shape Islamic identities and politics, social life, and the public sphere. This dissertation researches the doctrinal and political connections between the UCM and the AUMA as well as how the UCM appealed to local Muslims in Senegal and Mali. I then turn to the postcolonial period, to understand how former AUMA and UCM members stayed in contact, the networks that brought West Africans to study in Algerian Islamic institutes, and how these interactions shaped Islamic practice on both sides of the Sahara in a regional context that colonial and later scholarly geographic divisions have obscured.
The Two Tea Countries: World Competition and Agrarian Labor in Northeast India and South China, 1839-1911
My dissertation is a comparative social history of agrarian labor in the tea regions of northeast India and south China in the late nineteenth century. Starting in the 1850s, increased world access to tea ignited a period of intense competition led by the two regions, during which world sales soared exponentially. As a result, hundreds of thousands of workers were enlisted by both foreign and native brokers to grow, process and pack tea for overseas consumers. I analyze this process of labor mobilization by looking at how new trade networks were established, how new mobilization practices were introduced, and how new concepts of political economy, such as free trade and the category of labor as a commodity, emerged in the writings of those connected to the trade. I am conducting research in two parts. In China this year, I am looking at fieldwork surveys, merchant correspondence, family genealogies and contracts. With the support of an SSRC grant, I will travel to London and India, where I will look at records on labor migration, annual reports on the Indian industry, company papers, and the writings of industry critics. Through this comparative study, the first of its kind, I build upon past approaches to the study of tea. Using assumptions based upon divergent trade statistics, scholars have traditionally represented the China trade as outdated, undeveloped agrarian production, contrasted against the colonial efficiency of the Indian plantation. But the reality was more complicated. Both "tea countries" shared in common a reliance upon informal networks of middlemen and brokers and also political economic debates tied to the development of labor markets. Ultimately, I show that these regions should be seen as connected through processes of competition, and their divergence analyzed as part of a larger phenomenon of economic unevenness. Thus, although I focus on tea, my study has wider implications for the study of local labor processes embedded in world markets.
Imperial Confrontation or Frontier Cooperation? Population Movements and Ottoman and Russian Migration Management Policies in the Black Sea Region, 1768-1829
The Politics of Social Policy Reform in Eastern Europe
'Culture' in Bengal, 1870s to 1920s: The Historical Genesis of an Ambivalent Concept
Cross-National Comparisons of the Effects of Social Support on Depressive Symptoms among Older Women and Men in the U.S. and Japan
Competitive Collaboration: Forging Global Corporate Political Economy, 1600-1730
How, in the seventeenth century, did the rival Dutch (VOC) and English (EIC) East India Companies forge a shared corporate political economy that transcended national political and economic frameworks? In pursuit of this question, my dissertation analyzes company, state and personal records, focusing on the interactions between the agents of both companies. This project advances two primary interventions: (1) that, in a time known for the rise of mercantilism, the VOC and EIC acted as corporate bodies apart from, but related to their home states; and (2) that these corporations forged a relationship with each other in a complicated network of competition and collaboration that developed over the course of the seventeenth century. The competing firms targeted one another with intensive information gathering operations and they emulated each other's successful strategies. The diverse political and economic institutional ecologies of the states and empires throughout early modern Europe and Asia would all come to both define and be defined by this developing corporate organization. Employing methodologies from economic and political history as well as economic sociology and political science, this project addresses several critical inquiries. How did the communication networks and strategies of both firms involve an exchange of cultural, economic, and political ideas? How do we understand corporate as well as international conflict, including transnational trade, the law of nations, and the ways in which economic concepts were formed? How can corporate competition, itself, engender a set of common languages and ideas that create political economy? My dissertation introduces a non-state global institution to early modern economic and political history, long dominated by naturalized national categories. Simultaneously, this project contributes a new historical framework to the modern concept of multinational corporate organization and international law.
Smuggling Across the Soviet Borders: Contraband Trade and the Struggle Against It, 1918-1933
Economic Reform and Voting Behaviour in Latin America
An Environmental History of Russian and Soviet Modernization Efforts, 1861-1941
This project will offer an ecological interpretation of modernization efforts in late imperial Russia and the early Soviet Union. It will examine physical landscapes, interactions between humans and the environment, and conceptions of nature in order to enlighten our understanding of Russian and Soviet environmental history during a period of major economic, social, and political change. In order to interrogate how agricultural and industrial projects affected humans and the natural world, this dissertation will entail a comparative case study involving three diverse regions and different branches of economic change in them: forestry in the Moscow Province, animal husbandry in the Orenburg region, and metal and chemical production on the Kola Peninsula. The research will include analysis of geographical scholarship, local newspapers, regional literature, diaries, memoirs, and archival documentation pertaining to each local industry. Through the combination of focusing on material changes in the environment and transformed human/nature interaction and on a cultural examination of different peoples’ understanding of the natural world, this project will point to new ways to think about modernity and modernization. Specifically, an ecological interpretation will scrutinize the impact of the ideology of Russian “backwardness” and compare the treatment of the natural world under different political regimes.
Reviving Falsafah: Philosophy, Islam and the Making of the Modern Humanities in Twentieth-Century Egypt
In the decades before and after World War II, the Islamic philosophical tradition epitomized by the works of Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd and known by the Arabic term 'falsafah' became an object of increasing interest to scholars in Europe, the United States and the Muslim world. Through their collaborative efforts, classical Islamic philosophy came to be widely understood as an integral component of the world philosophical canon, resulting in its incorporation into humanities curricula internationally by the century's end. My dissertation examines the contributions of Arabic-speaking intellectuals to this transnational scholarly enterprise, focusing on a group of Egyptian philosophy professors and their works from the late interwar through post-colonial eras. For these scholars, studying falsafah constituted a revival, as the discipline had been banned in most Arab-Islamic universities since the twelfth century, when Sunni orthodoxy condemned the Muslim philosophers' craft as heresy. From the 1930s through 1960s, newly independent Egypt's first generation of academic philosophers brought falsafah back to Arabic higher education and intellectual culture by building philosophy departments and teaching at national (secular and Islamic) universities, making the falsafah tradition accessible in state archives and annotated volumes, and much more. I examine these scholars' projects through their writings as well as archival records at the primary institutions where they studied, taught and built programs: the Sorbonne, Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque-university, and the Egyptian national universities and archives. Reading their works as key contributions to international debates over Islam, philosophy and their study, I argue that the modern revival of falsafah as a discipline and discourse in Egypt is not an exclusively Arab or Islamic story, but one that connects to and embodies significant changes witnessed internationally in humanities education and research over the post-war era.
Developing Utopias: An Ethnography of Millennium Development
Criminals, Cops and Politicians: The Dynamics of Drug Violence in Colombia and Mexico
Criminals, Cops and Politicians: The Dynamics of Drug Violence in Colombia and Mexico
This project addresses the following question: what explains variations in types and levels of drug violence within countries similarly afflicted by drug trafficking? I tackle this question by comparing four cities that have experienced contrasting patterns of drug violence over the past two decades: Cali and Medellin in Colombia, and Culiacan and Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. These four cities have been home to major drug trafficking organizations throughout the entire study period (1984-2009) and highlight the variation in violence that can occur over time and across the same territory. I hypothesize that the interaction between two variables, the efficiency of law enforcement and patterns of political competition, shapes the incentives and capacities of drug traffickers to employ violence. In this project I will use controlled subnational comparisons and mixed methods research tools which I will develop through fieldwork conducted over the course of a year. I aim to advance the understanding of drug violence devising an analytical framework that bridges three different areas of scholarship: literature on drug trafficking and illicit markets; literature on violence by non state actors; and literature on state-business relations. I will also contribute to the understanding of drug violence by disentangling two dimensions, frequency and visibility, which appear crucial to comprehend how citizens and governments respond to different types of violence. Finally, I will introduce an often overlooked political logic into explanations of drug violence considering how the efficiency of law enforcement and the openness of political competition shape traffickers’ incentives and capacities to employ violence.
Nation, State and Their Traitors: Collaboration Discourse in Post-Liberation North and South Korea, 1945-1950
“Modernized Life is how Things are Now” : A Study of People and Park Relations around Chobe National Park, Botswana
Muslims in the Landscape: A Social Map of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 13th Century
My project seeks to address for the first time how the Muslim communities of the 13th-century Kingdom of Jerusalem experience life under crusader rule. Fleshing out the lives of these subjects is the key to better understanding this important period of history, and will offer insights into the ways in which cultures adapt and adjust to new rulership more broadly. By posing questions concerning the Muslim communities' relations among each other and with other groups, and their roles in political, economic, and cultural life of the kingdom, my research presents a new vantage point from which to consider the popularly accepted notion that the crusades, and by extension the crusader states, were a locus of a monolithic clash of West and East or Christianity and Islam. By untangling the relations between the Muslim communities and their rulers, my work will offer a more fully realized image of a society too multifaceted to be reasonably reduced to a black and white binary opposition. In order to achieve this, I will bring into direct conversation Latin, Old French, and Arabic sources typically used separately from one another as well as consider the role of the physical environment through an incorporation of extent archaeological remains. I will conduct this research while based at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in order to have access to its libraries which contain source editions not readily available elsewhere and to work in consultation with the primary experts in the field. Conducting research in Israel will also grant me critical access to archaeological sites from which I can attempt to reconstruct the daily lived experience of these communities.
Kitchen Affects: Culinary Spaces in Colonial North Africa, 1919-1964
Much more than food was cooking in the kitchens of North Africa's new middle classes during the final decades of colonial rule. Starting with culinary practices and tastes in domestic spaces, my project uses a comparative approach to ground abstract narratives of Egyptian and Moroccan anticolonial nationalism in the concrete formations of domestic food production. Culinary practices and tastes offer insight into how historical narratives of bourgeois class formation might be written, and how those classes' literary production might be read through food's material and affective aspects. Over the first half of the twentieth century, women in colonial Egypt and Morocco increasingly cooked in modern, urban, domestic kitchens. They learned new culinary techniques through mass media (periodicals, radio, television) and state curricula, and cooked with running water and raised stoves. It was in kitchens like these that the culinary styles now labeled "Moroccan cuisine" and "Egyptian cuisine" emerged, comprising techniques and recipes common to the urban middle classes of each nascent nation. Yet despite overlaps in their repertoires of culinary influences (sustained contact with French culture; a shared medieval Arab-Islamic elite cuisine), and the fact that the new kitchens themselves were materially similar, "Moroccan" and "Egyptian" cuisines appear to have startlingly little in common today. Bringing together literary, ethnographic, and historical approaches to texts about these culinary spaces, this project offers a new account of cultural politics and identity formation in colonial North Africa. My sources include novels and memoirs that depict domestic life, cookbooks and home economics texts, periodicals (women's magazines and related content or women's pages in general publications), and archival material related to domestic material culture and girls' education. In addition to literary analysis, ethnographic and historical methods are central to the project.
Gift of Life or Relay of Life: A Contemporary Analysis of Organ Donation/Transplantation Policy, U.S.-Japan