Sarah K. Croucher (Wesleyan University)
In this talk I explore the capitalist landscapes of Zanzibari clove plantations in the late nineteenth century. These were longstanding spaces of capitalist production, founded largely by Omani colonists utilizing enslaved African labor. But by the late nineteenth century British colonial rule was growing on the islands and colonial administrators stationed on the islands continually articulated their desire for an orderly landscape of capitalist production, which in turn would modernize and expand their income from taxation. However, ideas of cadastral survey remained only in the realm of desire. Omani plantation owners had no interest in such cartographic imaginaries, managing to deal with land ownership through radically different ways of understanding the landscape. In exploring British colonial desires I highlight the frail nature of European rule in this context, and the manner in which such desires also help us to understand broader subjectivies of landscapes on nineteenth-century Zanzibar.
*Co-sponsored by the African Studies Center
Laura Kunreuther (Bard College)
In this paper, I explore practices associated with ‘raising voice’ (āwāj uthāune), a discourse that has become prominent in public media and popular speech in Nepal particularly since the democracy movements of 1990 and 2006. Āwāj uthāune clearly resonates with global discourses of the voice as a metonym of political agency, consciousness, and empowerment. But unlike the English term “voice,” āwāj also refers to material, “natural” or “non-human” noise and sounds that fall outside of discourse and sometimes defy intentional meaning. Many examples of ‘raising voice’ that I discuss here entail the broadcast of non-discursive sounds through various media – the FM radio, street protests, performance art. The discourse of āwāj and āwāj uthāune thus asks us to take seriously the connections between political metaphors of voice and the social politics of sound in understanding contemporary political subjectivity within Nepal and beyond its borders. What kinds of sounds do people associate with the notion of ‘raising voice’ and democracy – and what kinds of desires and subjects do these sounds animate? How might we rethink the global metaphor of voice by interrogating it through the concept of āwāj? By focusing on the materiality of the sounds of āwāj uthāune, I argue that sound plays a key role in the affective and embodied dimensions of political subjectivity. Moreover I suggest, sound itself must be recognized as having political dimensions.
Marcia Inhorn (Yale)
Dr. Inhorn will discuss changing expectations of manhood across the region, including men’s desires for love, conjugal commitment, and fatherhood. Dr. Inhorn will highlight the high rates of male infertility across the region, and men’s desires for the latest fertility technologies and treatments.
* Co-sponsored by the Middle East Center
Abigail Bingham (University of Michigan)
High-altitude hypoxia, or the decrease in oxygen levels caused by lowered barometric pressure, challenges the ability of humans to live and reproduce. Human physiological responses to high-altitude have been extensively documented among long-term high-altitude residents (i.e. Andeans and Tibetans). Furthermore, recent research has begun to unravel the genetic bases for the observed physiological traits. Among Andeans, genome scans for natural selection have identified several selection nominated candidate genes or gene regions for high-altitude adaptation. This includes several genes that are part of the hypoxia inducible transcription factor (HIF) pathway involved in oxygen sensing and metabolism as well as genomic regions with previously unknown function with respect to altitude phenotypes. In order to explore selection nominated candidate SNP genotype associations with particular altitude phenotypes, we conducted genotype-phenotype association studies among Peruvian Quechua. Our subject participants included Quechua who were lifelong sea level residents transiently exposed to hypobaric hypoxia and Quechua who were lifelong residents of high-altitude. Significant associations were identified for the higher arterial hemoglobin-oxygen saturation (SaO2) observed at rest and during exercise among Quechua. These results provide key insights into the patterns of genetic adaptation to high altitude in Andean populations, shed light on variants controlling this complex phenotype, and are of potential importance for public health given HIF-pathway involvement with various disease processes, e.g., regulation of tumor growth.
Agustín Fuentes (Notre Dame)
Humans and other primates share space and place across much of the globe; our entangled histories, desires, and ecologies lead to a myriad of relationships, conflicts and communities. Integrating the evolutionary, the ecological, and the ethnographic facilitates a robust anthropology of the Anthropocene–an anthropology that places humans as significant features of local and global ecologies and allows space for other species as agents and co-participants in shaping niches, physiologies and futures.
* Co-sponsored by the Department of Biology and the Department of Psychology
Joseph Alter (University of Pittsburgh)
Although it was invented in Germany in the 19th century, Nature Cure, as a distinct system of medicine, is institutionalized and professionalized in India, where it is now more popular and pervasive than almost anywhere else in the world. This is very odd, for a number of reasons, including the fact that India is the “cultural home” of one of the world’s most popular forms of alternative, holistic therapy ? Ayurveda. One might say, to adapt a vintage colonial phrase, that importing Nature Cure to India was rather like bringing coal to Newcastle: redundant. So what does Nature Cure have to offer that Ayurveda does not? There are many answers to this question, some simple and others more nuanced. But the question itself and the apparent redundancy it bespeaks, highlights some interesting problems in the study of colonialism, power and the body. One of these problems concerns the nature of ecology in relation to health, and the connection between the embodiment of ecology and the affective politics of intimate nationalism. Among other things, this talk examines the embodiment of the feeling of belonging as an expression of desire in the context of nationalist sentiments.
* Co-sponsored by the Department of South Asia Studies
Zane Goebel (La Trobe University, Australia)
12/04/2013 *in Rm 345
In recent years the study of the relationship between talk and the doing of leadership has gained increasing attention from linguistic anthropologists and sociolinguists. Even so, as with much research on organization talk, these studies focus on the micro analysis of situated talk in monolingual, typically ‘English’ speaking settings. In this paper I start to add to this literature by looking at how a boss moves between Indonesian and Javanese to do leadership. My empirical focus will be recordings of meetings made during five months of fieldwork in a government bureau in Semarang in the 2003-2004. I show that while Indonesian is used to do much transactional work (e.g. opening meetings, allocating turns), Javanese does both transactional and relational work (e.g. building and maintaining positive working relationships), often in ways that differ to earlier accounts of Javanese usage. In interpreting this usage I suggest that the use of Javanese fragments – along with other leadership practices – help build debts that need to be repaid, typically by the carrying out of directives and the smooth and effective operation of this bureau.
How do we best see, and say today– in the wake of anthropology’s much storied crisis of representation; attempted corrections following movements of ‘Third World’ peoples, women, and queer folks; the recent disavowal of 1980s and 1990s reflexivity and experimentation; and what Marcus has recently termed a contemporary “crisis of reception.” What sort of moment is this to raise the question of Black/queer desire, in the context of here and there? If, as Tsing contends, transnational “friction… is the grip of a worldly encounter” what happens when we finally encounter the world through a multiply constituted lens of race, gender, nation and sexuality? Black/Queer Here & There presents “a moving picture of a world that doesn’t stand still, that reveals itself (and likewise, individuals who reveal themselves, and change themselves) en route” (Clifford) — showing how a cross-section of Black (and) queer, travelers, artists, intellectuals, political activists, and regular folks imagine and practice ‘here’ and ‘there’ in the Americas. Here we trace and highlight the operations of desire in translocal Black LGBTQ politics and culture — providing new perspectives, which require a re-focusing of social theory, and a re-signification of social/cultural anthropology’s ways of seeing and saying.
Seth Holmes (UC Berkeley)
11/06/2013 *in Rm. 345
Based on five years of research in the field (including berry-picking and traveling with migrants back and forth from Oaxaca up the West Coast), this paper explores how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care. This work analyzes the ways in which socially structured suffering comes to be perceived as normal and natural in society and in health care, especially through imputations of ethnic body difference.
Deborah A. Thomas (Penn)
On 24 May 2010, Jamaican police and military forces entered the community of Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston in order to apprehend Christopher “Dudus” Coke, purported leader of the Shower Posse and “don” of the community, but by the end of the week, Dudus had not yet been found and at least 73 civilians had been killed. Despite the activities of various civil society organizations and the release in April of an interim report by the Public Defender, those who lost their lives have not yet been publicly recognized, and officials and individuals responsible for these deaths have not yet been called to account. Since January this year, I have been working collaboratively on a multi-media installation project designed to provide a platform through which participating Tivoli Gardens and neighboring community members can recount their experiences during May and June 2010, and name and publicly memorialize loved ones they lost. The project is meant to contribute to a healing process in which historical silences are broken through audio and visual forms of storytelling, while also contributing to theoretical analyses of the relationships between spectacular and everyday forms of violence, the production of visual archives, and the gendered dimensions of witnessing.
In this paper, I focus on how bearing witness to state violence can give us windows into the world of the everyday in two senses. First, by listening to people recount what happened to them and what the effects have been, we get a sense of the everyday forms of structural violence that both provide the foundation for the exceptional eruption and shape how they experience aftermaths. And second, we can read between the lines of these kinds of testimonies in order to also understand how people have negotiated processes of governance, histories of simultaneous marginalization and exceptional excellence, and aspirations for themselves and their families. I am particularly interested, here, in the ways attention to the sphere of intimacy – the small, domestic, pedestrian stories – both gives us a window into the gendered dimensions of spectacular and structural violence, and produces particular desires related to social and political life.