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- ItemA Truth with Points of View(2001) Leuschke, KateMy fieldwork in Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas, Mexico forms the base of this text which focuses on the production of ethnographic life histories. Several excerpts from my fieldnotes are included and analyzed through traditional anthropological and literature lenses. I look at the way life histories are related to the Crisis of Representation in anthropology, to linguistics, feminism, and autoethnography. Using my own work and the published life histories of Oscar Lewis, R.M. Keesing, Vincent Crapanzano, Elisabeth Burgos-Deray, and Ruth Behar, I claim that the model of a reader-author contract from literature studies can illuminate the processes involved in the production of an ethnographic life history. This contract must be extended to take into account the agency of the subject of the life history. I examine various aspects of the contract itself, manipulations of both the form and the content of a text which represents the encounter between the anthropologist and the subject. I claim that the primary way readers are able to engage with a text is through a sense of empathy and identification with one of the "characters." This identification can allow the reader to feel that they are part of an unmediated dialogue with the subject because they inhabit the character of the anthropologist. I call attention to the problems with this assumption and the ambiguous nature of identification as a tool of interpretation. Finally, I argue that identification and therefore other basic tenets of the reader-author-subject contract must be renegotiated in order to allow conversation to occur on equal terms between subject, anthropologist and reader of life histories.
- ItemEducating for social justice? : hierarchy and principles of equality in the staff experience at an elite Quaker school(2003) Stevens, GingerThis paper is an appeal to Haverford College to live the Quaker social justice values it professes. I outline contradictions between the college's statements of its Quaker egalitarian principles and the inequalities described to me by staff members during months of fieldwork conversations. I argue that Haverford currently fails to practice social justice because it does not account for the economic and cultural hierarchies that undermine its Quaker principles. These hierarchies pull staff, students, faculty, and administrators apart and prevent the attainment of the college's Quaker 'community' ideals. Although the college claims to educate for 'social justice,' it fails to apply these principles to inequalities on its own campus. The exclusion of the staff experience from its pedagogy of 'social justice' leads me to argue that the college has failed to meet its educational goals as well. My analysis draws on the theories of Karl Marx and Pierre Bourdieu to describe hierarchies of economic and cultural capital within a framework of social change. A key theoretical concept is my adaptation of Bourdieu's habitus to propose a theory of transformative education for 'social justice.' I urge Haverford's administration to support staff-student interactions. These relationships are the key to strengthen the campus community and to build a 'social justice' habitus to meet the college's Quaker ideals.
- ItemExperiential blues identity : analyzing racial categories of difference in a Philadelphia blues club(2003) Edmundson, Kate; Ngwane, ZolaniThe individual's proper experience of blues music and other 'African American' music according to his or her race has been the subject of a controversial 20th century debate. The black arts movement of the 1960s gave impetus to the popular black nationalistic notion that blues music belongs exclusively to African Americans. Subsequent anti-essentialist and pluralistic theories have problematized the black essentialist notion of racial ownership of music. The work presented below, an ethnographic study of Warmdaddy's in Philadelphia examines two evenings of blues culture at that blues club. My findings indicate that neither of the traditional poles of the black music debate, essentialism and anti-essentialism, adequately describes the experience of blues music for Blacks and Whites who participate in it.
- ItemBoners and twats : sexual discourse and political pedagogy in a sex education classroom(2004) Marshall, Tatiana; Gillette, MarisMichel Foucault's work The History of Sexuality deconstructs discourse on sexuality and how this discourse affects constructions of sexuality. Based on my own fieldwork in an all male sex education classroom, I examine one teacher's different teaching methods through the framework of sex education researcher Sue Lees' three political stances of teaching sex education: conservative, liberal, and feminist. I also examine the teacher's use of media and sports in the classroom, connecting his lesson plans to John Dewey's educational philosophy, which focuses on the primacy of the students' classroom experience. With this analysis and Foucault's direction, I examine how sexuality is created in the classroom through educator's pedagogical methods. Included is a history of sex education in the United States and an annotated bibliography.
- ItemBullet on the Charts: Beef, the Media Industry and Rap Music in America(2005) Sweet, Eli"What's beef?" This question, posed by rap legend Biggie Smalls shortly before his death in 1997, is more relevant today than ever--not only within the esoteric discourse of the hip hop community, but also, increasingly, within the American economy and cultural landscape. The short answer is simple--beef is a type of conflict between rappers, most clearly manifested in songs degrading one another. In actuality however, beef is something much more subtle and complex. Beef is a discourse between people and composed of an assemblage of texts--texts that are often mistaken for the beef itself. Beef is a plastic concept; its definition and significance have evolved with the changing role of the media industry in hip-hop music, and with the increasing use of the term beef to describe various scenarios. Within the hip hop community there are many different opinions about beef, often expressed through the discourse of beef itself. The experience of beef through a hip hop text is subjective and often detached from the structural context. My technique is to examine the various texts that make up beefs--songs, articles, interviews, and fan commentary, to find how the discourse connects various agents. My informants are rappers, journalists, DJ's, and hip hop fans, experts on beef. Yet they experience beef in contradictory ways. I would like to understand the role that each of these actors play in the discourse, how they experience beef from each perspective, and finally, how their participation signifies their awareness of their position within the discourse. I predominantly look at the way that rappers signify themselves with respect to beef, its history and values, as well as the material relations in which the discourse is embedded. This is complicated by the politics of the music industry and the history of hip hop music in America.
- ItemA Question of Life, A Sentence of Death : Analysis of the Empowerment Discourse for HIV/AIDS in Guatemala City(2006) Leitner-Laserna, Liliana; Porter, Judith; Ngwane, ZolaniIn this thesis, I examine the ways in which the term “empowerment” (empoderamiento) is conceptualized and utilized by various actors in the HIV/AIDS community in Guatemala City. My desire to explore this theme stems from the participant-observation I conducted in a Médecins Sans Frontiéres HIV/AIDS clinic from March-August 2004. In my thesis I analyze the various discourses emerging around this word, its evolution/development in different spheres and people, and its deployment and appropriation by various individuals. Utilizing interview data from fieldwork conducted in December 2005, I use two analytical methodologies to investigate the discourses that healthcare providers and patients present regarding the notion of “empowerment.” The first analysis uses a coding model both to characterize the nature of the discourses, uncovering trends between patients and providers, and to compare these discourses to the First World’s articulation of the word empowerment (using World Bank’s definition). The second analysis utilizes a case study of a patient/ provider to explore the complexities of adopting a First World discourse. Here I demonstrate that attempts to “localize” the concept of empowerment is limited to translating the word linguistically and to using local people to promote its use. I argue that attempts to promote First World discourses indeed fail to instill a true local empowerment because the underlying ideological presuppositions in the term “empowerment” leaves no room for local understandings. Such a pattern proves to be unsustainable and ineffective to promote true grassroots empowerment. Hence in this thesis I propose that the World Bank changes its current day definition of empowerment in order to frame development programs directly from local people’s epistemology.
- ItemAffinity Groups: Commonality in Diversity(2006) Shookhoff, Alexandra; Gillette, MarisOver the past 40 years, student ethnic organizations have become widespread at institutions of higher learning, yet very little anthropological literature has examined ethnic identity in an educational context. In this work, I investigate the maintenance of cohesion within these organizations. Their very existence seems to assume a certain amount of commonality among members, yet, in reality, students come from exceptionally diverse backgrounds and experiences. I attempt to examine how groups negotiate their differences in order to create a common identity. Student ethnic organizations (or Affinity Groups as they are called at Haverford College, the locus for my fieldwork) first came into existence in the early ’60s and late ’70s. Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, students created Affinity Groups as a political weapon to bring equality to their colleges and universities. Over time, these organizations have expanded their roles to encompass one or more of four purposes: one, refuge from the mainstream community; two, cultural emissary; three, provision of academic aid; four, source of social activism. I conducted my fieldwork at Haverford College, where I joined three Affinity Groups: Alliance of Latin American Students (ALAS), Asian Student Association (ASA), and Black Students League (BSL). I attended meetings and activities sponsored by the groups and conducted interviews with club members as well as faculty and administration. Several theoretical approaches to ethnicity influenced my analysis of these groups. Barth’s theory of boundary maintenance, referred to as circumstantialist, helped frame how groups distinguish themselves from the rest of the college community. Primordialist theory, which claims an intrinsic attachment among members of the same ethnic group, and instrumentalist theory, which posits that ethnic groups are formed out of utility to create effective political weapons, both aided my understanding of how members found commonality within their groups. I found that each Affinity Group took a different approach to forming a shared ethnic identity. This suggests that one theory of ethnicity is not sufficient for all circumstances. Instead, we must develop an approach that considers the social, political, and historical contexts of each ethnic group.
- Item‘Reversion’ to Islam: A study of racial and spiritual empowerment among African-American Muslims(2007) Slutzky, Shana; Gillette, MarisAfrican Americans have historically turned to Islam, and continue to do so, in larger numbers than other Americans. This project details the history of African-American Islam, and ethnographically explores contemporary attitudes of practicing black Sunni Muslims, in order to understand particular aspects of Islam that appeal to black Americans. This thesis focuses on the concept of “reversion” rather than “conversion,” as the choice to practice Islam is viewed by many black Muslims as a symbolic “return to roots” and reconnection to pre-slavery ties to Islam. I argue that this concept of reconnection, among other aspects of Sunni Islam, illustrates the religious empowerment that Islam has provided to African-American Muslims over and above other religions.
- ItemPrimitivism, Transgression, and other Myths: The Philosophical Anthropology of Georges Bataille(2007) Fechter, John; Hart, Laurie Kain; Wright, Kathleen, 1944-This essay reviews some of the anthropological theories and ethnographic interpretations offered to us by the 20th Century French writer and philosopher Georges Bataille. As a writer, Bataille is both the product of his own historical environment as well as the object of intense contemporary philosophical and literary reappropriation by others; at the same time, however, he is also a writer whose own original philosophy has helped shape the boundaries of these same disciplines. Accordingly, an introductory section sets this scene for Bataille’s ideas about societies both “primitive” and modern. At the beginning of his philosophical career, Bataille shifts from an interest in the cultural impurities of sacrificial or primitive behaviors to a more abstract philosophy of "the sacred" or "the primitive" as an element of all social life. As such Bataille has become an attractively transgressive writer for contemporary scholars. A second section examines the mythical quality of Bataille’s writings on prehistoric origins, arguing that his need for origin myths is shared by the anthropology with which Bataille was engaged. A third section looks more closely at examples from so-called primitive societies in Bataille’s work The Accursed Share, arguing that these examples fill a problematic gap in his theory between myth-like natural and cultural origins. A short concluding section finds that Bataille’s orientation has much in common with his contemporary anthropologists, but that Bataille's philosophy will mean that he must ultimately depart from an empirical examination of other societies.
- ItemPostcards of Us: Moroccan Textiles on the Global Market(2007) Hartman, Sarah; Hart, Laurie KainPostcards of Us: Moroccan Textiles on the Global Market explores the experiences of the Women’s Weaving Cooperative of Tarmilat, Morocco as it engages with the global market for artisan crafts. The nature of the global market is that of interconnectedness between producers and consumers who are vastly separated by differences in geography, nationality, language, class, education, culture, and role in the market. “Place: National and Local Contexts” discusses the embeddedness of informal settlements like Tarmilat in local, regional, national, and international power structures, capital flows, and responses to economic globalization. Tarmilat is one of countless communities throughout the world whose informality separates them from the State-sponsored benefits of citizenship, including infrastructural development and protection under the law. This transnational grouping of people is known as the Fourth World. “Power, Dependency, Autonomy” outlines the history of the Women’s Weaving Cooperative in Tarmilat and suggests an analysis of the intertwined nature of charity and dependency in contemporary development initiatives. Charity-as-development generates relationships of dependency between developing communities and sources of First World charity. These relationships of dependency in development initiatives threaten the sustainability of development projects and serve to legitimize the systems of power that many of these initiatives strive to dismantle. “The Work of Weaving” unpacks the local social implications of the Women’s Weaving Cooperative and describes the place of the cooperative in the lives of cooperative members and in the social life of the Tarmilat community. The economic mode of the Women’s Weaving Cooperative represents a counter-hegemonic model for development in a global capitalist system. “Global Contact” analyzes the role of First World consumers in the lived realities of producers in the developing world and describes interactions between the Women’s Weaving Cooperative and tourists who visit Tarmilat. Cooperative members construct an estranged intimacy with a network of tourist visitors and First World consumers. At its conclusion, Postcards of Us approaches a critique of contemporary development discourses and their relationship to hegemonic global capitalism, suggesting revisions to intellectual discussions of development and challenging individuals to think critically about their role in the global market.
- ItemReplacing the Mountain: Contested Aesthetics and the Hegemony of Value in the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields(2008) Chao, Corey; Hart, Laurie KainI argue that competing understandings and articulations of land value surround surface mining and reclamation projects in the Central Appalachian coalfields, and that those articulations involving "profit," "development," and "modernity" are disproportionately supported and expressed by government officials, wealthy landowners, and coal companies. The emphasis by such powerful actors on these forms of land value reinforces a logic that poses current forms of "economic development" as legitimate and universally beneficial (if not essential) uses of land, no matter how unequally the economic benefits or the lived side-effects of this particular "development" process are distributed. The reclamation sites around which I focused my fieldwork both exemplify current understandings of this logic of "development" and reveal where and how it is contested. The visibility of particular benefits—such as creation of jobs, access to new goods and services, etc—the prevalence of the symbols of dereliction and prosperity, and the relative invisibility of unreclaimed land, active operations, and their detrimental side effects create an uneasy consent among the majority of the region's residents. Surface mining and reclamation politics reinforce existing power inequalities by favoring the system of value which holds profit and environmental exploitation at its heart.
- ItemIs Women’s Rugby Culture being Sacrificed for the Professionalization of the Sport? An Ethnographic Study of the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Women’s Rugby Team(2008) Dybbro, Micaela; Gillette, MarisThis ethnographic thesis investigates collegiate women’s rugby and the conflict between the ‘cultural ideology’ surrounding the sport and a current drive towards what I term a ‘professionalization’ of women’s rugby. The focus of the thesis is on the Bryn Mawr-Haverford women’s rugby team, a bi-college team comprised of women from both college campuses. One side on the debate on the future of women’s rugby in the United States advocates a more professionalized image of the sport. The organization, USA Rugby, for example, is pushing for varsity status for collegiate club teams. In this way, they hope to achieve a more ‘legitimate’ image that will help raise funding opportunities and increase competitiveness among US teams. However, rugby’s historical status as a marginalized sport and its strong ties to an alternative rugby culture result in a strong resistance to professionalization. On the Bryn Mawr-Haverford team, changes in recent years have led to what I describe as a more ‘heterosexual’ and ‘mainstream’ image. In the past, the team has also been perceived as less legitimate than other sports at Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Moving away from an aggressively alternative team identity associated with lesbianism, rowdiness, hard partying, and open sexuality has helped the team become more integrated into the athletic environment at Bryn Mawr. However, this professionalization of the team image has also been at the expense of traditional rugby culture.
- Item‘Overworked and Underpaid’ : Low-level Bureaucrats and the Politics of Neoliberal Food Assistance Administration.(2010) Tung, Diana; Hart, Laurie Kain; Shipley, JesseIn this essay I examine how neoliberalism, in the form of revitalized market-based ideologies and policies, impact the ways in which low-level bureaucrats deliver food assistance policies to their low-income clients. The justification of government retrenchment and devolution in the post-Welfare Reform era can be seen as a convergence of pre-existing ideologies, such as individual responsibility and historical racial/ethnic prejudices. Neoliberalism promotes policies that mandate stringent eligibility criteria for clients to separate the "deserving" from the "undeserving" poor, and to transform citizens into economic actors. Neoliberalism also promotes the cutting back of administrative budgets, which inadvertently creates systematically overworked caseworkers. The bureaucrat, operating within this framework, enacts the neoliberal project through implementing official policies that craft citizens into economic "subjects of value," and utilizing "bureaucratic disentitlement" to de-incentivize clients from accessing food stamps. I demonstrate how the configuration of these elements serves to manage poverty and food insecurity, rather than work toward their eradication. Ultimately, these processes further perpetuate conditions of poverty, rather than address their root causes.
- ItemListening to Lives: Narratives of the Elderly in South Philadelphia(2011) Svokos, Elizabeth; Gillette, MarisListening to Lives is a study of the narratives of the elderly in an old age apartment complex in South Philadelphia. Using the literature of key anthropologists on narratives and old age, I identified common themes throughout the narratives I collected in Mt. Sinai apartment complex and used those themes to illuminate the ways in which an individual views and constructs his or her life through narrative. With recorded individual interviews, as well as participant observation--playing bingo, chatting with groups of residents, attending parties--I was able to compile the various components of the personalities and lives of my informants in order to shape a more cohesive analysis.
- ItemLearning to walk: Recalling an African-Brazilian past through the game of Capoeira(2011) Ray, Taylor; Shipley, JesseThis paper is a brief representation of a Capoeira Angola class in North Philadelphia. Through field-work involving observation and participation, I have been able to present the stories of the different members of the class. I have framed their thoughts within the literature I found to be most relevant for this study. My work has focused on ideas of pedagogy and embodiment as a way to determine how Capoeira is understood (or not) by the members of the group, and the way that it is mimicked as a cultural practice. I am interested in why students choose to take the class (and continue to come), as well as how they interpret the knowledge they are given by our instructor. These ideas provide a detailed inquiry of the Capoeira group and tell us something greater about memory, relevance, and transformation of cultural practices.
- ItemBeyond the Point: Dislocation, Marginality, and Survival Among City-Dwelling and Long-Term Drug Users(2011) Gilroy, Laura; Hart, Laurie KainThis paper is a cross-cultural and socio-historical comment on the experience of long-term drug addiction, and the ways in which social agents and social forces shape that experience. It is based on a 6+ month ethnography based in two harm reduction community centers located in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Primarily, it is a discussion of the concept of psychosocial and physical dislocation, as manifested within the context of drug use and addiction in an urban, "ghetto" space. It is also a reflection on dislocation as it relates to municipal efforts addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the drug user community. I additionally deconstruct the individual and more universal ways that abandonment and acknowledgment of drug addiction acts within the larger scope of dislocation to enforce the notions of symbolic and structural violence within physical and ideological zones of abandonment. Finally, I ask whether or not there is a physical space or a place in contemporary society for long-term drug addicts, and how other global phenomena can inform this problem.
- ItemThe Socialization of the Power Elite in an American Boarding School(2011) Williams, Raffi; Hart, Laurie KainBy examining how two Chinese female students at The Founders School adjust to the demands of an elite boarding school environment, as well as my own personal experiences of socialization when I was student at Founders, this thesis attempts to determine what influences a student's place in and relationship to the social hierarchy of the hegemonic culture of Founders. Additionally this thesis looks at what the students’ position‐‐in particular their regional and class origins in China, the intensity of their nationalism and relationship to elite internationalism‐‐means for the way that they interact with the school. In particular, I look at the domains of dress, use of school space, and participation in gossip as key sites for the expression and structuring of this interaction. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of habitus, I show how previous structurally‐determined life experiences ease or hinder the transition into what I call after Michel Foucault the "total institution" of the U.S. prep school.
- ItemAgency, Vulnerability and Citizenship of Semiautonomous Youth in Nicaragua: Voices of Former Street Children(2012) El-Youssef, Nour Amal; Uygun, Banu NilgunThis investigation draws on two summers of fieldwork with La Asociación Los Quinchos, a Nicaraguan non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of street children. The aim of this paper is to elucidate the various ways in which Nicaraguan history and political economy have both shaped and strained the family, and contributed to the rising number of children living in the streets. This historical trajectory marks shifting ideologies of childhood situated during times of dictatorial rule, civil war and socialist reform, and finally neoliberal political economy. The second focus of this paper is the liminal position street children occupy between sites of agency and self-sufficiency on the one hand and extreme social vulnerability on the other. While recent developments in child-centered anthropology have called upon researchers, states and social institutions to see children as competent social actors and not just cultural beings in-the-making, this paper seeks to take a step back from this criticism and recall the various ways in which youth continue to inhabit deeply troubling power imbalances predicated on age. Insofar as street children represent a marginal population in Nicaragua, how do their testimonies point to the continued experience of vulnerability? In place of a strict dichotomy between agency and vulnerability, this paper calls for a more nuanced, ambivalent and porous view of youth agency/vulnerability. The argument here is that experiences of vulnerability do not preclude the fact that children are still competent social actors in their own right.
- ItemSex (Work), Drugs, and HIV/AIDS: Narrating Agency in Bali(2012) Zelnick, Jennifer A.; Saleh, Zainab; Ngwane, ZolaniThis paper explores the ways in which ODHA (Orang Dengan HIV/AIDS, or individuals living with HIV/AIDS) in Bali negotiate agency. I argue that institutionalized inequalities produce a dominant and dominating discourse or “master narrative” on HIV/AIDS that systematically (re)inscribes ODHA as immoral, liminal, and deviant. I seek to explore the ways in which these individuals simultaneously accept and reject stigma, structural violence, symbolic violence, and the master narrative as a means of understanding, interpreting, and negotiating their own agency. Building upon existing relevant literature on the Anthropology of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia and my own ethnographic experiences in Bali during the summer of 2011, I will employ social theory in order to examine the underlying causes of such inequalities, and how individuals both accept and challenge these conditions.