Upcoming event: "Linguistic Piety in Islamic Java"

Photo courtesy of the Elliott School of International Affairs

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

12:30 pm – 1:45pm
The Elliott School of International Affairs
Linder Commons, 1957 E Street, NW; Room 602
Sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies

The worldwide resurgence of Islamic piety has raised important methodological and theoretical questions about subjectivity: what do these expressions of devotion mean to the people who engage in them? Mahmood (2006) argues that understanding Muslim women’s piety requires appreciation of an alternative subjectivity, one that challenges standard models of Western liberal feminism. Deeb (2010) has argued that pious discourse is not as coherent as all that, and that Muslim subjects entertain alternative models depending on the context. Professor of Anthropology, International Affairs and Human Sciences, Joel Kuipers calls for an ethnographic approach to piety, urging scholars to avoid prematurely attributing inner states and interior conditions to the people they describe. His research investigates piety in Islamic Java by examining ethnographically the role of Arabic as medium of expression in its context of use.

Joel Kuipers received his B.A. in English and sociology with Honors from Calvin College in 1976, and his M.Phil. (1978) and Ph.D. from Yale in 1982. Before he came to the Anthropology Department at The George Washington University in the fall of 1989, he served on the faculties of Brown, Wesleyan, and Seton Hall Universities. He has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1994-95), and a visiting scholar at Harvard, Stanford, and Brown Universities. His main publications relate to the language and culture of Indonesia, and include: Power and Performance: the Creation of Textual Authority in Weyewa Ritual Speech (University of Pennsylvania, 1990); and Language, Identity and Marginality in Indonesia: the changing nature of ritual speech on the island of Sumba (Cambridge, 1998).

RSVP here

Engaged anthropology with and for Latino immigrants

The University of South Florida News carried an article about ongoing research into the consequences of new Latino immigrants, African Americans and working class Whites coming face to face at work in the U.S. South and how to better bridge differences. The project is led by cultural anthropologist Angela Stuesse, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida. Here are some excerpts, with some paraphrasing, from the article:

Angela Stuesse accompanied leaders from a Guatemalan Mam immigrant community on a political education tour in Mississippi. Photo by Angela Stuesse

Recent immigrants and people descended from earlier immigrants – whether voluntary or forced – often eye each other warily, sometimes finding themselves at odds. Making a connection can be as simple as knowing how to start a conversation – one that can become the basis for working together – rather than a fight. But as Stuesse has found, such conversations often don’t just happen. And if they do, they can be touchy. “Across cultures, knowing what not to say can be as important as knowing what to say and how to say it,” points out, and “Immigrants, too, may hold racial and other biases toward those they come into contact with. There’s a need to help groups understand each other. Ideally, they can work together and develop mutual respect.”

Stuesse’s research has produced her forthcoming book, Globalization ‘Southern Style, which describes the transformation of small-town Mississippi when Latino immigrants begin working and organizing alongside African Americans in the area’s chicken processing plants.

While working in Mississippi, Stuesse was a founding collaborator of the poultry worker center, MPOWER, where she drew upon her research to help facilitate structured dialogue and spaces for political education and cultural sharing among immigrant and U.S.-born poultry worker leaders.

She has also developed Intergroup Resources, a comprehensive new online resource center that is becoming a national network. The user-friendly Intergroup Resources website built and designed by Stuesse’s research team offers curricula, dialogue guides, educational materials and descriptions of the efforts of various groups.

Research opportunity for undergraduates

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Heritage Program and the University of Arizona announce opportunities for student participation in the second season of the Western Apache Ethnography and GIS Research Experience for Undergraduates field school, a National Science Foundation-supported program, June 6-July 15, 2011.

Students participating in this REU will contribute to the creation of a Western Apache cultural and historical Atlas. Participants will learn field research techniques that will include:
• Creating research plans and documenting research efforts;
• Conducting archival, interview, survey, and participant-observation research;
• Identifying the locations of historical sites and land modification areas from archival maps, photographs, and land inspections;
• Collecting and conducting initial analysis of qualitative and quantitative data relating to historical and cultural use of landscapes and natural resources;
• Applying Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tools and technologies to mapping and field data collection.

For more information please contact REU Director Dr. Karl Hoerig at khoerig@fortapachearizona.org. This announcement and application form also available online.

Two upcoming events of interest at GW

NOTE: These two events have been rescheduled for Friday, March 4. The workshop will be at 3pm and the performance will be at 6:30pm in the same location.

Gina Athena Ulysse, Wesleyan University Associate Professor of Anthropology, African Studies, Environmental Studies, and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Inaugural Fellow in the College of the Environment will be holding two events at GW – a workshop in the morning followed by a presentation in the evening. See below for details.

Because When God is Too Busy: Haiti, Me and THE WORLD

Photo courtesy of Gina Ulysse
Photo courtesy of Gina Ulysse

When: Friday, January 28, 5 – 6 pm
Where: 1957 E Street NW, 6th floor, Lindner Family Commons
The Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here

Professor Ulysse’s training as a cultural anthropologist informs this dramatic monologue about how Haiti’s past occupies its present. She weaves history, personal narrative, theory, and statistics in spoken-word with Vodou chants to reflect and deconstruct childhood memories, social (in)justice, spirituality, and the dehumanization of Haitians. Professor Ulysse is currently working on a montage ethnography, C’est Mon Devoir (It is My Duty): Stories of Civic Engagement, Urban Degradation and the Earthquake in Haiti.


When: Friday, January 28, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Where: 1957 E Street NW, 6th floor, Lindner Family Commons
The Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here

Professor Ulysse explores the border zones between ethnography and performance, and discusses as she puts it, “why we need the visceral in the structural” to participate in the decolonizing project of accessing and reclaiming a full subject.

Both of these events are sponsored by the CIGA Seminar Series, part of the Elliott School of International Affairs and its Institute of Global and International Studies

Position for a community ethnographer in Hartford, CT


Project Coordinator/Ethnographer
Institute for Community Research

The Institute for Community Research (ICR) has an opening to begin in October 2010 for a full time Project Coordinator/Ethnographer to work on the 3-year federally funded Risk Avoidance Partnership (RAP) Translation Study. RAP is a program that trains drug users to become “Peer Health Advocates” (PHAs) to promote HIV/hepatitis/STI risk- and harm-reduction among their peers.

Continue reading “Position for a community ethnographer in Hartford, CT”