Indonesia Field Course Interest Meeting

2017 Field School Course Interest Meeting

Wednesday, October 12th at 4pm in Murray Boardroom

The Puget Sound LIASE Southeast Asia Program offers a field course each spring and summer, involving a semester of study on campus, and then a subsidized trip to Indonesia at the end of the semester (mid-May to early June). The 2017 Southeast Asia field school course is SOAN 312, which will be taught by Gareth Barkin, and which is cross-listed with Global Development Studies and Asian Studies. The course will cover the anthropology of Southeast Asia with a focus on Indonesian cultural and environmental topics. Those interested must complete an application, as there is usually competition for available spaces in the course. Students who are accepted to the course will attend class throughout the spring semester, and then travel to Central Java, Indonesia, for a three-week period of intensive, experiential learning, cultural socialization, and individual research projects.

Come to the interest meeting to learn more about the application process, the course focus, subsidized trip expenses, the timeline, and the abroad experience in Indonesia.

The University of Puget Sound’s Southeast Asia programming is made possible with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, via the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE).

Summer Research Update: Kathryn Stutz wanders through the forest of Qatari museums

Kathryn in Qatar

Kathryn in Qatar

Hi all,

I asked our students with AHSS summer research grants for an update about their progress and experiences. Kathryn’s project, focused on museums outside the Euro-American west, carried her to Qatar and London. Here’s her update from the summer swelter of the hot Qatari peninsula …

I winced as my Uber driver rolled the car slowly into another unavoidable pothole and the Camry’s entire frame jolted. We were out in the outskirts of Doha, the capital of Qatar, a small nation which sticks out like a cupped hand from top edge of the Arabian peninsula, extending into the gulf. Here, outside Doha, the city center’s smooth highways and improbably landscaped desert gardens faded out into bumpy cobblestone roads and migrant labor camps.

From top to bottom: The Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf (the Arab Museum of Modern Art), and Msheirib.

From top to bottom: The Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf (the Arab Museum of Modern Art), and Msheirib.

All of the other museums I’d visited thus far had been set somewhere in Doha’s main downtown sprawl: the Museum of Islamic Art, placed in a white wedding cake of a building (which I.M. Pei had been brought out of retirement to design), standing on its own private island along the city’s park-lined shore; the Msheirib Museums, white-washed houses nestled into a quiet pocket of downtown between markets and skyscrapers; even Mathaf, the edgy Arab Art Museum, settled into the fabric of Education City’s foreign universities. None of these museums are further than 20 minutes from the compound where I was staying.

The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani museum, on the other hand, lies far out into the desert. My iPhone’s maps were useless; my driver Jareesh and I were navigating using the tried and true method of asking random passers-by for the rough direction of the museum every couple hundred meters.

Sheikh Faisal Museum

Sheikh Faisal Museum

After a quarter of an hour meandering down thin roads between the walls of labor camps, I spotted the first sign for the museum, and Jareesh took me through the security and up to the front door of the museum, which was housed in an enormous castle of a building, standing amidst thin desert trees and the skeletons of boats.

Inside, the museum is packed with over 18,000 artifacts, ranging from art and calligraphy and religious objects to the Sheikh’s prized collection of hundreds of old cars. Thankfully,

Mahmoud, a museum tour guide, intercepted me at the front door and showed me around, allowing me to grasp the scale of the museum without becoming overwhelmed. It quickly became clear that this museum stood apart from the other collections I’d visited previously – this museum felt alive. Even during the slow summer days, other tourists and residents meandered around pointing at dramatic sailing ship displays and the deep oil wells around which the museum had been built at the end of the 20th century – if you lean over carefully, you can see the glimmer of oil far below at the bottom.

Inside the Sheikh Faisal museum

Inside the Sheikh Faisal museum

The arrangement of prominent – if somewhat austere – prestige museums in city centers, juxtaposed against beloved – if a bit well-worn – community museums, is a familiar one.

Over the past academic year, I’ve been researching museums in the Pacific Northwest, following the work of historian of anthropology James Clifford, who discussed the different types of museums in British Columbia in the chapter “Four Northwest Coast Museums,” of his book Routes.

Back at the end of May, I had begun the summer with a trip through the same four museums Clifford examined: the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) in Victoria, the Kwagiulth Museum (now called the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre) in Cape Mudge Village, the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, and the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in Vancouver.

The RBCM and the MOA fit happily within the same museum model followed at Doha’s MIA, Mathaf, and the Msheirib Museums. These are all ‘Western’ in style, with tastefully minimalistic exhibits and careful, historical signage. They appear in tourist campaigns and are the subject of thousands of artful photos of their cities’ downtowns.

Museums like the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre and the U’mista Cultural Centre – and the Sheikh Faisal Museum – are different. One of my contacts with the Qatari Museum Authority singled out Sheikh Faisal as one of the few truly ‘Qatari’ museums, founded by a member of the Al Thani royal family, on his own personal land, for the benefit of his friends and neighbors. The objects at Sheikh Faisal feel like personal belongings arranged on a shelf, precisely because they are; despite its size and grandeur, the Shiekh’s museum feels intimate. Museums like this one are further off the beaten path, but offer a look at how the people of a country truly see themselves.

At Al Jazeera

At Al Jazeera

And understanding what makes a museum ‘Qatari’ is vital at the moment, because the new National Museum of Qatar is scheduled to open in December, and it has big shoes to fill: according to nearly every source on the topic, the old National Museum, built in 1975, shortly after Qatar gained independence, was definitely beloved. That museum has been gone for decades, its artifacts in shortage, its signage literally scattered to the desert winds.

Now, it is the task of Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, and her staff of both Qataris and foreign consultants, to construct a museum that brings together the best of both worlds – the new NMoQ will stand near the center of town, but it cannot feel like just another forbidding Western institution. It must be able, like a national flag or the Sheikh Faisal collection, to “represent the [nation] to its people, and its people to the world at large” (Roman Mars, TED2015 Vancouver).

I was reminded of the high stakes the new National Museum faces when Mahmoud pointed to a curiously shaped stone in a glass cabinet.

“You know the National Museum?” he asked.

I nodded.

“Do you know what this is, then?” he prompted me.

I thought back to my first glimpse of the new museum as I’d driven past it on the way from the airport. The jagged white curves and edges were shrouded in construction equipment, but lit up in the night. My housemate had laughed when I told her about this. “You mean the UFO?” she said. I came to understand that many residents of Doha saw something alien in the new construction of the National Museum – a worrying thing for its designer, who had been envisioning something entirely different. The museum’s architecture had been inspired by a natural geological form, found out in the sands beyond the city.

Desert Rose

Desert Roses

Back at the Sheikh’s museum, I nodded once more. “It’s a desert rose.”

Thanks so much for this wonderful update, Kathryn! We hope the rest of your stay there is productive. Safe travels, and we’ll see you back in Tacoma later in the summer.

Andrew

SOAN Students at the SfAA Meeting in Vancouver

Hi all,

Five students from the SOAN department recently returned from the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) in Vancouver, Canada. The SfAA is the second largest society in anthropology, and connects a variety of academic anthropologists with practitioners in the fields of international development, education, public health, conservation, and much more.

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Marshall Glass

In addition to attending numerous sessions at the conference, all five students participated in the conference’s large and energetic poster session.

Marshall Glass (’16) presented a poster about the research agenda he first began exploring in SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods, and has now carried into the research-based senior thesis track offered by the department. His poster and project, entitled A Survey of the Differing Experiences and Culture Present among Various Realms of the Narcotics World, fit well in the thematic foci that coalesce at the SfAA.

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Carolynn Hammen

Carolynn Hammen (’16) also presented a poster about her senior thesis project currently underway. Her project and poster, entitled Understanding the Latino Paradox: An Ethnographic Exploration of Cultural Preservation in Relation to Health, is perfectly located at the juncture between migration studies and public health — the culmination of the research interests she’s developed in the SOAN department. She’s currently wrapping up the fieldwork portion of this project in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area!

Sam Carp (’17) presented a poster about the project he completed in SOAN 299: Ethnographic

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Sam Carp

Methods. His project and poster, entitled Relationships to Food: How Technological Limitations Inspire Individual Responsibility, explored how food choices shift as a result of technological limitations — in this case, how the separation between cars and residences at Tacoma’s Salmon Beach impacts individual decisions about food. His paper, and Sam’s broader research agenda, finds the synergy between the methods and topics of SOAN and a concern with our environmental future.

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Elena Becker

 

Elena Becker (’17) presented a poster about her AHSS summer research project in Malaysian Borneo. That poster and project, entitled Cultural Authenticity and the Impacts of Cultural Tourism in Malaysian Borneo, used an ethnographic methodology to look at cultural tourism in Borneo — work that is described in more detail here. This poster was presented in addition to the paper she presented earlier the same day.

Finally, Kathryn Stutz (’17) presented a poster about the project she conducted in SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods. That project, entitled Native Identity in Pacific Northwest Coast

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Kathryn Stutz and her prize-winning poster

Museums and Cultural Institutions, revisited some of the issues described by historian James Clifford in his pathbreaking work about Northwest museums and the presentation of indigeneity. Congrats to Kathryn for her excellent work!

At the poster session, students were able to network with a variety of anthropologists and other social scientists. Russel Bernard even stopped by to check out their posters! Several students received offers to publish their work, and others were able to survey the possibilities for Masters and PhD programs for their coming years. Finally, after an amazing and impressive day for Puget Sound students, we had a celebratory dinner at Sura Korean Restaurant.

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The aforementioned celebratory dinner at Sura.

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Elena and Kathryn talking with Dr. Diane Austin, Director of the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology (and my advisor in graduate school …) at the SfAA’s Sustaining Fellows reception in the hotel’s penthouse suite.

Elena Becker, presentation and award!

Junior Elena Becker will be deliver a afternoon lecture about her research in Borneo. The project, entitled Cultural Authenticity and the Impacts of Cultural Tourism in Malaysian Borneo, was the result of an AHSS summer research grant from the University of Puget Sound. Come check it out!

What: Elena Becker’s Summer Research Presentation
When: Wednesday, February 17, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Where: MC309

And there’s more! Elena recently received IMG_6174confirmation that her paper had been awarded second place in the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Peter K. New Award. Research for her paper, entitled Malagasy Cookstove Use and the Potential for Alternative Models: A Case Study in Madagascar’s Vakinankaratra Region, was conducted during her semester abroad with the School of International Training (SIT), and built on the ethnographic fieldwork skills she developed in the department. The competition pitted her paper against a slew of excellent, PhD-level submissions, which marks her award as particularly impressive.

The award honors the late Peter Kong-ming New, a distinguished medical sociologist-anthropologist and former president of the SfAA. The prize is awarded to papers which exemplify applied research in the social/behavioral sciences. Second place in the SfAA’s competition comes with a substantial, $1500 stipend, travel monies to help facilitate attendance the conference in Vancouver this March, and an invitation to submit the paper to the society’s flagship journal, Human Organization, for potential publication.

Congratulations, Elena. We’re so proud of you!

Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Research Award for Alena Karkanias

Hi all,

Alena (left) at graduation for her sister Grace (right)

Alena (left) at graduation for her sister Grace (right)

Alena Karkanias also received good news last week regarding her AHSS research proposal. So I’ve cut-and-pasted this several times, but again: the University of Puget Sound offers students competitive Summer Research Awards. These awards, varying from $3250 to $3750, allow students to pursue an in-depth research project over the summer months. Several students in the department were successful this year, and I’ve asked each to tell us a little bit about what they’ll be doing with their time, energy, and stipend monies in the coming summer. Here’s what Alena has to say about the scope of her project:

In this research project, I will be investigating how the introduction of online and in-person sites of interaction have affected the relationship between fans and creators of media content, particularly regarding their beliefs about who among them has the authority to influence the future development of media texts. I am specifically focusing on the fan-creator relationship for the television show, Supernatural. I will be speaking to both creators and fans in order to understand the make-up of each party, their impressions of each other, their opinions regarding the idea of fan influence on the production of the show (specifically regarding the direction of the narrative and fate of the characters), and how they negotiate the changing relationship between fans and creators in light of these factors.

Supernatural’s fans and creators are unique for their overt, reciprocal affection for each other, having embraced the ability to interact with each other on sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, and at conventions. However, they have also seen intense conflict mostly arising out of confusion on either side about the make-up, desires, and intentions of the other party, which leave both sides unsure about how to interpret past and present interactions and approach future interactions. My goals in this project are therefore to explicate the points of dissonance between the parties involved and develop strategies to better negotiate their interactions and foster a more harmonious approach to the future production of the show.

Alena, we wish you luck as you explore this interesting social arena. Be careful, however: Supernatural fans have evidently irked P. Diddy, and you need to tread carefully when P. Diddy is angered!

Andrew

 

Summer Research Award for Kathryn Stutz

Hi all,

Kathryn and the statue of a (faceless) Lihyanite man from the Roads to Arabia exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Asian Art.

Kathryn and the statue of a (faceless) Lihyanite man from the Roads to Arabia exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Asian Art.

So sophomore Kathryn Stutz also received an AHSS Summer Research Award. My usual summary: as you many know, the University of Puget Sound offers students competitive Summer Research Awards. These awards, varying from $3250 to $3750, allow students to pursue an in-depth research project over the summer months. Several students in the department were successful this year, and I’ve asked each to tell us a little bit about what they’ll be doing with their time, energy, and stipend monies in the coming summer. Here’s what Kathryn had to say about her project:

This summer, I will be working with a collection of archival material from our university’s Slater Museum of Natural History. These letters, biological records, and other historical documents center around a significant event in the history of the modern environmental movement: the development and eventual rejection of ‘Project Chariot,’ a proposal by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to use nuclear blasts to create a harbor in northern Alaska.

Murray Johnson (left) and James Slater (right) with materials that became part of the Slater Museum collection.

Murray Johnson (left) and James Slater (right) with materials that became part of the Slater Museum collection.

Members of the native Alaskan communities, as well as several of the scientists hired by the AEC to conduct the Cape Thompson Environmental Impact Report, found ethical, ecological, and health-related objections to Project Chariot. I’ll be using anthropological and historical analysis to look at the interactions between the AEC leadership, the scientists, the US government, the media, and the native Alaskan communities, to see how Project Chariot fits into the social, political, and scientific context of the United States during the early 1960s. In particular, I will be examining the perspective of Murray Johnson, an adjunct professor of biology at the College of Puget Sound during the 1950s and 1960s, who organized the marine mammal research team for the AEC’s Environmental Impact Report, and how his political and cultural views impacted his relationships with the other people and communities impacted by Project Chariot.

What a fascinating project, Kathryn — one that’s interestingly interwoven with our university’s history, and one that takes the anthropological/sociological toolkit into a conversation with other disciplines. Good luck! We’re excited to hear about what you find.

 

Andrew

Summer Research Award for SOAN’s Carolynn Hammen

Hi all,

Carolynn Hammen, who evidently found her way to the shores of this Swiss pond

Carolynn Hammen, who evidently found her way to the shores of this Swiss pond

As you many know, the University of Puget Sound offers students competitive Summer Research Awards. These awards, varying from $3250 to $3750, allow students to pursue an in-depth research project over the summer months. Several students in the department were successful this year, and I’ve asked each to tell us a little bit about what they’ll be doing with their time, energy, and stipend monies in the coming summer. Here’s what Carolynn Hammen (SOAN class of ’16, and currently studying abroad in Switzerland) had to say:

For my project, I will be examining migrant access to psychological healthcare. I have the incredible opportunity of partnering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Cairo, Egypt to conduct my research, where I will be also working as an intern in the psychosocial health division. During my stay in Cairo, I will be using the resources of the IOM to examine barriers–both cultural and policy-based–that prevent migrants from obtaining or seeking psychological healthcare. I will also be conducting a review on existing policies and programs that aim to make psychological treatment accessible to migrant workers. Once identifying their weaknesses, I will work with the IOM to construct new policy recommendations to help improve said policies and/or programs. I am incredibly excited to embark on this adventure, and to see the results of this project!

That does sound like an amazing opportunity, Carolynn, and we can’t wait to hear how it goes. And summer in Cairo … well, that will be an experience of its own. Good luck, and we’ll look for an update later in the summer.

Andrew