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Brown Bag Forum Presents Crisis as a Condition: Heightened and Long-Term Impact on Field Sites

flyer image of speakers and bios
Date and Time: 
Monday, March 1, 2021 - 12:30 to 13:30

Department of Anthropology

This panel will bring together 4 PhD students from the Stanford Anthropology Department to speak about their field sites and the crises that concern these spaces. The discussion will be 
accompanied by an interactive question-answer session wherein the audience can engage with the speakers to explore the overarching theme of crisis more deeply.

Winter Brownbag Speaker Series 2021

Series theme: ‘Crisis as a Condition: Heightened and Long-Term Impact on Field Sites’

Nature of Talk: Panel Discussion on the series theme in reference to speakers’ own field sites


Name of Speakers:

Kristin McFadden, Shantanu Nevrekar, Shandana Waheed, Grace Alexandrino Ocaña


Panelist 1: Shandana Waheed

Presentation title: Notes from the field in Global Pandemic: Field site which is home

Discussion Abstract:

My research explores the political configuration of national heritage and how architectural heritage is mediated in national space. Rawalpindi has been my field site since 2017 but it is my relationship with the city is as old as I am. My family has called this city home since Indo-Pak partition. It is a city with multitudes of historical imaginaries from multiple reference points embedded in its present situating it in the diverse temporalities of past. The area has been out of bounds for the civilians as far as people can remember, however, pandemic has made it out of bound for army employees as well except those who live in it. The bustling old city areas hit their all-time financial low as the government announced the lockdown. I am interested in looking at social, political and economic crises that has affected my field site has unveiled the otherwise masked realities that might not have been significantly taken into account had this research been completed in the pre-pandemic world.


Panelist 2: Shantanu Nevrekar

Presentation title: Community in Crisis: Cooperative Bank as a historical form and ethnographic fieldsite
Discussion Abstract:
Shantanu’s research explores Cooperative Banking in Maharashtra, India, studying the historical trajectories and the socio-political contemporary of caste, community and capital. While banks in India, especially cooperative banks, have always negotiated with Non-Performing Assets, or loans which stop yielding returns and permanently go bad, the problem has gained increasing severity over the past decade. This has been on the back of ill-conceived public policies such as demonetization as well as falling economic growth even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his presentation, he will be look at how the economic imagination undergirding cooperative banks has historically transformed in relation to social and economic crises. While the historical form of the cooperative bank was premised upon utopian imaginations of society and economy in Europe, colonial modernity in India saw the travel of cooperative bank as a conceptual and material form premised upon particular notions of crises in communities. Based upon this
preliminary historical context, he will outline some key conceptual questions relevant to his future ethnographic and historical work.


Panelist 3: Kristin McFadden

Presentation title: Crisis as a Condition: Charleston, Covid-19, and Racial Unrest

Discussion Abstract:

Kristin’s current research focuses on black land dispossession in the American South through an exploration of political and legal claim making, conceptions of citizenship, and heirs’ property as a legal categorization.

In this discussion she will look at how as a region, the South Carolina Low Country was hit hard by Covid-19, with its central city Charleston, being a hot spot for the virus in South Carolina. Despite Charleston’s picturesque scene, economic inequality starkly colors the region, as issues of land loss and dispossession, economic immobility, the afterlife of slavery, and historical injustice make up a complex story of Charleston that troubles its state and national prestige. With the onset of Covid-19, South Carolina faced significant challenges in fighting the virus including overburdened healthcare, inadequate funding, and the disproportionate effect on African American communities, particularly in rural areas of the state. In addition to the healthcare challenges impacting South Carolina, recent racial unrest in Summer 2020 in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor reopened conversations of policing and racial equity across the state, prompting a deeper exploration of these intersecting crises.


Panelist 4: Grace Alexandrino Ocaña

Presentation title: Rights to a heritage city: citizenship struggles over cultural heritage monuments in metropolitan Lima.

Discussion Abstract:

Grace is a dissertation writer and Peruvian archaeologist at Stanford with more than a decade of experience in the field. She has participated in numerous excavation projects in the Central Andes region and published and presented internationally in Spanish and English. Her work focuses on the development of citizen-heritage-state interactions within Lima. As Peru still struggles with issues of identity, citizenship, racism, sexism, and social justice, study of the material culture of the past has been an ally to republican discourse and the state´s development. Cultural heritage is a tool for but also a casualty of the construction of a nation shaped by colonialism. Her ethnographic research explores the perspectives of heritage activists, state bureaucrats, and economically disadvantaged Limeñxs to analyze how cultural heritage is mobilized for and against rights to the city. The variety of contestations among these groups illustrates the value of heritage is shifting from providing and certifying identity to the terrain of more direct political action.