Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
09 November 2023

Fostering interdisciplinary conversations

AHCD hosts its bi-yearly colloquium during Democracy Week.

On 10 October 2023, the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy hosted a colloquium during Democracy Week where researchers at different stages of their careers (PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting professors) shared their works in progress. The aim of this bi-annual event, convened by AHCD Research Fellow Yanina Welp, is to foster interdisciplinarity and collaboration as well as sharing knowledge production about different topics and from varied places of the world. The three presentations made in October are an example of such a commitment, as the topics included: the debate and imaginaries on public healthcare in Lebanon during the mid-XXth century; the local disputes for urban waste management in the Metropolitan area of Buenos Aires; and the strategies to build and keep a collective memory of Crimean Tatars in Crimea.

The first presentation was delivered by Anthony Rizk, PhD candidate in Anthropology and Sociology. Rizk’s his dissertation is situated in medical anthropology and the anthropology of the biosciences, using ethnographic methods. The draft chapter presented in October (‘An Ounce of Prevention’: Public Healthcare and its Discontents in the 1940s and 1950s) examines controversies between physicians at the American University of Beirut, the Syndicate of Physicians and the Ministry of Public Health around the building of a public healthcare system at the dawn of the Lebanese Republic. As a primary source, he takes ten issues of the Lebanese Medical Journal (1943-1953). Rizk’s underlined the overdetermining influence of private interests in the genesis of Lebanon’s public healthcare system and serves as a background to later ethnographic chapters on privatisation of healthcare in contexts of financial collapse. In response, former AHCD Postdoctoral Researcher Lipin Ram provided insightful comments that guided conversations with all participants.

Itatí Moreno, Visiting Fellow at the Centre, gave the second presentation. Moreno has a PhD in Political Science, is specialized in environmental policies and social mobilization, and is currently a visiting fellow at AHCD (2023-2024, ESKAS grant). Moreno’s draft article (“Local environmental mobilization: participatory mechanisms and urban waste management in Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area, Argentina (2000-2020)) has the general goal of developing an understanding of the available channels of participation for environmental claims in the local level in Argentina. The focus of her study is on comparing four different experiences of urban waste management (similar cases with different outcomes) in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, using semi-structured interviews, and documentary analysis. Participants provided valuable feedback to the presenter.

The last presentation was provided by Elmira Muratova, a Visiting Researcher at the Centre working on the identity and religion of Crimean Tatars, as well as ethnic and religious developments in Crimea. Muratova is the author and editor of several books, including "Crimean Tatars under the Changes in Political Arena" (2020). Her presentation (“Collective Memory, Islam and Survival Strategies of Crimean Tatars in Occupied Crimea”) described three survival strategies developed by secular and religious groups of the Crimean Tatar community united around three institutions – Crimean Solidarity, Karadeniz Production, and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea. Based on interviews and social media analysis, Moratova showed how the memory of the first annexation and 1944 deportation is used for latent and open resistance to the Russian regime, as well as to justify cooperation with it. This memory also plays an important role in discussions about the forced displacement of Crimean Tatars since 2014. AHDC Co-Director Gopalan Balachandran provided the first round of comments before opening the room.

The AHDC colloquium is becoming a flexible meeting point for advanced master students, post-MPT doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral fellows to share their work with colleagues, researchers, and faculty. At each colloquium, several scholars share an in-progress chapter/article of their dissertation. Each author is assigned a discussant from a different discipline with substantive, disciplinary, or methodological familiarity of their topic.

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