Winners of the Irmgard Coninx Research Grant

Felicitas Becker is Assistant Professor of African History at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. She has researched the effects of colonialism on rural Tanzanian societies and the spread of Islam in twentieth-century Tanzania, with special attention to the role of rural-urban relations. Her current research interests include Muslim responses to AIDS in East Africa, the tape-recorded discourses of Swahili-speaking Muslim reformists and their trans-regional networks, and the history of writing in Africa. Having recently completed a monograph on the spread of Islam in Tanzania (Becoming Muslim in Mainland Tanzania, Oxford University Press and the British Academy, 2008), she is currently editing a collection of articles on religious responses to AIDS in Africa. A study on Tanzanian Islamism has appeared in African Affairs, and a paper highlighting the importance of popular agency in the historical process of Islamization in Journal of Global History. She holds an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a PhD from Cambridge University, UK.

Mariana Cavalcanti (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is a Professor of Anthropology at the Getulio Vargas Foundation’s Center for Research and Documentation on Contemporary Brazilian History (CPDOC/FGV) in Rio de Janeiro. At present, she is working on a book based on her dissertation Of Shacks, Houses and Fortresses: an ethnography of favela consolidation in Rio de Janeiro, in which she examines, from the standpoint of housing and the built environment in general, the shifting articulations between the commoditization of the city’s shantytowns and the territorial spatialities produced by a drug trade centered around the retail sale of cocaine. For her dissertation she was awarded the 2008 Illinois Distinguished Dissertation Award by the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry. Her current research project explores the linkages between space, memory and the production of value in middle class areas bordering Rio’s favelas. 

Ajay Gandhi is finalizing a PhD in Anthropology from Yale University, due to be conferred in 2010. His research is based in Delhi’s old city, and focuses on issues such as human-animal relations, sociability within the bazaar, and working-class leisure. He used the Irmgard Coninx Research Grant to write an introduction and his contribution to a collection of papers, convened with Lotte Hoek, on the phenomenology of South Asian cities, forthcoming in a special issue of Ethnography. He is a fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies in Amsterdam.

Colin McFarlane is an urban geographer based at Durham University, UK. He is concerned with theorising the intersections between urban inequality, materiality and knowledge, and has pursued this principally through research on infrastructure in Mumbai's informal settlements. The Irmgard Coninx Foundation fellowship allowed Colin the space and time to complete a book on the intersections between urban inequality, materiality and learning entitled Learning the City: Translocal Assemblage and Urban Politics (Blackwell). He is also co-editing a book on urban informality, which emerged through workshops organised by Irmgard Coninx in 2008 and 2009.


Participants Honoured with Special Distinction

Christopher Capozzola (History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

Matias Sendoa Echanove (Urban Studies, University of Tokyo, Japan)

Deniz Yonucu (Anthropology, Cornell University, USA)