Maher, Sean K., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Traplines and Tar Sands: An Ethnographic Study of Intersecting Economies in a Sub-Arctic Indigenous Community,' supervised by Dr. Michael T. Bravo
SEAN K. MAHER, while a student at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, received funding in December 2001 to aid ethnographic research on intersecting economies in a subarctic indigenous community in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Michael T. Bravo. Aboriginal peoples across the Canadian arctic and subarctic have become increasingly integrated into the economic fabric of Canadian society, with concomitant transformations of social values and economic activities. Through field research at Fort Chipewyan, Canada, Maher explored the conceptual and empirical categories that organized, structured, and assigned meaning to economic activities in a 'mixed' indigenous economy. The objective was to uncover conceptual and empirical categories relevant to understanding the mixed economy as a socioeconomic system, as well as the conceptual categories constructed by members of the subarctic community to organize and mediate the intersections of economic systems and their attendant values. Maher's findings suggested that an understanding of contemporary socioeconomic change in indigenous communities can be usefully approached by exploring how those changes are themselves transformed through localized processes of social reproduction and resistance. In particular, the notion of labor-as it is constructed in discursive narratives and practiced in quotidian activities-provides a theoretically and methodologically useful lens through which to examine not only patterns of economy in contemporary northern indigenous communities but also the important links between patterns of economy and the construction of local indigenous histories and identities in former hunting and gathering societies.
von Hatzfeldt, Gaia, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Vernacular Justice: Adjudicating Corruption in Rural India,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Spencer
GAIA von HATZFELDT, then a student at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Vernacular Justice: Adjudicating Corruption in Rural India,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Spenser. Policy-making is not a static linear process, but rather, it is intrinsically dynamic, involving a broad constellation of variables, actors and activities. A significant variable in this dynamism of policy-making is the role played by civil society. This project examines the processes involved in the formulation of one of India's landmark social policies - the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) - through the lens of one particular civil society formation. Specifically, it focuses on the efforts of these civil society actors in institutionalising social audits, a mechanism for safeguarding transparency and accountability in NREGA. MKSS, an organisation active in rural Rajasthan, has over its two decades of campaigning against corruption, become widely recognised as pundits in the practice of social audits. By mobilising on various scales and performing multiple roles and affiliations, MKSS has played a significant role in drafting national transparency and accountability measures. The entry of MKSS into domains of decision-making in the formulation of NREGA indicates that policy-making is a porous and fluid process. By shaping the formulation of social audits for NREGA, MKSS contributes to the blurring of boundaries between state and society and the reconfiguration of policy-making processes in India.
Hepner, Tricia M. Redeker, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Of Eritrea and Exile: Trans/Nationalism in the Horn of Africa and the United States, ' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina
Hodge, Christina J., Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Middling Identities in Colonial New England: Class, Taste, and Material Culture in Newport, RI,' supervised by Dr. Mary C. Beaudry
CHRISTINA J. HODGE, then a student at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Middling Identities in Colonial New England: Class, Taste, and Material Culture in Newport, Rhode Island,' supervised by Dr. Mary C. Beaudry. This project was an archaeological study of the Wood Lot at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard site, Newport, Rhode Island. The Wood Lot has early to mid-18th-century domestic components. The project traced the material practices of Newport's middling sorts. It also provided historical context for the development of an incipient middle class in colonial America. Funding supported expert analysis of over 3,000 fragmentary faunal remains from Wood Lot privies and other filled features. Faunal remains, combined with artifactual evidence, provided a more thorough picture of middling lives. In the traditional English manner, most New Englander city dwellers prized the meat of young animals. Wood Lot households occasionally invested in these esteemed and expensive foods, particularly veal and suckling pig. Yet, residents were not wealthy and apparently supplemented their store-bought meats with caught fish and wildfowl. Fashionable 'Georgian' culture was, thus, demonstrably fragmentary and idiosyncratic. Different categories of material culture tell different stories of status, taste, and desire. Middling individuals participated in social transformations of 18th-century New England through their most intimate spaces-their bodies and homes. This study revealed which refined behaviors non-elite Newporters accepted, rejected, and altered to create their own versions of gentility.
Larney, Eileen, State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'The Rules to Randomness: Social Relationships and Infant Handling in Phayre's Leaf Monkeys,' supervised by Dr. Andreas Koenig
EILEEN LARNEY, then a student at State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York, received funding in January 2005 to aid research on 'The Rules to Randomness: Social Relationships and Infant handling in Phayre's Leaf Monkeys,' supervised by Dr. Andreas Koenig. While numerous relationships are driven by kin selection, investing in unrelated individuals seems surprising unless an individual is gaining something in return. This project explores female affiliation and infant handling in Phayre's leaf monkeys. Behavioral observation (PKWS, Thailand; January-August 2005) and molecular analysis (NYU; June 2006-May 2007) were conducted to determine the genetic relationships of potentially unrelated females, to explore the benefits of allomothering and affiliation, and to determine the impact of kin selection and reciprocal altruism on female social relationships. Focal sampling using instantaneous and continuous recording served to collect data on activity, agonism, grooming, proximity and infant handling. To determine kin relationships, individuals are being genotyped using >20 polymorphic microsatellite loci that were selected after intensive screening. Maternal rank and physical condition significantly influence the rate of infant development. Available data will explore the potential effect of allomothering. Investigating reciprocation and interchange of infants, infant handling and grooming will determine if these serve as commodities to be exchanged among females and how fluctuations in infant supply may affect dyadic relationships. Preliminary results indicate that rank, tenure, and reproductive state influence who handles infants and newly immigrant females appear to allomother to integrate into the complex female social network.
Closser, Svea Hupy, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter John Brown
SVEA CLOSSER then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown. This case study of a public health project focused on Pakistan, one of the last four countries in the world with endemic polio, and explored the reach, limits, and complex negotiation of the power of UN and bilateral agencies over the Pakistani health system. This research revealed that because the Polio Eradication Initiative is a 'partnership' of donors and UN agencies with country governments, officials at places like the WHO in Geneva have no direct control over the actual implementation of immunization activities. Polio vaccination campaigns are carried out in Pakistan by highly political district health offices along with very poorly paid and largely disgruntled workers. The WHO uses a number of tactics to put pressure on Pakistani government officials, but they are unable to make polio the priority in a nation beset with other, more politically pressing problems. However, due to the donor-directed culture of optimism that pervades upper levels of the project, these issues are never discussed in official publications. These tensions between the culture of global health institutions and local political cultures threaten to undermine the 20-year, six-billion-dollar initiative.
Closser, Svea. 2010. Chasing Polio in Pakistan: Why the World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail. Vanderbilt University Press: Nashville, TN.
Perdigon, Sylvain, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Interim Structures of Kinship: Kin Relatedness among Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
SYLVAIN PERDIGON, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'The Interim Structures of Kinship: Kin Relatedness among Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Located in the Palestinian refugee community of Southern Lebanon, the study undertaken under this grant experiments with one of the most canonical, and disputed, methods of ethnographic research-the collection of genealogies-in order to examine the suffering and creativity involved in carrying on an ethics of family life in the ever provisional environment of refugee camps. This method, combined with a systematic examination of the household economy, and with participant observation of everyday life in a time of great instability, clearly demonstrates the centrality and stability of a specific model of family life-the extended family organized around the sibling tie-to strategies for coping with the uncertainty of the refugee environment. However, by identifying narratives, language games, and everyday or ritual practices through which relatedness is practiced, performed, or reflected upon, the research also evinces the great variety of ways in which relations and their making, maintaining, and unmaking are imagined in the refugee community. By specifically highlighting the overlap in the refugee environment of practices associated with kinship, and of procedures associated with the production, or contestation, of certainty regarding relatives and relationships, it also invites to reconsider one of the oldest arguments of the discipline of anthropology-that which posited a foundational link between kinship and epistemology, relatedness and the everyday conditions of knowing.
Halili, Rigels, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland - To aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel
RIGELS HALILI, then a student at Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel. This research project realized from July 2006 to February 2007, aimed to inquire into the presence, function and role that oral epic poetry plays nowadays in the regions of Sand?ak and Kosovo. Several singers have learned their songs from other members of their families or neighbors; in other words through an oral transmission. But others admitted that they have learned songs from different songbooks or tapes of other singers. Textual analysis of recorded songs showed that only among Kosovo singers is there still a strong presence of formulaic character of singing. The traditional way of singing is becoming more and more a professional and commercial activity. In San?ak, but increasingly in Kosovo as well, epic songs rarely appear in public places that are not in connection with commercial activities. But they are still present in many spheres of private life, especially weddings. Moreover, the number of active singers is decreasing. All singers emphasized that the young generation is not interested in learning old songs, while they prefer newly composed popular songs, especially those broadcasted in the media or distributed on the internet. However, oral forms did not disappear entirely, but were transformed, while functioning in new communicative conditions.
Kashanipour, Ryan Amir, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research and on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner
RYAN KASHANIPOUR, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner. This project is an ethnohistorical examination of the role of medicine and healing in the eighteenth-century, Spanish Atlantic world. In particular, this project explores the role of healing systems in forging day-to-day connections between diverse social and ethnic groups in colonial Yucatan. These findings demonstrate how native peoples used central components to the human existence -- sickness and health -- to control their own lives and influence the broader colonial society. Funding supported primary source research in archives and libraries in Spain and the United States. Historical sources uncovered in this study -- such as six eighteenth-century manuscript books of medicine written in Yucatec Maya and Spanish -- show the broad series of connections within colonial society based on medicine and healing. These findings, in part, demonstrate that healing practices circulating widely in the colonies. In spite of prohibitions that attempted to limit the interaction between different social groups, natives, European, Africans, and people of mixed ethnicity regularly exchanged medical knowledge. Local healing practices were, therefore, the product of a widespread interaction and exchange. Furthermore, indigenous medicinal practices and knowledge empowered native healing specialists, which served to empower native communities.
Tower, Craig, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Radio Ways: Language and the Construction of Minority Ethnicity in Koutiala, Mali,' supervised by Dr. Robert G. Launay
CRAIG TOWER, while a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was awarded a grant in February 2003 to aid research on the role of FM radio in the construction of minority ethnicity in Koutiala, southeastern Mali, under the supervision of Dr. Robert G. Launay. Tower examined the 'radio ways' of local FM broadcasters and their ethnic minority audiences in rural Mali in an effort to understand how daily use of and interactions around radio were shaped by broader political-economic and cultural conditions. Conducting research in and around Koutiala, he used a variety of methods-participant observation, loosely structured interviews, surveys, and an analysis of program scheduling and content-to learn how stations and their personnel operated in relation to their audiences, sponsors, and local and national authorities. The work revealed the importance of dominant national ideologies of gender and ethnicity in station operations. In addition, Tower studied average listeners and radio club members to understand how local radio was important in everyday social interactions and how certain social segments were excluded from FM broadcasting. Findings suggested that commonplace distinctions between audience and broadcaster were unhelpful in understanding radio use in Mali; instead, radio use was embedded in a web of communication that included word-of-mouth, telephone, and television. Local FM radio appeared to be politically important in two ways. First, it tended to reinforce dominant national ideologies of language and ethnicity, despite insisting on the promotion of local cultures. Second, the partisan activities of some local stations did not concern all listeners and were far from representing the 'rational discourse' of Habermas's public sphere.