Poggiali, Lisa, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Testimony and Texting: Mobile Phone Technology and Emergent 'Publics' in Contemporary Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Yanagisako
LISA POGGIALI, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Testimony and Texting: Mobile Phone Technology and Emergent 'Publics' in Contemporary Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Yanagisako. Twelve months of ethnographic research in Nairobi, Kenya was undertaken with the following populations: developers in the 'Information and Communications Technologies ('ITC') community; residents of the informal settlement of Mathare, who were trained in digital cartography skills by a NGO that aimed to map the neighborhood; and governmental and non-governmental figures who engaged with digital mapping and/or urban planning in Nairobi's informal settlements. Both the epistemological underpinnings of the technical work of writing code and designing software, and the social and political effects of the technology in non-technical settings was examined and analyzed. Significant findings include the following: 1) technical activities such as writing code and designing software are culturally situated practices connected to local understandings of political patronage and corruption, labor markets, and consumption patterns, despite the fact that developers often described their work as 'value-free;' and 2) concepts such as 'transparency' and 'accountability' were regularly mobilized by disparate groups of informants to explain the benefits of digital mapping, but the meaning of these terms was dependent upon the identity of the speaker and the discursive context. This resulted in different understandings of the underlying ethics and politics at stake in digital mapping projects, and different barometers for measuring the 'success' of related projects.
Georgiev, Alexander Ventsislavov, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA- To aid research on 'Dominance Rank, Mating Effort, and Energy Use in Male Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham
ALEXANDER V. GEORGIEV, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Dominance Rank, Matting Effort, and Energy Use in Male Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham. While differential energy intake is widely recognized as a key factor affecting inter-individual variance in fecundity and lifetime fitness among female mammals, including humans, the role that energetics play in shaping male reproductive strategies is less well understood. This study set out to examine the energetic costs of male mating effort in wild chimpanzees at Kanyawara, Kibale National Park, Uganda, by combining detailed observations of male activity with non-invasive sampling of urinary C-peptide of insulin (UCP). Male chimpanzees incurred important energetic shortfalls during periods of intense mating competition: they reduced their feeding time and had lower levels of UCP (a measure of energy balance). While high-ranking males had lower UCP levels overall, males of all ranks experience a similar reduction in their energy balance during periods of mate competition. Nevertheless, higher-ranking males obtained most copulations with more attractive females. The energy cost per copulation appeared to be lower for high-ranking than low-ranking males. This study extends our understanding of the energetics of male-male sexual competition and highlights the significant energetic costs of mating effort in a non-seasonally breeding primate.
Georgiev, A. V., et al. 2014. The Foraging Costs of Mating Effort in Male Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). International Journal of Primatology 35.3-4 (2014): 725-745.
Thufail, Fadjar I., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Confusion, Conversion, and Riot: Religious Anxiety and Mass Violence in Urban Indonesia, 1998,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth M. George
FADJAR I. THUFAIL, while a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in July 2001 to aid research on religious anxiety and mass violence in urban Indonesia in 1998, under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth M. George. Three central questions guided the field research: What conditions and forces prompted people to get involved in-or avoid-the Indonesian riots of May 1998 that led to President Suharto's resignation? How did perpetrators, victims, and witnesses differently understand these riots in light of contemporary political crises, talk about conversion to Christianity, and past events of anti-Chinese violence? And in what ways did the verbal and visual signs evoked during the rioting and in subsequent public discourse reflect the certainties and uncertainties of religious, ethnic, racial, and national identity? Thufail also devoted attention to representations of the riot and its political contestation. Some preliminary findings: Most respondents denied that the riots were religiously motivated. The absence of religious issues suggested that among certain groups of narrators, changes had taken place in the narrative appropriation of violence. Moreover, different state agents produced their own narratives. The official Fact Finding Team's narrative served as the higher-order narrative that shaped other narratives. Besides state agents, media institutions also shaped the ways in which people told their stories of the riots. As a consequence, the strong institutional agenda found in the riot narratives had overwhelmed most attempts to represent the narratives as stories of experience.
Kohn, Alison S., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Towards an Archaeology of Urban Process in a Post-Colonial Context: An Ethnographic Case Study in La Paz, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler
ALISON S. KOHN, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in September 2003 to aid research on 'Towards an Archaeology of Urban Process in a Post-Colonial Context: An Ethnographic Case Study in La Paz, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler. As in most Latin American cities, under Spanish colonialism the city of La Paz, Bolivia consisted of spatialized hierarchies of race and class, in which Spanish and mestizo occupied the center of town, pushing the much larger indigenous Aymara population to the periphery. Today, postcolonial La Paz consists of a melange of modern and colonial architecture, of planned and unplanned design, of city-built and inhabitant-built neighborhoods sprawling from its Spanish colonial core. Together, La Paz's neighborhoods still represent a vertical sociology of unequal politicoeconomic social relations -- a conspicuous colonial artifact. Social scientists suggest that the built environment mediates social relations in particular ways -- indeed, contributes to their reproduction. This ethnoarchaeological research has asked: How do spatial and temporal practices in La Paz contribute to the reproduction of this vertical sociology? And, in what ways has it changed over time? Ultimately, this research has sought to understand how the built environment mediates relations of power in postcolonial cities. Thus this project has investigated the intersection of political authority, history and urbanization through a case study of the historical social production of one vernacular neighborhood in La Paz, including its relation to the city and its institutions as a whole. There were two major phases of research. Phase I: Vernacular Construction Practices through Time, was a detailed inquiry into the production of the built environment, how things are built, who builds them, how labor is organized and mobilized, where people get materials, and what social relationships are involved in this production. These processes were traced temporally and spatially through Munaypata's history through the collection of narratives from first generation residents and their descendants, urban planning officials, as well as through archival, museum, and urban planning documents. Phase II: Spatio-temporal Knowledge and Practice, added social action to the research focusing mainly on the residents of Munaypata. It sought to theorize how the logic of production engages with the logic of practice. Thus, this part of the research was concerned with gathering detailed information about residents' lifecycles in relation to the built environment -- in other words human histories as related to building histories or settlement biographies. This approach sought to understand how temporality is integrated with the urban landscape to produce a spatio-temporally organized social life. How is space-time reckoned through practice in La Paz? Are social roles distributed across different spatio-temporal networks? How? This second phase of research also examined spatial schemas or mental maps. These ideas about space were gathered through the use of strategies developed in the field of environmental psychology in which subjects are asked to draw representations of space such as representations of the neighborhood, representations of the city as a whole, and representations of important localities that individuals experience regularly. The idea was to record how people understand and imagine the city.
Berger, Eryn Fe Snyder, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Afrodescendant Youth, Cultural Citizenship, and the Promise of Media Democracy in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Paul B. Garrett
Preliminary abstract: Afrodescendant youth in Argentina currently find themselves navigating competing national discourses and complex transnational identity politics as they struggle to enter the public sphere as both legitimate citizens of the nation-state and vocal members of their diasporic community. My research examines Afrodescendant youth media production in order to understand how young Argentines of African descent conceptualize and assert their cultural belonging and citizenship within shifting racial paradigms and a changing media landscape in Argentina. Within the context of Argentina's recent media reforms and growing transnational Afrodescendant communication networks, I investigate recent efforts to bring visibility to the African Diaspora in Argentina through state-sponsored multicultural initiatives that train Afrodescendant youth media-makers. Taking a critical approach to the promises of inclusivity that have accompanied the state's discourses of multiculturalism and media democracy, this project examines how state-sponsored media workshops both enable and possibly constrain Afrodescendant youth's efforts to challenge exclusionary politics of cultural citizenship in Argentina. I will conduct fieldwork at youth media workshops, followed by a period of multi-sited collaborative research with youth participants in their home communities. Studying the post-production phase will yield new insights into the local impact of youth media projects and provide an opportunity to critically explore how media is conceptualized by Afrodescendant youth as a tool for social mobilization and democratic participation.
Ozarkar, Shantanu Satish, U. of Pune, Pune, India - To aid research on 'Mitochondrial DNA Diversity among Indo-European Language Speaking Agricultural Tribes of Maharashtra, India,' supervised by Dr. Bhaskaran Vijay Bhanu
SHANTANU OZARKAR, then a student at University of Pune, Pune. India, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Mitochondrial DNA Diversity among Indo-European Language Speaking Agricultural Tribes of Maharashtra, India,' supervised by Dr. Bhaskaran Bhanu. Despite cultural and linguistic diversity, Indian populations are largely derived from a common source population that diversified in situ. Available human skeletal record too indicates the genetic continuity since the Mesolithic era in the subcontinent. Cultural and genetic diversification of populations through fission leading to founder effects and drift may have had an impact on the current genetic structure of populations. Further, adoption of new subsistence strategies such as agriculture or pastoralism by the autochthonous hunter gatherers may have had impact on their demography resulting in population expansions or bottlenecks. Arrival of Indo-European speakers too, may have had similar impact. In this context, do the molecular genetic markers show signatures of such events? High copy number within a cell, maternal inheritance, lack of recombination, and a generally higher mutation rate than found in nuclear DNA makes mitochondrial DNA an important tool to reveal evolutionary histories of populations and hence has been extensively used. 15ml blood samples were collected from unrelated tribal individuals belonging to Bhil, Pawara, Mahadeo Koli, Warali and Kokana tibal communities from Western and Northern Maharashtra. DNA was extracted using Phenol-Chloroform extraction protocol. Further mtDNA sequencing analysis of the samples is in progress.
Fernandez Garcia, Sandra, UNED, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Meanings and Senses in Process: An Ethnography of Emerging Practices of Artistic-technological Production in Urban Contexts,' supervised by Dr. Angel Diaz de Rada Brun
SANDRA FERNANDEZ GARCIA, then a graduate student at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, Spain, received a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Meaning and Senses in Process: An Ethnography of Emerging Practices of Artistic-Technological Production in Urban Contexts,' supervised by Dr. Angel Díaz de Rada Brun. The model of artefactual production of prototypes is developed through situated practices of learning by doing (DIY) as well as trans-situated informational exchanges. Thus, by that it is impossible to separate from production. This way of relating and producing generates a circuit of knowledge exchange, in which knowledge is taken as a non-subtractive good. The core idea supporting this is the 'commons.' It is understood in both an economic and a moral sense: as the common 'good.' Thus, it becomes a circuit of gift, as studied by Marcel Mauss, with its obligations to reciprocate. This is a 'total' system of exchange where social positions, sense making, aspects of subsistence, forms of authority and inter-disciplinary relationships come into play for this community of practices. Prototypes are themselves, then, a way of making the world. They become objects of knowledge as a result of learning through processes of incorporated knowledge that is being applied. Because they are concerned with issues of everyday life, and with their development process being a way of understanding these very issues, prototypes become the material results of research accordingly to the meanings themselves that have been produced throughout the workshops as a result of interdisciplinary arts-sciences backgrounds in co-labor.
Spiers, Samuel R., Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'The Historical Archaeology of the Eguafo Polity: Landscapes of Production and Consumption AD 1000-1900,' supervised by Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse
SAMUEL R. SPIERS, while a student at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, received a grant in January 2001 to aid research on the historical archaeology of the Eguafo polity of coastal Ghana, under the supervision of Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse. The goal of Spiers's twenty months of fieldwork was to document changes in settlement patterns and artifact inventories at the site of Eguafo, capital of the kingdom of Eguafo, 1000-1900 C.E. The work including survey, excavation, cataloguing, and archival research and spanned the thousand years of the site's continuous occupation. Preliminary results suggested two main occupation phases: an early phase marked by small, defensive settlements, limited long-distance trade, and limited differentiation in the artifact inventory and a second phase, from roughly the seventeenth century onward, when settlement size increased, long-distance trade goods became more plentiful, and artifact types became increasingly varied. Such transformations in the settlement pattern seemed to have occurred at the height of Eguafo's involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was intended that the completed research would add to the understanding of the archaeological record of coastal Ghana and of African sociopolitical complexity. Further, the findings were to be made available to the people of Eguafo to assist them in tourism development projects.
Johnson, Caley Anne Szewczak, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Baboon Diet in the Forest and Savanna: An Intraspecific Comparison of Nutritional Goals,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman
CALEY JOHNSON, then a graduate student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding April 2014 to aid research on 'Baboon Diet in the Forest and Savanna: An Intraspecific Comparison of Nutritional Goals,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman. During the Plio-Pleistocene, early hominins fed in increasingly open habitats and their diets diversified, including woody/herbaceous and grass-derived foods. Foraging in this new environment is linked with a suite of changes since our last common ancestor with apes, including bipedalism and encephalization. From our savannah origins, it is hypothesized that humans have little evolutionary experience with high-fat and sugary foods. Therefore, modern humans tend to overconsume energy and maintain protein intake, contributing to an obesity crisis. The objective of this study was to model how habitat shapes nutrient priorities in an omnivorous primate, the baboon, which like humans is known for its ecological and dietary flexibility. Feeding observations and collection of food and feces were utilized to assess the nutritional consequences of diet changes during hominin evolution. Numerous studies of stable carbon isotope reconstruction assume that in a forested landscape, individuals did not access and consume grass-derived foods. This study found that rainforest-dwelling baboons in Uganda consume significant amounts of grassy piths. However, that stable carbon isotopes of baboon excreta masks the presence of grass-derived foods. These new results from a forest-dwelling omnivorous primate advise a more nuanced consideration of carbon stable isotope analyses regarding hominin habitat and diet reconstruction.
Anderson, Christine Broughton, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Uncovering and Recovering Cleared Galloway: The Lowland Clearances and Improvement in Scotland,' supervised by Dr. H. Martin Wobst
CHRISTINE B. ANDERSON, then a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in October 2010, to aid research on 'Uncovering and Recovering Cleared Galloway: The Lowland Clearances and Improvement in Scotland,' supervised by Dr. H. Martin Wobst. The concept that clearing the tenant and cottar classes off the land in Galloway, Scotland, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was constructed in tandem with the more popular account of the Highland clearances and the ideology of improvement framed this research project. This concept made the tenant and cottar classes who experienced clearing invisible while also whitewashing the underlying violence and oppression. The goal of this research project was to understand how clearance was manifest in the 'improvement strategies' used by landowners and, more broadly, how the creation, maintenance, and subversion of power were carried out within developing agrarian capitalism. Archival evidence and results from the landscape survey support that strategic choices made by landowners to agriculturally improve their estates resulted in the clearing of tenants and cottars. Written leases and other documentation outlined changes to be carried out on the landscape that drastically altered tenant lifeways. Physical evidence on the ground correlated with the written documentation and is archaeologically significant. The research to date asserts that the practice of clearing in the Lowlands was more nuanced than its Highland counterpart; the ideological and physical processes that constituted agricultural improvement were processes of clearing.