Peterson, Leighton C., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'New Technologies and Emerging Communicative Practices: A Discourse-Centered Approach to Navajo Language & Culture,' supervised by Dr. Joel F. Sherzer
LEIGHTON C. PETERSON, while a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on the effects of new communication and information technologies on Navajo social and linguistic practices, under the supervision of Dr. Joel F. Sherzer. Between 2001 and 2004, private foundations and federal initiatives made computers, cell phones, and Internet technologies available for the first time to a large percentage of Navajos. Peterson spent twenty months conducting ethnographic research on technology as both a context for and a medium of linguistic vitality and transformation in contemporary Navajo communities. The research involved participant observation, interviews, and discourse-centered examinations of information and communications technologies in use. Peterson documented beliefs and practices surrounding the new media technologies and language use; specific, emerging communicative practices; and connections and disjunctures between local experiences with technology and more general technological discourses. Principal case studies included Navajo-language hip-hop artists who used technology to produce and disseminate their work; monolingual elderly Navajos who learned to write and send email in English as a tool of empowerment; and the flow of Navajo jokes and stories to and from virtual and face-to-face interactions. The data were expected to permit deeper investigations into the ways in which Navajos negotiate new media experiences through discourse and communicative practice.
Ficek Torres, Rosa Elena, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Migration and Integration Along the Pan American Highway in Panama's Darien Gap,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing
ROSA FICEK TORRES, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Migration and Integration along the Pan American Highway in Panama's Darien Gap,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing. The researcher's dissertation examines how a powerful road-building dream of physical connection created regions at national and hemispheric scales in Latin America. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in Darien province, Panama, where the Pan American Highway remains an on-going but unfinished project. The researcher mapped the changing social geography of Darien in relationship of the highway- how people, plants and animals move in, out, and through Darien, and how this has changed over time since the highway's construction. Oral community histories focused on the twentieth-century migrations of Afro-Darienita, indigenous Choco, and mestizo settler ethnicities. Participant-observation focused on current movements of people, cattle, logs, and agricultural products along the highway as well as everyday experiences of marginality in Darien. By tracing and historicizing mobility along the Pan American Highway, this research suggests that region-making does not happen through the unfettered movement of people and things. In Darien, these movements are controlled by state and foreign organizations. What matters is not that things move, but how they move. Data on mobility and on marginality in Darien, will enable the researcher to theorize how regions are made at the national (Panmanian) level and hemispheric (Latin American) level through the analysis of a single road-building project.
Karim, Tazin Refat, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Experimenting with Study Drugs: Legacies of Pharmaceutical Enhancement in American Higher Education,' supervised by Dr. Linda M. Hunt
TAZIN REFAT KARIM, then a student at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Experimenting with Study Drugs: Legacies of Pharmaceutical Enhancement in American Higher Education,' supervised by Dr. Linda M. Hunt. The circulation of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity (ADHD) drugs such as Adderall for medical, recreational, and academic purposes has become a normative part of the college experience for many Americans. This research relied on anthropological theories and methods to contextualize individual experiences with ADHD and/or Adderall as part of a larger movement towards the pharmaceuticalization of American culture, and specifically, higher education. The interview phase included (23) non-prescription users, (11) prescription users, and (11) non-users who were recruited through convenience snowball sampling in order to trace the micro-economies formed around prescriptions for Adderall. This data shed light on the various strategies students developed in order to maintain agency and rationalize their behaviors as medically, socially, and ethically appropriate. During the participant-observation phase, the researcher identified and followed eleven students from the interviews and examined their interactions with peers, educators, and medical professionals. This data indicates that the circulation and use of Adderall is regulated by a complex moral economy of stakeholders, each motivated by their own ideologies around health and performance. As a result, this project provides insight on how America's growing dependence on pharmaceuticals continues to influence our identities and interactions with the social world.
Nunez Vega, Jorge Oswaldo, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Financial Nationalism: Imagining Catalonia through the Banking System,' supervised by Dr. Alan Klima
JORGE NUÑEZ, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Financial Nationalism: Imagining Catalonia through the Banking System,' supervised by Dr. Alan Klima. This ethnography is about the ethics and aesthetics of personal savings in Catalonia with a focus on investment and speculation. It documents the allocation of public debt amongst citizens, the purchase of toxic assets by ill-advised bank customers, and the everyday life of non-professional online traders. At the same time, it is a study of money cultures based on notions of citizenship, consumption, and technology. Its hypothesis suggests that after the housing bubble, a sizeable number of low and middle-income savers became a ready-made source of liquidity for both the Catalan government and the Spanish stock exchange system. This happened through the retailing of billions of Euros in patriotic bonds, preferred shares and subordinated debt, and financial derivatives to everyday citizens, triggering a cultural conflict between preexisting local moralities of savings and emerging global notions of investment and speculation. The main argument the study develops emerges out of a dialogue with individual savers about the morality of money. However, it also takes into account the point of view of several other key actors in the word of finance such as bankers, account managers, brokers, traders, public servants, consumer associations, financial journalists, public relation experts, activists, politicians, and online forum users.
Deutsch, Cheryl Lynn, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'The Traffic of Desire: Economic Growth, Environmental Sustainability, and Transportation Planning in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Keith Murphy
Preliminary abstract: In a recent decision, Delhi's High Court directly challenged the car culture of India's growing middle class. Striking down a lawsuit brought by car-owners against a new bus system in the capital city, the Court argued: 'A developed country is not one where the poor own cars. It is one where the rich use public transport.' The Court's decision gave a go-ahead to convert over 300 kilometers of vehicle lanes into bus-only corridors along the city's congested road network and reflects a shift in thinking about urban development away from consumer culture and towards environmental sustainability. Transportation planners now face the challenge of implementing this new Bus Rapid Transit system and, with it, re-engineering the car culture of Delhi's middle class. Through one year of ethnographic research with Delhi's transportation planners, this project will bring to light the contestations at work in changing conceptions of development through infrastructures of mobility.
Stamatopoulou-Robbins, Sophia Chloe, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'West Bank Waste: Governance and Garbage in Two Post-Oslo Municipalities,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod
SOPHIA STAMATOPOULOU-ROBBINS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'West Bank Waste: Governance and Garbage in Two Post-Oslo Municipalities,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod. This project investigates the politics of waste management in the West Bank. By exploring a spectrum of waste sites and circulations -- from land-filling to cross-boundary sewage flows and the growing Palestinian-Israeli trade in used clothes and scrap metal -- it analyzes the effects of geographical separation, 'state-building' efforts, and continued occupation in the absence of a Palestinian state. Waste is inseparable from the question of value. It also plays on the movement between visible and invisible. To historicize and to observe its routes of circulation, the discourses to which it gives rise and the management practices to which it is subject is therefore crucial to understanding shifts in value, visibility, and the emergence of categories through which people live their lives. With the early 1990s began an era of separation between West Bank Palestinians and Israeli citizens that is now an organizing principle of life in the area. Among the effects of this separation were two major, linked developments: 1) The division between an 'Israeli market' and, in the West Bank, a 'Palestinian market;' and 2) The treatment of Israel and the West Bank as two distinct 'environments,' the protection of which the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA), respectively, are held responsible. Through twelve months of participant observation, interviews and archival research this project examines the makeover of sewage from a public health issue to a natural resource, of household waste from fertilizer to source of public debt and the emergence of spaces within the 'Palestinian market' for the trade in what Israelis discard across the Green Line. These transformations of value intersect with the emergence of important categories such as the 'shared environment' and the 'responsible citizen,' while at times rendering invisible processes such as colonization and the growing differentiation between responsibility and authority. This study thus aims to intervene, among other things, in debates about the implications of separation and the post1994 'transfer of authority' to the PA, over parts of the occupied territories, for Palestinians' everyday lives.
Howells, Michaela Emily, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'The Impact of Psychosocial Stress on Gestation Length and Pregnancy Outcomes in American Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Darna Dufour
MICHAELA E. HOWELLS, then a student at University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'The Impact of Psychosocial Stress on Gestation Length and Pregnancy Outcomes in American Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Darna Dufour. The objective of this research is to determine the relationship between chronic maternal psychosocial stress on spontaneous abortion, gestation length, and neonate body size. In order to achieve this goal, the grantee conducted a biocultural, longitudinal, prospective study of pregnancy outcomes in 184 women experiencing significant shifts in cultural identity in American Samoa. Two interrelated indicators of psychosocial stress -- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody concentration and status incongruence -- were paired with monthly maternal interviews to assess the effects of stress on pregnancy outcomes. EBV antibody concentrations represent a broad, non-specific response to psychosocial stressors. Status incongruence is related to a woman's status within the community and arises when an individual is unable to resolve traditional and nontraditional markers of status. This study follows from their first prenatal care appointment through to their pregnancies natural conclusion and will help clarify the effects of psychosocial stress on pregnancy outcomes. Pregnancy outcomes will be assessed in terms of neonate size for gestation. Possible outcomes include spontaneous abortions, preterm births (? 36 weeks) and full-term births. This study aims to add to our knowledge of the factors associated with pregnancy loss, premature delivery, and infants born small-for-gestational-age in a non-western population of women.
Mohaiemen, Naeem, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Past is Many Countries: Socialist Bangladesh, Rumors of Counterrevolution, and the Return of Islam,' supervised by Dr. David Scott
Preliminary abstract: The British Indian empire ended in 1947 with the partition of India and Pakistan. In 1971, the 'Muslim nation' ideology of Pakistan was rejected by its Eastern half, which became independent Bangladesh following the Socialist ideals of the liberation leader Sheikh Mujib. Islamist groups argued that the creation of Bangladesh was a mistake, as it ruptured hopes for a globe-spanning 'Muslim world.' They therefore celebrated as the 'return of religion' the 1975 counterrevolution that murdered Mujib and replaced his Socialism with Islamism. My project looks at the social processes by which this unraveling happened. I investigate the event in its time and a