Putt, Shelby Stackhouse, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Experimental Investigation of the Co-evolution of Language and Toolmaking in the Brain: A fNIRS Study,' supervised by Dr. Robert G. Franciscus
Preliminary abstract: Early Stone Age tools offer an indirect window into the cognitive behaviors of early Homo. This study will investigate which regions of the brain are most active in novice and expert flintknappers as they progress from making expedient flakes similar to those made by the first hominin toolmakers 2.5 million years ago to producing large core bifacial stone tools and debitage output similar to the earliest handaxes in the archaeological record around 1.6 million years ago. Specifically, a neuroimaging technique known as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) will be used to test whether the presence of spoken language during learning conditions leads to measurable differences in neural activation patterning. This study aims to increase the current understanding of the co-evolutionary relationship between technology and language during the time frame of early Homo and to assist in the interpretation of fossil and archaeological evidence for the evolution of cognition and language in human ancestors.
Fiske, Amelia Morel, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'The Making of Harm in the Ecuadorian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Wiener
AMELIA M. FISKE, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Making of Harm in the Ecuadorian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Wiener. In 1972, the U.S.-based Texaco Corporation began oil production in the upper Ecuadorian Amazon. For 20 years, the company extracted oil unhindered by regulations designed to protect the health of oil workers or the environment, resulting in widespread environmental destruction and human suffering. The resulting contamination and relationship between oil and health have been widely disputed in the 18-year Aguinda v. Texaco lawsuit, as well as in ongoing conflicts around oil. Since Texaco, oil production has expanded with operations by the state company PetroEcuador, as well as dozens of foreign companies. Harm from oil, in the forms of contaminated water, toxic gas emissions, continual oil spills, health problems, and social division, remains a pressing concern for people in the Amazon today. This project follows contemporary interventions into the question of harm, paying attention to how harm is defined and formed by practices of measurement, documentation, and presentation. This project makes 'harm' the subject of an ethnographic investigation in order to raise questions about the consequences of extractive activity, and how these forms of evaluation may themselves be changing the way life is lived in the Amazon today.
Warner, John Giffen, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Fluid Markets: Citizenship, State Power, and the Informal Water Economy in Contemporary Yemen,' supervised by Dr. Michael Blim
Preliminary abstract: Environmental discourses often locate the origin of Yemen's water crisis in the parallel problems of waning state power and a discordant national identity. Set in the capital Sana'a and the watershed in which it sits, my project is an anthropological study of Yemen's water regime that explores how Yemenis negotiate and understand their increasing reliance on informal urban water markets as they emerge within a proliferating skein of state juridical and regulatory mechanisms. Rather than accept at face value a 'failed state' or 'weak state' hypothesis in the Yemeni case, this project considers how the everyday practices of water provisioning produce and reconfigure the state and economic citizenship under rapidly changing environmental conditions. Through an analysis of archival material and ethnographic research with bureaucratic officials, enforcement officers, well owners, traders, and consumers, I trace the circulation of water through various relations of value, il/legality, and regulation and across multiple and layered technological architectures. In so doing, I investigate how understandings of entitlement, general welfare, and basic human needs articulate with ideas of belonging -- in other words, the material conditions of citizenship -- and with varied modes of rule employed in the ideological and technical development of urban water infrastructures. My research thus interrogates how, through the proliferation of informal market relations, the presence and power of the Yemeni state is still recognized, and perhaps reinforced.
Khan, Arsalan Khalid, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Performing Ummah: Practice, Piety, and Moral Order among the Tablighi Jama'at in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Richard Handler
ARSALAN KHALID KHAN, then a student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in May 2010, to aid 'Performing Ummah: Practice, Piety, and Moral Order among the Tablighi Jama'at in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Richard Handler. This research investigates how Pakistani Tablighis (practitioners of the Tablighi Jama'at), a transnational Islamic preaching movement, actualize Islamic ideals in the space of the preaching movement. Tablighis state that preaching (dawat/tabligh) is completely different from giving 'speeches' or 'mere talk.' It is, they say, a 'ritual practice' (amaal), which, if done according to the method established by the Prophet, cultivates the moral and ethical sensibilities necessary for the Pakistani nation (millat) and the global Islamic community (ummah). Drawing on twelve months of ethnographic research based in Karachi, the research explores the significance Tablighis place on preaching, and their distinct ideas about the power of ritual speech to transform speakers and listeners, turning them into moral persons. Furthermore, the research explores how these ideas about ritual speech help organize a hierarchical form of sociality that Tablighis see as distinctly Islamic, a feature that differentiates them from other Islamic groups and movements in Pakistan. This research contributes to growing body of literature on the Islamic revival and religious revivals more generally as well as to scholarship that addresses the relationship between speech, religion and morality in various religious traditions.
Pakendorf, Dr. Brigitte, Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany - To aid research on 'Linguistic and Genetic Perspectives on the Prehistory of the Yakuts,' supervised by Dr. Bernard Comrie
Pakendorf, Brigitte. 2007. Contact in the Prehistory of the Sakha (Yakuts) Linguistic and Genetic Perspectives. LOT: Netherlands
Pakendorf, Brigitte. 2007. From Possibility to Prohibition: A Rare Grammaticalization Pathway. Linguistic Typology 11:515-540
Pakendorf, Brigitte. 2007. Mating Patterns Amongst Siberian Reindeer Herders: Inferences From mtDNA and Y-Chromosomal Analyses. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133(3):1013-1027
Pakendorf, Brigitte. 2007. The ?Non-Possessive? Use of Possessive Suffixes in Sakha (Yakut). Turkic Languages, 11(2): 226-234
Pakendorf, Brigitte, Innokentij N. Novgorodov, Vladimir L. Osakovskij, and Mark Stoneking. 2007. Mating Patterns amongst Siberian Reindeer Herders: Inferences from mtDNA and Y-Chromosomal Analyses. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133(3):1013-1027.
Pakendorf, Brigitte. 2005 Language Loss vs Retention in result of Prehistoric Migrations in Siberia: A Linguistic-Genetic Synthesis. In Creating Outsiders: Endangered Languages, Migration, and Marginalization, (N. Crawhall and N. Ostler, eds.), Foundation for Endangered Languages: Bath, England.
Pakendorf, Brigitte, I.N. Novgorodov, V.L. Osakovskij, et al. 2006. Investigating the Effects of Prehistoric Migrations in Siberia: Genetic Variation and the Origins of Yakuts. Human Genetics 120:334-353.
Dickinson, Maggie, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Re-calibrating the Welfare State: The Politics of Food Insecurity in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
MAGGIE DICKINSON, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Re-Calibrating the Welfare State: The Politics of Food Insecurity in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings. This ethnography of food insecurity in North Brooklyn found that, despite the growth of state and private charitable food aid, the resources that currently exist in this area are inadequate for preventing food insecurity, particularly for those families and individuals who are unemployed or marginally employed. The work-first orientation of welfare policy, codified in the 1996 welfare reform legislation, continues to impact people's abilities to access food aid, making it far more difficult for families and individuals who are unemployed or who rely on cash welfare benefits to maintain a Food Stamp case than for families where at least one household member is employed. These findings reflect a broader, neoliberal approach to urban poverty governance based on the idea that poverty should be dealt with by encouraging poor and working class people to participate in the labor market through a system of state-administered incentives and punishments. It finds that food aid programs based on this model are inadequate at preventing food insecurity for the poorest urban dwellers and that food program recipients, working with community-based organizations and anti-hunger advocates, have begun to challenge this approach to providing food aid.
Taneja, Anand Vivek, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Sacred as History: Jinns and Justice in the Ruins of Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Partha Chatterjee
ANAND VIVEK TANEJA, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'The Sacred as History: Jinns and Justice in the Ruins of Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Partha Chatterjee. This research is concerned with contemporary ritual practices around medieval Islamic ruins in Delhi. Many of these sacralized ruins are those of 'secular' buildings, not intended to be places of worship - palaces, dams, hunting lodges. The grantee argues that the sacredness of these ruins can be understood through an alternate ontology and epistemology linked both to the Islamic tradition, and to the massive disruptions and dislocations that have characterized everyday life in Delhi over the past hundred years. Through this research, the grantee argues for understanding the sacred as history, understanding these terms to be co-constitutive rather than antithetical. The emphasis on alternate epistemologies also offers a way of understanding relations between religiously defined communities beyond the usual approaches of secularism and tolerance. This research explored the understanding of Islam among non-Muslims who come to these ruins, and argues for the idea of Islam not as an identity, but as a remembered way of being, linked to pre-modern ideas of justice and ethics, and with powers of healing across confessional divides.
Taneja, Anand Vivek. 2012. Saintly Visions: Other Histories and History's Others in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi. Indian Economic and Social History Review. 49(4):557-590.
Ihmoud, Sarah Emily, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Policing the Intimate in Contemporary Israel,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Hale
Preliminary abstract: his project investigates the role of sexual racism and gender violence in Israeli settler colonialism, and the extent to which territorial expansion relies on ceding state power to civil society actors. Israeli state securitization and surveillance strategies, which utilize a variety of juridical-spatial strategies of segregation (e.g. dividing walls and checkpoints), are increasingly echoed in informal mechanisms of civil society control of the most intimate relations--what I call 'social forms of policing.' The recent conviction in a Jerusalem court of a Palestinian man for 'rape by deception' of a Jewish woman and the 'lynching' of a young Palestinian man accused of 'making passes at Jewish girls' illustrate this trend. The aims of this project are threefold: First, to examine aspects of Israeli state policies that regulate the Palestinian body and intimate sphere and second, to examine the rise of surveillance strategies that move beyond the formal bounds of the state--social forms of policing the intimate. Finally, given the polarization emanating from both the Israeli state and civil society, to examine the forms of and motivations for transgressing racial boundaries and engaging in interracial intimacy. Despite Israeli state policies discouraging interracial sociability and extensive social forms of policing, youth from both groups regularly and extensively defy these limits. This is especially true for male Palestinian citizens of Israel, and female Jewish Israelis. These defiant youth are the primary subjects of my ethnography. The politics of erotics at play in these subjects' negotiation of social intimacy and interracial sexuality destabilize the Israeli state's imaginary and open possibilities for newly imagined futures of ending military occupation and pathways to Israeli Jewish-Palestinian coexistence.
Murney, Maureen A., U. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada - To aid 'Navigating Motherhood and Medicine: A Case Study of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Ukraine,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
MAUREEN MURNEY, while a student at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, received funding in September 2004 to aid research on the intersection of addiction, stigma, reproduction and healthcare in western Ukraine, while under the supervision of Dr. Michael Lambek. Specifically, Murney's research explores the relationship between discourses of normative behaviour, health-seeking practices within and outside official healthcare institutions, and the daily lived experiences of Ukrainian women who are addicted to alcohol, especially women of reproductive age. The project is based upon twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Ukraine with healthcare providers, development staff, social scientists, and women and men who self-identify as alcoholics; fieldwork began just prior to the Orange Revolution in 2004. Most of the research was conducted in large urban settings, though some attention was paid to the particular challenges faced by people living in rural villages. Fieldwork indicates that in western Ukraine, the traditional seat of Ukrainian nationalism and religion, the multiple discourses on values and social change emphasize references to the pagan goddess Berehynia and the Christian Virgin Mary, in order to characterize an explicitly anti-Soviet role for the 'authentic' Ukrainian woman as protector of family and nation. Accordingly, women who become addicted to alcohol are seen to have consciously rejected the essence of Ukrainian womanhood. As such, alcohol dependent women are far more reluctant than men to 'confess' and seek treatment, particularly in official healthcare institutions; alternative healing strategies are often considered to be more effective, modern, democratic, and/or confidential.
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.