Gohain, Swargajyoti, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Contested Boundaries: Region, Religion and Development in the Borderlands of North East India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft
SWARGAJYOTI GOHAIN, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Contested Boundaries: Region, Religion and Development in the Borderlands of North East India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft. This project conducted fieldwork in western Arunachal Pradesh in North East India -- more specifically, Tawang and West Kameng districts -- between January and November 2010, which constituted the second phase of research. The project concerns spatial discourses among the Monpas of Arunachal Pradesh, a Tibetan Buddhist community who live in the border areas of India, Tibet, and Bhutan. It examines the narratives around the contemporary Monpa demand for autonomy and language politics -- as well as past and present narratives of origin, marriage, and migration -- to show how familiar geographies are contested and alternative geographies imagined. The transnational as well as pan-regional elements reflected in these disparate yet linked narratives chart an imagined geography that does not map onto existing territorial divisions, and problematizes the normative geography of national spaces. This project hopes to contribute to theories of reterritorialization, as well as provide critical sub-texts on the refugee-citizen dichotomy and state-border relations.
Zhang, Amy Qiubei, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Recycled Cities: Remaking Waste in Post-reform Urban China,' supervised by Dr. Helen F. Siu
Preliminary abstract: China's post-reform cities have transformed from centers of production to centers of consumption, and large urban centers like Guangzhou and Beijing currently face a mounting waste crisis as official treatment facilities near capacity. This project follows the circulation of waste objects as they move through official schemes of Waste-to-Energy (WTE incineration), formal recycling programs, protests, and informal scavenging practices and uncovers the entangled values, aspirations, and desires of three groups of actors in their divergent but intersecting attempts to transform waste into something of value in urban China. By examining the debate over how waste is handled by waste experts, waste activists, and the resourcefulness of informal scavengers in their efforts to manage waste, this project addresses what state technological projects, grassroots environmental initiatives, and everyday survival practices suggest about how the urban environment is being remade in contemporary China and in the rapidly developing cities of the global south. This project will inquire into the following three questions: (1) What are the diverse forms of material engagements, meanings, and values (for livelihood and the environment) implicit in various strategies of waste management? (2) How do state-driven waste management schemes, such as WTE incineration and the formalization of recycling, draw on scientific knowledge to win public support, and how do alternative ways of knowing waste challenge these claims? (3) What can the interactions between waste experts, activists, and informal scavengers tell us about governance, ingenuity, and contestation in the re- making of China's urban environment?
Lessing, Shana Abigail, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on ''In Service of Those Who Serve: Psychologists, Ethics, and the Care of Soldiers,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
Preliminary Abstract: Amidst growing public attention to soldier suicides, rising rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, and the psychological hardships of involuntary redeployments, clinical military psychologists have become the focus of vocal public concerns as to the proper psychological care of U.S. troops. At the same time, the 'War on Terror' has brought forth new criticisms concerning the militarization of psychological expertise, and the ethical question of whether military psychologists can serve in the interests of both patient-soldiers and military institutions. Against this background, my project examines how military psychologists themselves articulate, evaluate, and inhabit 'professional ethics,' by approaching professional ethics not only as principles and codified guidelines, but also as questions and problems that are situated, figured, and confronted in particular settings and conditions. Combining archival research, interviews with current and former military psychologists, and ethnographic study at two military psychology training programs, my research also offers new perspectives on the militarization of psychological knowledge and practice, as it examines how the psychological care of the citizen-soldier has historically served not only to further military objectives, but also to enable new public contestations of militarism and national community.
Bartelink, Eric J., Texas A&M U., College Station, TX - To aid research on 'Emerging Diet and Health Patterns in Prehistoric Central California,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright
ERIC JOHN BARTELINK, then a student of Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, was awarded a grant in June 2004 to aid research on 'Emerging Diet and Health Patterns in Prehistoric Central California,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright. Diet and health trends in late Holocene (4950-200 B.P.) central California have been the subject of much recent debate. This research used data gleaned from human skeletal remains to investigate temporal and regional variability in human diet and health patterns in the prehistoric lower Sacramento Valley and San Francisco Bay area of central California. Previous research in the area indicates a shift from the use of high-ranked fauna to the intensified use of lower-ranked resources, such as smaller fauna and acorns. Between May 2004 and January 2005, the grantee examined 511 burials for evidence of skeletal and dental pathology. A subset of the main study sample (n=111) was used to examine dietary patterns through stable carbon and nitrogen bone isotope analysis. Paleopathological indicators suggest a pattern of declining health conditions through time in the Valley, but no change in health in the Bay Area. The stable isotope data from human bone collagen and apatite also indicate significant inter-regional differences between the Bay and Valley. In the Bay, diets shifted from high trophic level marine foods to a more terrestrially focused diet over time. In the Valley, there are no significant dietary trends observed in the data.
Quinn, Colin Patrick, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Inequality in the Presence of Death: Mortuary Rituals in Bronze Age Transylvania,' supervised by Dr. John O'Shea
Preliminary abstract: 'We are all equal in the presence of death' -- Publilius Syrus. Death, as a universal experience, has long been considered a great equalizer. However, mortuary rituals involved in death and burial are an important social context in which social inequalities are often materialized. My research examines how people use mortuary rituals to negotiate social relationships and influence the development of social inequality in Bronze Age Transylvania. My aim is to integrate perspectives of human agency and ideological systems with economic and political trajectories to better understand the tensions that produced dynamic shifts in social inequality in Bronze Age communities. Using demographic and material evidence from the Trascau Mountains and Mures River corridor in southwest Transylvania (Alba County, Romania) during the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (2500-1600 BC), I seek to address (1) how relationships of social inequality in these communities were materialized in mortuary contexts, (2) the rate and extent of change in mortuary rituals throughout the Early and Middle Bronze Age, and (3) whether changes in mortuary rituals, as ideological institutions, reflected or influenced changes in the scale and degree of social, economic, and political inequality in local communities.
Flack, Jessica, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Conflict Management and the Distribution of Social Power in Chimpanzee Society,' supervised by Dr. Frans de Waal
JESSICA FLACK, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in July 2002 to aid research on conflict management and the distribution of social power in macaque and chimpanzee societies, under the supervision of Dr. Frans de Waal. Flack undertook her study in the context of the larger issue of social system robustness, a property of all complex adaptive evolving systems that persist in time. Towards addressing questions of robustness in animal social organization, she and her colleagues identified factors such as distribution of social power that might account for variation in conflict management mechanisms across primate societies. They employed a framework of communication about status-which linked two levels of analysis, the relationship and system levels-to explain the observed covariation in conflict and conflict management mechanisms reported for the macaque genus and applied a modified version of it to chimpanzees. The team tested hypotheses about candidate status signals, relationships between the distribution of social power and conflict management, the importance of potential conflict management mechanisms to social cohesion, and the robustness of social networks in the face of perturbations that disable conflict management mechanisms. To investigate these questions in pigtailed macaques, they used 'knockout' methods (temporary removal of effective policers) to determine how conflict management affected social system dynamics. In chimpanzees, they approached these questions through a comparative study of two captive populations with apparently different distributions of social power.
Watkins, Tammy Y., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Children's Subsistence Contributions to Pastoral Households in the Drylands of East Africa,' supervised by Alexandra Avril Brewis
TAMMY Y. WATKINS, then a student at University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Children's Subsistence Contributions to Pastoral Households in the Drylands of East Africa,' supervised by Alexandra Avril Brewis. This dissertation describes how and when children use subsistence strategies to contribute to livelihoods and the values and outcomes to themselves, their peers, and their households among pastoralists in the drylands of East Africa. Children's contributions to subsistence have been studied among agriculturalists and more recently, among hunter-gatherers. Children may begin to contribute to household livelihood at early ages, depending on the subsistence mode of their society and the environment in which they live. This dissertation addresses basic anthropological questions such as: What is the function of children's subsistence strategies? Who receives the benefits of them? In what environments do children practice their strategies? Which strategies do they practice and when? and What are the biological consequences of children's own actions and worldviews? This dissertation combines nutrition and health methodology and outcomes to evaluate biological variation and adaptation in children by building on the evidence that optimal foraging returns should be based not only on energy returns, but also on nutritional returns and health consequences within cultural and environmental contexts. Finally, meta-analyses of subsistence risk management research within Anthropology reveal a lack of empirical data with which to test models. This project uses empirical data to begin the process of rigorously testing hypotheses about children's roles within households and communities, why children forage, especially in non-foraging societies, and risk management. Results of this research will be valuable not only to Anthropology, but also to government and non-government organizations producing policy related to children, education, food security, livelihoods and development among dryland pastoralists.
Kikon, Dolly, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Blurred Borders: Unsettling the Hill/Valley Divide in Northeast India,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson
DOLLY KIKON, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Blurred Borders: Unsettling the Hill/Valley Divide in Northeast India,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson. Hill and valley occupy a critical place in the development of anthropological theory of societies in the eastern Himalayan region. Constructions of social histories and political identities have followed colonially created categories of hill and valley since the nineteenth century, and differences between the topographic locations have been the basis of organizing territorial borders in the region. This is most pronounced in Northeast India, where federal units often have internal borders that mime practices of international borders and where postcolonial legislation has been grafted onto colonial systems of governance. The research objective is to study how hill/valley spatial categories continue to influence and sustain historically contentious borders, laws, and citizenship regimes in Nagaland and Assam in Northeast India.
Pante, Michael Christopher, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid 'A Taphonomic Investigation of Vertebrate Fossil Assemblages from Beds III and IV, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Robert J. Blumenschine
MICHAEL C. PANTE, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A Tophanomic Investigation of Vertebrate Fossil Assemblages from Beds III and IV, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Robert J. Blumenschine. This doctoral project is a comparative and experimental study of fossils from Beds III and IV (1.15-.6 ma), Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. The goals met were: 1) to carry out experiments designed to address the hydraulic transport of bone fragments created by hominins and carnivores during carcass consumption; and 2) to curate and conduct the first analysis of the Bed III and IV fossil assemblages. Flume experimentation was used to produce a database of over 1800 observations aimed at identifying variables that are associated with the hydraulic transport of individual bone fragments. Initial analyses show that animal size and the dimensions of bone fragments affect the hydraulic potential of specimens. In addition to flume experiments over 100,000 fossils and artifacts stored since the 1960s and 70s were curated and organized. Vertebrate fossils from two sites WK and JK 2 were studied in detail to determine the processes responsible for the modification, transport and deposition of the assemblages. Preliminary analyses based on the incidences of butchery marks and tooth marks indicate both hominins and carnivores contributed to the accumulation of the assemblages. This data will be used to assess the evolution of human carnivory through comparisons with the older FLK 22 site.
Pante, Michael C. 2013. The Larger Mammal Fossil Assemblage from JK2, Bed III, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania: Implications for the Feeding Behavior of Homo erectus. Journal of Humanj Evolution 64(1):68-82.