Minks, Amanda, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox
AMANDA MINKS, while a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in June 2002 to aid research on 'Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox. In the past thirty years, Miskitu Indians have migrated in increasing numbers from mainland Nicaragua to Com Island, off the Caribbean coast. This migration has transformed the social and political landscape of the island, which, since the nineteenth century, has been populated primarily by English-speaking Creole people. Also transformed are the expressive and socializing practices of Miskitu islanders. The aim of the research supported by Wenner-Gren was to document the repertoires of Miskitu children's expressive practices across a range of contexts, providing a lens on shifting processes of socialization among peers and across generations. The term expressive practices encompasses a range of interrelated communicative activities (musical, linguistic, and kinetic) approached from the perspectives of style, performance, and poetics. The imagination is key not only in terms of children's play activities, but also in terms of developing social imaginaries that construct ties among people across time and space. Children were observed in formal socializing contexts, such as the school and the church, as well as the informal contexts of home and outdoor play spaces. Audio recordings of children's interaction were transcribed in collaboration with Miskitu consultants, and interviews were conducted with adults dealing with topics such as migration histories, gender roles, socialization practices, religion, and labor. This research attempts to make connections between the large-scale political and economic forces that are radically changing Com Island's social structure, and the small-scale interactions in which children are socialized - and socialize one another - in a multilingual, culturally diverse environment.
Chua, Emily Huiching, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on ''Culture Can Solve Problems': Communitarian Media Ethics and the Cultural Ambitions of Television Production in China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong
EMILY H. CHUA, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on ''Culture Can Solve Problems': Communitarian Media Ethics and the Cultural Ambitions of Television Production in China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. As economic reform transforms China's mass media from a formidable Party-propaganda apparatus into a teeming culture industry, how are state-employed media producers responding to the changing political and economic conditions of their work? In the early twentieth century, Chinese journalists saw themselves as intellectual-activists who gave voice to the conscience of society and guided the country towards self-improvement. During the Mao era, the Communist Party's claim to exclusive ideological leadership turned the mass media into a mouthpiece of the Party-state. The end of Mao's revolutionary project and the rise of Deng's market-based approach have left China's media producers struggling to redefine the nature of their work. On the one hand, commercialization depoliticizes the media, allowing it to operate more like a forum of society than an instrument of the state. On the other hand, media producers are themselves now at the mercy of commercial forces. In the struggle for economic survival, they cannot afford to play the social critic they aspire to be. Political propaganda comes to be replaced by consumer entertainment instead, and society's conscience remains in need of a voice. From this situation spring the many new and difficult ethical problems with which China's idealistic and energetic young media producers now grapple.
Schauer, Matthew Philip, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Warfare on the Inca Frontier: Fortification, Imperialism, and Interaction on the Frontier in Northern Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Harold Keeley
MATTHEW SCHAUER, then a student at University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in April 2009 to aid research on 'Warfare on the Inca Frontier: Fortification, Imperialism, and Interaction on the Frontier in Northern Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Keeley. In the northern Ecuadorian highlands, the Inca constructed fourteen fortifications at Pambamarca to subjugate a local chiefdom called the Cayambe. These sites are clustered together yet vary in the number of walls, structures, defensives, and size. The purpose of this dissertation project was to explain the variability and clustering of these sites and determine the types of activities that took place. This study was carried out in three phases. The first phase was survey using a combination of methods to establish a typology identifying a three-tier hierarchy of fortress sites. The next phase of research involved a systematic test sampling program from the three types. The purpose of this phase was to determine the density and distribution of occupation across a site. The final phase involved larger excavation units to expose what type of activities were happening at these sites, the sequence of occupation and who exactly was occupying these sites. Preliminary results suggest that different types fulfilled different roles. The imperial strategy of the Pambamarca complex of fortifications appears to have functioned as a complex network of imperial garrisons meant to prevent incursions from across the frontier with smaller sites serving as watchtowers for mutual support and defense.
Hansford, Frances G., Oxford U., Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Bias and Discrimination in Intra-Household Food Allocation: Case Study of a Rural Brazilian Population,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White
FRANCES G. HANSFORD, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, England, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'Bias and Discrimination in Intra-Household Food Allocation: Case Study of a Rural Brazilian Population,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White. Dissertation fieldwork was undertaken in the municipality of Gameleira, in the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. The work involved collecting anthropometric, dietary recall, and socio-demographic, economic and health survey data in 39 households, situated in two adjacent locations populated by unskilled and semi-skilled seasonal and permanent sugar workers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with women in most households, exploring food-related norms and behaviours, gender roles, and intra-household relations. At a later stage, intensive observation was undertaken in a sub-sample of six households, selected for their intra-household nutritional outcomes. The data reveal the co-existence of under- and over-nutrition within the population and within some households, conditions characteristic of the 'nutrition transition'. It is not clear whether divergences in intra-household nutrition are partly explained by biases in intra-household food allocation; no glaring evidence of biases was uncovered, but more subtle differences in dietary diversity may emerge from the dietary data. Anti-female discrimination, present in many aspects of life in an essentially patriarchal society, does not seem to 'spill over' to food allocation. Food allocation may constitute one of the few arenas of domestic life over which women have control and therefore use to redress perceived gendered injustices in other domestic spheres.
Mahmud, Lilith, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Seeking Sisterhood: Elite Constructions of Gender in the Italian Freemasonry,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld
LILITH MAHMUD, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in June 2005 to aid research on 'Seeking Sisterhood: Elite Constructions of Gender in the Italian Freemasonry,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld. This project examined the making of gender in elite circles through the ethnographic study of Masonic Lodges in Italy. Through participant observation and in-depth interviews, the grantee studied the everyday lives of upper-class men and women members of four different Masonic Orders, providing an ethnographic account of this (in)famous esoteric organization -formerly a secret society for men only- that continues to operate in Italy among widespread conspiracy theories. Paying close attention to performances of intellectualism and 'high' culture, exclusionary politics, and both esoteric and social activities throughout the research, this study examined the role of secrecy in the establishment of relative power within an elite group, and the gendering of particular forms of femininities and masculinities among the upper classes of society. Findings emerging from research undertaken under this grant highlight the complexity and contingency of gender as a category, and the significance of cultural and social capital, in addition to financial resources, for the making of European elites.
Mahmud, Lilith. 2012. 'The World is a Forest of Symbols': Italian Freemasonry and the Practice of Discretion. American Ethnologist 39(2):425-438.
Buchanan, Meghan Elizabeth, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Warfare and the Materialization of Daily Life at the Mississippian Common Field Site,' supervised by Dr. Susan Alt
MEGHAN E. BUCHANAN, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Warfare and the Materialization of Daily Life at the Mississippian Common Field Site,' supervised by Dr. Susan Alt. This project examined the ways in which Mississippian Period warfare impacted the daily practices of people living at the Common Field site in southeastern Missouri. Earlier research on violence in the region has focused on overt manifestations of violence (palisades, burning events, iconography, skeletal trauma), leading many to suggest that Mississippian violence was largely low-level raiding and skirmishing that impacted warriors and those few unfortunate enough to get caught during raids. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in war-torn regions, this project suggests that the Mississippian Midwest is best characterized as a warscape in which the everyday threat of violence created new conditions for the enactment and performance of daily activities. Excavations and artifact analysis conducted as part of this research indicates that the inhabitants of Common Field constructed their palisade soon after settling, created new ceramic vessel construction practices, and engaged in food procurement strategies that minimized potential loss of life. The site was ultimately attacked and burned, people caught in the attack were left unburied and exposed to animals, and much of the region was abandoned. In sum, this project demonstrates that regional violence had both daily and historical impacts in the Mississippian Midwest.
Ritchie, Jason, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing,' supervised by Dr. Matti Bunzl
JASON RITCHIE, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing,' supervised by Dr. Matti Bunzi. Research focused on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender -- or 'queer'-- Palestinians who live in or travel to Israel. The project is part of a broader interest in the relationship between sexuality and race in ostensibly democratic nation-states at the historical convergence of neoliberal capitalism and 'clash of civilizations' discourses, which have facilitated the increasing normalization of homosexuals and the increasing marginalization of racialized -- especially Arab -- others. Against this backdrop, the plight of queer Palestinians -- in Israel and in many Western countries -- has emerged as an effective tool for normalized queers to engage in nationalist politics and indirectly advocate for their own projects by constructing 'homophobia' as the sine qua non of the illiberal, non-Western/non-Israeli other. Rather than taking for granted the centrality of Palestinian homophobia or the benevolence of Israeli liberalism, the project utilized extended ethnographic research with queer Palestinians to explore the uses of sexuality and race in the disciplinary practices of the Israeli state and the possibilities -- or not -- of social change emanating out of spaces defined and constrained by those practices.
Glasser, Jonathan, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Performing Granada: Al-Andalus and Memory on the Moroccan-Algerian Frontier,' supervised by Dr. Kelly M. Askew
JONATHAN GLASSER, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Performing Granada: Al-Andalus and Memory on the Moroccan-Algerian Frontier,' supervised by Dr. Kelly M. Askew. Ethnographic and archival research in France and in the eastern Moroccan border city of Oujda suggests that the Maghrebi-Andalusi musical tradition sometimes known as gharn?t?? subsists within a framework of patrimony. Its framing as an inalienable public inheritance has long been a prominent feature of discourse among the performers, association members, scholars, and largely elite connoisseurs who constitute its community of listeners and practitioners. The concept of patrimony expresses and heightens the music's aura of historical authenticity and the sense of conscious group possession; it also rhetorically fuels the public project of conservation and diffusion. At the same time, musicians and listeners persistently point to the existence of counterpublic notions of patrimony, by which individuals allegedly withhold aspects of the tradition from free transmission. These allegations have circulated since the beginning of the twentieth-century project of musical conservation. This tension within the patrimonial concept suggests that not everyone accepts the basic premises of the modernist project of cultural salvage. Yet, at the same time, allegations of hoarding buttress public calls to safeguard the repertoire from oblivion. Patrimony turns out to be a complex, layered framework whose internal tensions lend the musical genre's social location both ambiguity and genealogical pathos.
Wheeler, Dean H., U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Elite Management of Intensive Agricultural Production: A Comparison of Two Late-Terminal Classic Maya Polities,' supervised by Dr. Olivier de Montmollin
DEAN H. WHEELER, then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in February 2005 to aid research on 'Elite Management of Intensive Agricultural Production: A Comparison of Two Late-Terminal Classic Maya Polities,' supervised by Dr. Oliveir de Montmollin. A full coverage systematic regional survey in the Upper Grijalva Basin, a Mayan setting in Chiapas, Mexico on the southwest periphery of the Maya lowlands, collected data on two neighboring Late-Terminal Classic (A.D. 650-950) Maya polities with differing needs for agricultural intensification due to differences in the distribution and extent of soils good for farming, and in the availability of water resources. The data collected will be used to address the primary research objective -- to determine the degree to which elites managed intensive agricultural production on terraces in these two polities. During the survey, architecture was the primary feature used to define sites. Architectural features were divided into two general categories -- terraces and structures -- and were mapped using Brunton compass, tape, and GPS. Although data analysis is in the preliminary stages, the evidence collected has already revealed much in regards to the research objective. In the more agriculturally marginal piedmont zone of the Morelos polity 812 agricultural terraces were recorded, whereas no agricultural terraces were found in the San Lucas polity where the extensive distribution of alluvial soils results in ample prime agricultural land. This indicates that elites in the San Lucas polity were not involved in the management of intensive agricultural production on terraces. In the Morelos polity, the high number of agricultural terraces recorded, and the proximity of agricultural terraces to elite dwellings and civic structures, leaves open the possibility that elites directly managed food production on terraces.
Larratt-Smith, Whitney Jane, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Of Water and Life: An Ethnographic Intervention in the Alberta Oil Sands,' supervised by Dr. Suzana Sawyer
Preliminary abstract: Through ethnographic fieldwork in Northern Alberta, this research examines the emergent forms and meanings of water among a diversity of actors, human and non-human, enrolled in the effects the Canadian oil sands industry. In particular, I investigate the relations informing First Nation's claims that water is more than what the State calls a natural resource, that it is a sacred, living being 'losing its soul' through industrial upgrading processes. As a crucial element for the oil sand upgrading process and an integral entity in ancestral lifeways in Fort Chipewyan, water is currently a medium through which scientific and non-scientific practices create different domains of articulation for enacting the harmful and/or benign impacts of industry. In this context, water is not a singular, pre-existing entity, its being is performed by diverse actors with various capabilities (Latour 1993, Law 2002). This research first asks: What is water across an array of techno-scientific and ancestral practices? What are its capacities, roles, and potentials, and how is it apprehended? Second, how is water related to the making of life in these heterogeneous practices? My points of entry to answer these questions in the Athabasca delta are threefold. By accompanying Fort Chipewyan hunters and fisherman, independent academic scientists, and government water quality monitoring researchers, I engage these actors as they enact the various capacities of water in its multiple emergences- tracing its roles in the making, refusing, and constraining of particular forms of life, illness and death for human and nonhuman beings. In particular, I ask how First Nation's prac