Lin, Hsiu-Man, U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'The Biological Evidence of the San-Pau-Chu-Site, Taiwan, and Its Association with Austronesian Migration,' supervised by Dr. Osbjorn M. Pearson
HSIU-MAN LIN, then a student at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, received funding in June 2005 to aid research on 'The Biological Evidence of the San-Pau-Chu-Site, Taiwan, and Its Association with Austronesian Migration,' supervised by Dr. Osbjorn M. Pearson. The general aim of this research is to characterize genetic variation in native population(s) in Taiwan as a tool to test hypotheses about population relationships and possible migrations in the southern Pacific. To date, we have collected samples of forty-one individuals from the San-Pau-Chu (SPC) site in Taiwan. Current ancient DNA results conducted for mitochondrial DNA hypervariable region sequencing and cloning as well haplogroups A, B, and M have show that at least two individuals can be assigned to haplogroup A, one to haplogroup B4, and four to haplogroup M. However, the results so far have raised additional questions. Do current results show that the SPC people are related to (or the ancestors of) the Ping-Pu people, the populations who were historically closer to Han Chinese, and more frequently admixed with them? Were the Ping-Pu people are genetically closer to Han Chinese than other highland Taiwanese Aborigines? Have issues with small sample sizes complicated the conclusions? Additional tests on haplogroups C and F, simulation studies of sampling designs, and collected dental morphological data may help to answer these questions. These next steps are currently underway and will be included in the dissertation.
Block, Caroline Mohr, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MN - To aid research on 'Rabbis, Rabbas, and Maharats: Aspiration, Innovation and Orthodoxy in American Women's Talmud Programs,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
Preliminary abstract: My research centers on the women's Talmud programs that have recently emerged in the American Modern Orthodox Jewish community, where women study the rabbinic curriculum without the current possibility of receiving ordination or of serving as rabbis in their Orthodox communities. Institutionally unable to claim traditional rabbinic authority, these women have begun to experiment with cultivating alternative forms of pious authority and spiritual leadership within the bounds of American Orthodoxy. In an ethnographic investigation of these educational institutions and the ways in which aspirations for both individual cultivation and communal innovation are enacted through study within them, this research examines the changing landscape of religious authority in a community which has received little attention from anthropological research. Through its focus on American Jewish denominationalism, and the ways in which it simultaneously promises and poses a threat to innovations such as those toward which these female Talmudic scholars aspire, this study aims to contribute to a new and dynamic picture of tradition as it relates to modern religion in the public sphere.
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
COLIN P. QUINN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Inequality in the Presence of Death: Mortuary Rituals in Bronze Age Transylvania,' supervised by Dr. John O'Shea. 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. This research project examined how people used mortuary rituals to negotiate social relationships and influence the development of social inequality in Bronze Age Transylvania. 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 (2700-1400 BC), this study addresses: 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. Research included field surveys and an intensive radiocarbon dating program. Preliminary results suggest that mortuary practices shifted through time. Inequality was manifest in all Bronze Age mortuary contexts. Variability in the tempo and nature of burial through time suggests that ideological institutions served key, potentially transformative, roles in the organization of Bronze Age societies.
Funahashi, Daena Aki, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Social Order and its Borders: Exploring Depression in Finland,' supervised by Dr. Dominic C. Boyer
DAENA A. FUNAHASHI, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Social Order and its Borders: Exploring Depression in Finland,' supervised by Dr. Dominic C. Boyer. This study investigates the phenomenon of work-related depression and workplace burnout in Finland by looking at how this phenomenon is talked about, categorized, and institutionalized within three spheres: patients, the workplace, and treatment centers. This research examined the ways in which people from these three spheres interpreted depression and burnout. Depression meant different things to patients, employers, and clinicians. For some patients who worked in competitive offices it was a stigma-ridden category, and a risk to their professional life. For employers, it posed as an economic burden in terms of lost productivity and sick-leave. For those in healthcare, depressed patients were welcome clients for their services. The two categories of depression and burnout were closely related, depending on how the patient or company wanted to negotiate self-image and finances: depression was often diagnosed as burnout (a condition requiring shorter amounts of sick-leave), and burnout as depression. Three main trends in the explanation for the rise in burnout cases emerged: 1) an increasing demand for efficiency in the workplace; 2) anxiety over increasing opacity in the welfare system; and 3) increasing clash between the traditional valuation of hard work for its own sake and the market drive to maximize profit.
Funahashi, Daena Aki. 2013. Wrapped in Plastic: Transformation and Alienation in the New Finnish Economy. Cultural Anthropology 28(1):1-21.
Villagra, Analia, City U. of New York, Queens College, Flushing, NY - To aid research on 'Cadê o Mico? (Where is the Tamarin?): Locating Monkeys in the Politics of Land and Conservation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. John Francis Collin
ANALIA VILLAGRA, then a student at City University of New York, Queens College, Flushing, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Cadê o Mico? (Where is the Tamarin?): Locating Monkeys in the Politics of Land and Conservation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. John Francis Collin. The project sought to explore the intersection between land rights and conservation politics in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest region of southeastern Brazil. Inspired by classic work in ecological anthropology and recent studies of scientific practice, the research is interested in how people understand and emplace themselves in a world configured as natural, as well as with how these understandings impact global politics today. More specifically, the project analyzes how a burgeoning concern with conservation alters contemporary struggles over rights to land and land use. The investigation is organized around the efforts to save the Golden Lion Tamarin (GLT), a monkey species endemic to the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Kocamaner, Hikmet, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Governing the Family through Television: Neoliberalism, Islamic Television Broadcasting, and the Family in Contemporary Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Brian Silverstein
HIKMET KOCAMANER, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Governing the Family through Islamic Television: Neoliberalism, Islamic Broadcasting, and the Family in Contemporary Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Brian Silverstein. Turkey has witnessed a proliferation of Islamic television channels since the liberalization of television broadcasting in the 1990s. Initially, these Islamic TV channels produced shows in which divinity professors and men of religion educated viewers in the culture of scriptural Islam. Recently, however, most of these channels have started producing what they call 'morally and socially appropriate' entertainment programs to provide a safe haven for the Turkish family in what they deem to be a degenerate media scene. An overview of the programs aired on these Islamic channels reveals that the family -- more than the ritualistic and scriptural aspects of Islam -- has become their main focus. This project examines the relationship between the increasing prominence placed by Islamic television channels on the family and changing constellations of religion and secularism as well as emerging forms of governance in contemporary Turkey. Through an ethnographic investigation of media professionals involved in Islamic television production, viewers of Islamic television stations, and state institutions and officials taking part in the regulation of broadcasting in Turkey, this dissertation explores how Islamic television channels in Turkey establish the family as the generator of a neoliberal idea of citizenship and of a modern yet Islamically appropriate lifestyle.
Augustine, Jonah Michael, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Aesthetic Constitution of Polity: Ceramic Production and Material Politics in the Tiwanaku Valley, AD 500-1100,' supervised by Dr. Alan L. Kolata
JONAH M. AUGUSTINE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'The Aesthetic Constitution of Polity: Ceramic Production and Material Politics in the Tiwanaku Valley (AD 500-1100),' supervised by Dr. Alan L. Kolata. The central problem that this project examined was the relationship between aesthetics and politics within the ancient Andean polity Tiwanaku. Focusing on various locations within the Tiwanaku Valley, the project analyzed the iconographic characteristics of ceramics, one of the central media through which Tiwanaku images were presented. The preliminary results reveal that during the early phases of the polity, there were convergences between elite and non-elite iconography in the open areas of large-scale, urban rituals. This suggests that shared aesthetic experiences mediated disparate social positions and fostered bonds between groups. Beyond the city, it was noted that characteristic 'Tiwanaku' forms (i.e. those associated with the urban rituals) were reproduced in non-canonical ways. This indicates that the subjective experience of Tiwanaku was predicated on an active and perhaps playful engagement with Tiwanaku materiality. Finally, there was a decrease in the diversity of representational forms as the Tiwanaku polity became more rigidly hierarchical during later phases. This may reflect a tactic used by emergent elites to create a unified political imaginary within the valley. From these data, it is possible to better reconstruct the deeply important aesthetic dimension of Tiwanaku politics.
Papageorgiou, Kyriaki, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid 'Seeds of Doubt: An Ethnographic Investigation of Biosafety in Contemporary Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Susan Greenhalgh
KYRIAKI PAPGEORGIOU, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded a grant in January 2004 to aid research on 'Seeds of Doubt: An Ethnographic Investigation of Biosafety in Contemporary Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Susan Greenhalgh. The study of biosafety in Egypt illustrates the complex interplay of knowledge and power enacted in the new spaces of scientific negotiation that have opened up by genetic research. The recent World Trade Organization case over GMOs, in which the Egypt was inadvertently entangled, is particularly evocative of the political and epistemic conundrums of biotechnology. This case demonstrates the growing global knowledge disparities and accentuates the problems of science and expertise halting Egypt's biosafety framework. While in 2004 the commercialization of biotechnology was put on hold, biodynamics, a peculiar version of organic agriculture, was burgeoning in Egypt. Based on Goethe's scientific paradigm articulated through Rudolph Steiner, biodynamics takes as its starting point the idea that that living organisms do not react in predictable ways and that they can only be known in fragments when using modern science. Rather than positing the relationship of biotechnology and biodynamics as one of opposition, the dissertation considers how the transatlantic quarrels over the status of genetically modified food are tied to the politics of alterative agricultural practices; how interlocking narratives about nature and society are articulated in the juxtaposition; and how facticity and claims about life are organized, institutionalized, and marked as different kinds of knowledge.
El Zein, Rayya Sunayma, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Performing el rap el 'Arabi 2004-2014: Feeling Politics and Affecting Possibility Amid Neoliberal Incursions in Ramallah,' supervised by Dr. Maurya Wickstrom
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation analyzes affective political production in live performances of Arabic rap over roughly the past decade. I locate these politics in the performance strategies that respond to the material and affective histories of neoliberalism in Beirut, Ramallah, and New York City. The Wenner Gren Foundation Fieldwork Grant would facilitate the dissertation research and fieldwork in Ramallah. In my research of the cultural production of rap in Arabic, I argue for an understanding of contemporary Arab youth culture as reacting to particular political and economic policies, and as constructing real strategies for responding to neoliberal incursions in specific sites. My research in Ramallah contextualizes Palestinian rap production in relation to local and contemporary performance genres with which it shares fans, producers, and performance spaces. Theoretically, this project works to understand how political affects are located and understood among Arab youth and how Palestinian rap is understood as both 'political' and 'resistant' cultural production. My analysis opens different routes for assessing the development of political alternatives in and by cultural production - what I call 'affecting possibility.'
Szenassy, Edit, Charles U., Prague, Czech Republic - To aid research on 'Governing Romani Women's Bodies: Between Everyday Reproductive Decisions and Population Politics in Slovakia,' supervised by Dr. Jaroslav Skupnik
EDIT SZENASSY, then a student at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Governing Romani Women's Bodies: Between Everyday Reproductive Decisions and Population Politics in Slovakia,' supervised by Dr. Jaroslav Skupnik. High fetility rates of Romani/Gypsy women are portrayed by some public actors in Slovakia as a burden on society or welfare system. Facing diverse forms of discrimination and violence including impeded access to healthcare, Romani women's wombs have historically been of grave concern to state power, and continue being regarded as a 'time bomb' bound to explode as presently Romani births outnumber those of the Slovak majority. Between 1977 and 1991, special benefits were granted in return for Romani women's voluntary sterilization, however, recent scandals indicate that many of the operations during this period were neither voluntary, nor performed with due consent. The results of this fieldwork research indicate that the coerced sterilization of Romani women continued into the mid-2000s. This project examined Romani women's reproductive decision-making and its tensions with Slovak population politics. Its central focus was an ethnographic research based on participant observation into current reproductive practices among Romani women in a poor segregated Roma slum in East Slovakia. It explored the intricate positions women, their kinship networks, health professionals, and authorities take, with the aim of revealing and understanding their potentially conflicting interests. The ethnographer was situated in a politically and ethically loaded field, as she attempted to analyze the ramifications intertwining the state, nationalism, and the politics and poetics of reproduction.