Cohen, Emily Catherine, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'A Cultural Analysis of Integrated Rehabilitation Medicine in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Emily Martin
EMILY CATHERINE COHEN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in May 2007, to aid research on 'A Cultural Analysis of Integrated Rehabilitation Medicine in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Emily Martin. The grantee spent one year conducting anthropological research on the social and cultural impact of landmines and rehabilitation medicine in Colombia. Colombia remains the country with the highest incident of new landmine victims in the world. Unfortunately numbers of landmine casualties and survivors rise as the war escalates over territorial control between state and non-state armed actors. Guerilla forces use landmines to protect coca fields and towns threatened by military and paramilitary incursions. Polemics exist surrounding the state and paramilitary use of landmines. Research was conducted in Bogota at the Military Hospital, the Military Batallion, Otto-Bock Corporation, and civilian refugee homes, as well as throughout Colombia including: Cali, Bucaramanga, Medellin, Quibdo, and Villavicencio. The archives at El Tiempo newspaper and at Bogota's National Library were explored to compare Colombia's current focus on integrated rehabilitation to an earlier historical period, La Violencia, focused on dismemberment and bizarre re-configurations of the body. This project hopes to contribute to anthropological questions that ask what it means to be a full human person in cross-cultural contexts as well as those affected by long-term warfare and ongoing civil conflict.
Columbia U., New York, NY, Schwab, Manuel Stefan, PI - To aid research on 'Humanitarian Encounters: Social and Economic Transformations in Political and Merchant Groups Navigating Crisis in Sudan,' supervised by Dr. Mahmood Mamdani
MANUEL STEFAN SCHWAB, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Humanitarian Encounters: Social and Economic Transformations in Political and Merchant Groups Navigating Crisis in Sudan,' supervised by Dr. Mahmood Mamdani. Funding supported 21 months of fieldwork in Khartoum, Juba, Bentiu, and the three capitals of Darfur. The research concerns the implications of humanitarian aid provided to people acutely affected by the different crises unfolding in Sudan. Interviews and participant observation in various locations in the country followed important dimensions of humanitarian crisis and the responses of aid professionals. The intention was to think about the ethical relationships people receiving aid developed towards the benefits they received; how their lives were concretely affected by the presence of large-scale aid economies; and how interdependency -- which is always an important phenomenon associated with aid -- is perceived and is restructured by aid. Among other phenomena, research focused on the life people live when they are dependant on precarious or failing networks for food and health. The grantee conducted interviews with people living in El Fasher and El Geneina that depend significantly on the World Food program for food security, as well as interviews and archival research on an early moment of health insecurity -- the loss of significant anti-malarial medications in 1998. Interviews also focused on dynamics of debt in post-conflict generations, on microfinance, and associated aid endeavors.
Harris, Christina H., CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid 'On the Trail of the Yak: A Social Geography of Tibetan Trade,' supervised by Dr. Neil Smith
CHRISTINA HONJO HARRIS, then a student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, New York, received funding in November 2005 to aid 'On the Trail of the Yak: A Social Geography of Tibetan Trade,' supervised by Dr. Neil Smith. This dissertation research examined the past sixty years of social and economic changes along a trade route that crosscuts the eastern Himalayan region. Focusing on two generations of traders in Lhasa, Tibet, Kalimpong, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal, the project investigated how infrastructural and political transformations on a larger, regional scale were manifested through three smaller scale, 'everyday' sites of trading activity: 1) The daily acquisition and distribution of material objects, 2) The representation and use of trading spaces, and 3) The facilitation of social and economic networks. In particular, it was found that traders and retailers have produced various kinds of alternative spatial narratives of trade that both take advantage of and counteract major state-centered changes in the economy of the region. In the long-term, the research attempts to contribute to the broader fields of transnational and border studies, placing at its center an explicit conversation between anthropology and geography.
Marius, Philippe-Richard, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Trading in Race: Nationalist Ideologies, Elites and Political Economy in Haiti,' supervised by Dr. Donald K. Robotham
PHILIPPE-RICHARD MARIUS, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Trading in Race: Nationalist Ideologies, Elites and Political Economy in Haiti,' supervised by Dr. Donald K. Robotham. This project investigates the social economy of Haiti's elites. It proceeds principally through an ethnography in the privileged classes of Port-au-Prince (the capital city), interviews, and study of public and private histories. The full range of Haiti's colorist identities, from noir (black) to clair (light) to mûlatre (mulatto) is represented among research subjects drawn from Haiti's political, economic, and intellectual elites. The investigation indicates that the Black Republic national narrative maintains in Haiti a situation that is emblematic of the Caribbean region: 'politics' and 'economics' are experienced as sharply separated spheres dominated by complementary elites, and the black political elite and the mulatto business elite are held to represent different national 'publics.' The research suggests that, notwithstanding tenacious colorist identitarian boundaries, Haiti's apparently fragmented elites nevertheless find cohesion in the practice of Western modernity. The analysis finally argues that while these elites, which appear fragmented, actually cohere in their dominant practice of politics by virtue of a monopoly on the requisite cultural capital, expression of progressive Haitian politics tends to disintegrate at the colorist border. One of the theoretical goals of the project is to demystify the cohesion of Haiti's elites, the better to facilitate coherent, pragmatic, progressive political action.
Butler, Ella Patricia, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Producing Taste: Expertise and the Senses in the US Processed Food Industry,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates scientific concepts of taste and sensory experience in the processed food industry in the United States. It examines how scientists develop research into the senses in order to find ways to make 'health and wellness' products palatable to the tastes of American consumers. In this context of innovation in both commodities and scientific knowledge, the project asks how scientific concepts of the senses are being transformed at the same moment that new commodities are made possible. To explore this question, the project is an ethnographic study of the work of three kinds of professionals most concerned with the sensory experience of processed food products: food scientists, flavor scientists and sensory evaluation scientists.
Rodriguez, Juan Luis, Southern Illinois U., Carbondale, IL - To aid research on 'Rhetorical Strategies and Gift Circulation in the Politics of The Orinoco Delta, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan David Hill
JUAN LUIS RODRIGUEZ, then a student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Rhetorical Strategies and Gift Circulation in the Politics of the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan D. Hill. This study analyses political discursive strategies and gift circulation in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela. This is a semiotic and discourse-centered study on how the Warao indigenous population interacts with political representatives from the Venezuelan government. This study is based on a yearlong fieldwork focusing on political speeches and observing how political gifts are circulated. Research focused on public political events in which politicians, governmental representatives, and communal council's members perform public political discourses. During this year, the grantee followed the constitutional referendum of December 2007 and the organization of the 2008 regional election in the Orinoco Delta, as well as the development of the Morichito communal council in the Lower Delta. This helped in evaluating how gift circulation and political discourse intersect as semiotic strategies. The purpose of this research is to further advance the discourse-centered approaches to cultures developed in South America by addressing the ways in which discursive sign vehicles interact with other semiotic forms, especially political gifts. This type of analysis is central to understand recent political processes occurring among the Warao, as well as the general political climate of Venezuela since 1998 (the rising of President Hugo Chavez Frias).
Goldstone, Brian David, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Prosperity Gospels: Pentecostalism, Value, and the Moral Imagination in Northern Ghana,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
BRIAN DAVID GOLDSTONE, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Prosperity Gospels, Pentecostalism, Value, and the Moral Imagination in Northern Ghana,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. This project takes as its starting point the recent incursion of charismatic churches into the Northern Region, Ghana -- a predominantly Muslim area -- and explores the modes of affect and subjectivity as well as the ethical-political formations that have been enabled and foreclosed in this encounter. It addresses not only the place of 'the North' in the Ghanaian national imaginary -- the images and histories it draws on and the various projects, including evangelism, it is able to mobilize -- but also the ways in which charismatic concepts and practices (miracles, prophecy, conversion, spiritual warfare, discipleship, soul winning, and so forth) are reconfigured as they attempt to inhabit a terrain considered by many to be the exception to Ghana's self-characterization as a peaceful, prosperous and, indeed, Christian African nation. Moreover, and moving beyond the circumscribed topoi of an anthropology of Christianity, this research seeks to bring the aforementioned thematics to bear on an investigation of Ghanaian secularity and secularism (which might be conceptualized in terms of a tension, made especially visible in the North), between toleration and religious freedom (including the freedom to evangelize and convert the nonbeliever). By exploring how various modalities of evangelism complicate the ethics and politics of toleration, this project inquires into the implications for a more general understanding of secularism, conversion, and the creation of distinctive religious subjects in contemporary Ghana.
Wille, Sarah J., Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'The Social Role of Objects: Investigating Artifact Life Histories at Chau Hiix, Belize' supervised by Dr. K. Anne Pyburn
SARAH J. WILLE, while a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, received funding in November 2004 to aid research on 'The Social Role of Objects: Investigating Artifact 'Life Histories' at Chau Hiix, Belize,' under the supervision of Dr. K. Anne Pyburn. Analysis of Maya ceramics and other artifacts addressed specific questions concerning the function and meaning of an elaborate, site-center deposit near an important civic-ceremonial structure, while also considering the social role of deposited objects. Research provided a clearer picture of Later Classic period (ca. AD 800-1100) artifacts at Chau Hiix. Preliminary analysis of material in 2003 suggested the deposit served as an offering. Three systems of artifact classification (typological, analytical, and biographical) were employed to help evaluate the hypothesis that the deposit resulted from ritual termination action in the Terminal Classic, a period in Northern Belize characterized by continuity and change. Additional research involved intra-site comparative analysis of the data with similar ritual artifact assemblages from Later Classic burials and several caches. Over 5200 diagnostic ceramics and approximately 3700 lithic fragments were analyzed, and a representative sample was illustrated and photographed, as were all unique material finds including modified bone and shell, jade, and obsidian. While research will require further scrutiny of the data, preliminary results suggest the huge quantity of open vessel forms, stylized blackware vases, and unique material items do not indicate the deposit was an everyday midden, and instead represent the remains of some type of termination ritual, feasting event, or deposited 'specialized' trash.
Lee, Seung-Cheol, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Financialized Ethics: Governing Individual Bankruptcy in South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli
Preliminary abstract: In the wake of the 1997 financial crisis, South Korea quickly moved from being a nation of notoriously high savers to a country with one of the highest ratios of household debt to disposable income. By illuminating this process in the context of financial neoliberalization and the fall of the developmental state, my project will explore South Korea's governance of personal bankruptcy in order to understand the profound transformations in social, subjective, and ethical life that have attended and underwritten this transition. By excavating multi-layered and even contradictory features of neoliberalization, my research will examine the emergence of new forms of governing power that now surround bankrupt individuals, which can be called 'financialized ethics' or 'moral neoliberalism' based on the grafting of ethics onto economy. First, my research will trace how individual bankruptcy is problematized as a 'moral/ethical' issue and thus how the bankrupt are constructed as an object of 'moral' government. Second, I will investigate how the bankrupt are trained and disciplined to embody the ideal of 'ethical entrepreneurship' during the rehabilitation process. Third, this project examines how present-day governing practices produce depoliticized effects by mobilizing morality as the antidote to a crisis that requires political/economic solutions. As it achieves these goals, my research will challenge the conventional understanding of neoliberalism that equates it with the domination of market and calculative rationality and instead illuminate how new forms of ethicality and sociality are intrinsically linked to the intensification of financial neoliberalism.