Haynes, Naomi Rae, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'When Prosperity Fails: the Faith Gospel And Gift Economies on the Zambian Copperbelt,' supervised by Dr. Joel Robbins
NAOMI HAYNES, then a student at the University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California, received a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'When Prosperity Fails: The Faith Gospel and Gift Economies on the Zambian Copperbelt,' supervised by Joel Robbins. During fieldwork on a township outside the city of Kitwe, Zambia, the grantee focused on the daily lives of members of independent Pentecostal Christian congregations. Through participant observation, ethnographic interviews, and surveys, this study followed the relationship between religious praxis and local political economy. Much of the connection between these two spheres crystallizes around a few important cultural boundaries, including those between paternal and fraternal axes of exchange, short- and long-term economic gains, and individualism and social embeddedness. By shaping the way believers navigate these social borders, participation in Pentecostalism facilitates creative responses to economic uncertainty. This project highlights the creative potential of this form of Christianity, thereby making important contributions toward an understanding of Pentecostalism as more than simply a response to global neoliberal capitalism, but rather as a productive site of social innovation and change.
Haynes, Naomi. 2013. On the Potential and Problems of Pentecostal Exchange. American Anthropologist 115(1):85-95.
Haynes, Naomi. 2012. Pentecostalism and the Morality of Money: Prosperity, Inequality, and Religious Sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Insitute 18(1):123-139.
Mathis, Sarah M., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Land: A Study of Power and Authority in Rural KwaZulu-Natal,' supervised by Dr. Donald L. Donham
SARAH M. MATHIS, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in July 2003 to aid research on land and political authority in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, under the supervision of Dr. Donald L. Donham. Through eighteen months of ethnographic research in a rural, Zulu-speaking community, Mathis examined the political and economic issues around land use and land allocation. Oral accounts of settlement patterns in the community under study suggested previously high levels of mobility and tenure flexibility due to the disruption of communities by the violent conflicts of the 1980s and early 1990s. During the period of Mathis' research, however, tenure flexibility was decreasing as rural communities were positioning themselves to take advantage of the land reform programs and new commercial opportunities that had opened up in the post-apartheid period. By researching shifts in urban migration and land use patterns, Mathis examined how new areas of conflict were emerging within households and communities, particularly over issues of gender and generation. Conflict over women's mobility was also a reflection of women's increased participation in the informal economy and in temporary jobs. These low-wage, insecure forms of employment had become increasingly common due to high levels of unemployment and the relaxation of restrictions on the informal economy. In addition, Mathis investigated the community's relationship with the neighboring commercial sugarcane farmers as the prospect of land reform and new labor laws shifted the balance of power between the two groups, creating new areas of conflict and uncertainty.
Mathis, Sarah M. 2007. The Politics of Land Reform: Tenure and Political Authority in Rural Kwazulu-Natal. Journal of Agrarian Change 7(1):99-120.
Mathis, Sarah M. 2013. From Warlords to Freedom Fighters: Political Violence and State Formation in Umbumbulu, South Africa. African Affairs 112(448):421-439
Carney, Joshua Luke, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Storms Through the Valley: Fact, Fiction and the US Image in Turkish Popular Media,' supervised by Dr. Ilana Miriam Gershon
JOSHUA L. CARNEY, then a student at University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Storms through the Valley: Fact, Fiction, and the US Image in Turkish Popular Media,' supervised by Dr. Ilana M. Gershon. Research examined the publics and discourses emerging around two immensely influential Turkish TV dramas ('dizi' in Turkish). The contemporary mafia drama, Valley of the Wolves, and the Ottoman costume drama, Magnificent Century, relate disparate periods and cater to very different audiences, but both have set the political and social agendas in Turkey due to the uneasy blend of fact and fiction in their plots. The project focuses on the increasing relevance of screen culture in the Turkish milieux through an ethnographic engagement with the publics generated by these shows, touching on conspiracy theory and nostalgia as strategies for coping in an era of multiple modernities, the creation and maintenance of gendered and national identities, and the political implications of the international distribution of these shows.
Roy, Arpita, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Particle Physics and the Anthropology of Right and Left,' supervised by Dr. Paul Rabinow
ARPITA ROY, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Particle Physics and the Anthropology of Right and Left,' supervised by Dr. Paul Rabinow. In November 2009, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland, is slated to start high-energy proton collisions as a probe into the structure of matter and forces of nature. The research project inquires into modern cosmology through a specific and concrete concept -- chirality or handedness -- with the underlying question, 'What does physics admit of orientation?' If physics presupposes a separation of mind and matter, or subject and object, then how can it base a physical universe with a preferred orientation? If it does not, then what is the relevance of handedness in its discourse? As an object of study in symbolic classification, handedness has a rich genealogy in anthropological thought. The project draws upon and integrates classical anthropological themes with ongoing fieldwork experience at CERN to establish how the concept acquires its present rationality in the framework of relativistic quantum mechanics and symmetries of space-time. Not only are particular concepts (of physics) like momentum, velocity or spin implicated in the study of chirality, but also other abstract ones of space, substance, relation, and form. It is to this discussion that the research makes a contribution. The research is timely both for what it says about the substantive nature of physics and about collaborative practices more generally.
Green, Daniel Russell, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Experimental Reconstruction of Seasonal Rainfall for Paleoclimate Research,' supervised by Dr. Tanya Smith
Preliminary abstract: The origin and evolution of our unique human biology and culture are of great interest to anthropologists. Recent influential studies invoke changes in seasonal rainfall and resource availability to explain novel human behaviors over the last five million years. These theories are difficult to test because of the challenges associated with accurately reconstructing paleoenvironments. This project addresses this difficulty by developing a method for seasonal rainfall assessment using cutting-edge x-ray imaging and fine-scaled chemical sampling of sheep teeth. Mammalian teeth contain a record of seasonal change because the oxygen isotope chemistry of water, which fluctuates seasonally, becomes embedded in forming enamel over time. However this information cannot be accurately quantified while we lack a comprehensive understanding of the timing and patterning of elemental incorporation during tooth mineralization. In this project, I will build a quantitative tooth mineralization model from synchrotron x-ray imaging of known-aged growing sheep molars, which will be informed by an experimental physiology study, crucial for reconstructing seasonality. I will then test our ability to infer past seasonality by measuring oxygen isotopes across the teeth of sheep subject to an experimental water switch. Both the empirical model and its refinement with experimental animals will contribute a powerful tool for the study of past climates. This new method may eventually be applied to fossil teeth from African herbivores living alongside early hominins. The results of this research will be of particular significance for climate reconstruction worldwide, and will aid our understanding of the evolution of our own species and its unique behaviors.
Wool, Zoe Hamilton, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'In Search of the War on Terror: An Ethnography of Soldiers Lives and Public Discourses,' supervised by Dr. Todd Sanders
ZOE H. WOOL, then a student at University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'In Search of the War on Terror: An Ethnography of Soldiers Lives and Public Discourses,' supervised by Dr. Todd Sanders. This project explores embodied experiences and discursive constructions of the U.S.-led War on Terror through ethnographic research with injured soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This ethnographic core was augmented with a variety of other research including with Iraq Veterans Against the War in Washington, DC, and interviews with people directly impacted by 9/11, such as New York City police officers who were part of the rescue effort at the World Trade Center site. The pictures of daily life which emerge from this research are read alongside political speeches about the War on Terror, media coverage of soldiers' actions and narrations of their experiences, expert reports about the War on Terror, and key government documents about Iraq and Afghanistan. The dissertation focuses on a central tension which emerges from this juxtaposition: soldiers must make choices with existential and material consequences about how, and if, to participate in the reproduction of discourses about them that they may find inauthentic, inaccurate, but also useful. While soldiers and families attempt to render extraordinary experiences in terms of the ordinary lives they wish to recuperate, they must negotiate with a discursive repertoire which constructs them as exceptional.
Wool, Zoë H., and Seth D. Messinger. 2012. Labors of Love: The Transformation of Care in the Non-Medical Attendant Program at Walter Reed. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 26(1): 26-48.
Liebman, Adam Daniel, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Turning Trash into Treasure: Waste, Commodity Values, and Environmentalism in Postsocialist China,' supervised by Dr. Li Zhang
Preliminary abstract: This research project examines how waste-product industries in postsocialist China are being transformed by the emergent commodity values of recyclables and the shifting morality associated with practices of 'recycling'. I hypothesize that: (1) despite the large impact of market forces and environmentalism, the values generated through practices of recycling are also significantly shaped by the lasting cultural impacts of China's historical experiment with socialism; and (2) the different values that are generated through practices of 'recycling' are in productive tension, shaping human-human and human-environment relations within the waste-product industry and beyond. To test these hypotheses, I will ask how socialist-era legacies of recycling shape engagements with waste; how environmentalism is utilized and particularized; and how formations of labor, socioeconomic hierarchies, and relations between society and the environment shape and are shaped by the values generated through practices of recycling. Ethnographic fieldwork for this project will be conducted in Kunming, the burgeoning capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. Over a period of twelve months, I will conduct participant observation at a 'green' recycling company and at a private scrap trading business. I will also conduct extensive interviews with and collect the life histories of three groups of actors: junk buyers incorporated into the recycling company; unincorporated junk buyers; and independent garbage pickers. By examining both the symbolic and economic values generated through recycling waste, this research offers an innovative approach to understanding postsocialist transformations in China by accounting for continuities and hybridity, in addition to ruptures.
Blaszczyk, Maria Beata, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Temperament and Social Niche Specialization in Primates,' supervised by Dr. Terry Harrison
MARIA B. BLASZCZYK, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Temperament and Social Niche Specialization in Primates,' supervised by Dr. Terry Harrison. A large proportion of intrapopulational behavioral variation in humans is ascribed to personality differences. Although personality variation has long been studied from a proximate perspective within the human sciences, questions regarding the ultimate causation of this variation have remained neglected. The current study contributes comparative data pertinent to questions regarding the evolution of human personality variation by examining the behavioral ecology of temperament differences in wild vervet monkeys. The study tests the degree to which differences in temperament are predictive of individuals' social foraging strategies and social network metrics. Fieldwork was conducted at Soetdoring Nature Reserve, South Africa, from July 2011 to December 2012. Observational data on the social and foraging behavior of all adult and subadult individuals in two social groups (N=40) were collected using focal animal and ad libitum sampling. Six field experiments were conducted on each group to measure individual differences in responses to a variety of novel objects. The observational and experimental data are currently being prepared for analysis. As this is the first systematic study of the social ecology of temperament in a wild primate population, the findings obtained are expected to provide key insights into the evolutionary ecology of primate personality.
Pritzker, Sonya Elizabeth, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Language Socialization and Ideologies of Translation in U.S. Chinese Medical Education,' supervised by Dr. Elinor Ruth Ochs
SONYA PRITZKER, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Language Socialization and Ideologies of Translation in U.S. Chinese Medical Education,' supervised by Dr. Elinor Ochs. This research looks at the role of language in the process by which English-speaking students in the U.S. learn to practice Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine. The research further places such learning in the broader socio-political and economic context of translation in Chinese medicine. Data consists of over ten months of classroom ethnography and person-centered interviews with students and teachers at a school of Chinese medicine in southern California, as well as interviews with translators and publishers of Chinese medical educational texts in the U.S. and China. Research findings demonstrate the daily enactment of a complex transnational linguistic, medical, and socio-cultural phenomenon impacting the way Chinese medicine is learned and practiced in an American context. Major themes emerging from the data point to the strong relationship between personal experiences of the self and linguistic choices in terms of translation and representation. The goal of the research is to build a further bridge between socio-cultural, psycho-cultural, and linguistic anthropology by showing the relationship between embodied personal experience and language in the highly contested, political economy of translation in U.S. Chinese medical education.
Fuchs, Ofira, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Reforming the State:Orthodoxy and Change in Jewish Religious Activism in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Virginia Dominguez
Preliminary abstract: In recent years, moderate Orthodox Jews in Israel have become increasingly involved in political and religious initiatives that aim to challenge, and pose alternatives to, the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, Israel's Jewish religious institution. This new development in the battle over the public role of Judaism in Israel is the focus of this study. In my dissertation research I ask, how do Orthodox activists promote social and political changes --including a more pluralistic religious institution and greater religious agency for women --while still attempting to remain within the boundaries of Orthodox Judaism? By studying Orthodox activists who oppose the Rabbinate, I aim to investigate the dynamics within Orthodoxy in the struggle over redefining Israel's public religiosity. I will conduct fieldwork in nongovernmental organizations and religious congregations that advocate for greater participation of women, non-Orthodox and secular actors in the shaping of Israel's religious sphere. Their organized activity is part of a broader movement for social change and it is rooted in community life. By studying this movemen