Ford, Randall Thomas, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'The Role of Female Mate Choice in Mantled Howling Monkey Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth Earl Glander
RANDALL FORD, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'The Role of Female Mate Choice in Mantled Howling Monkey Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth Glander. As part of a larger project, this study looked at genetic paternity to compare the results with mating behavior observed in Alouatta palliata. Blood samples were collected on Whatman FTA cards and sent to Therion International for analysis. Of the 8 microsatellite loci attempted, only 4 were polymorphic in this sample. Paternity exclusion allowed assignment of paternity in only 2 of 16 cases. One infant was assigned to a male from a neighboring group, and the other was assigned to the study group's alpha male at the time of conception. Two other cases allowed the assignment of a probable sire based on a rare allele shared with one male, the alpha male at the time of conception. These results are consistent with behavioral observations in which the alpha male appeared to monopolize females when they were most attractive to males. However, the paternity exclusion was limited by the small number of polymorphic loci. Also, there were three cases in which the presumed mother (based on observation, lactation, and interbirth intervals) was excluded as the possible dam. Additional study is necessary to determine the validity of these genetic data and develop more primers that can be used to assign genetic paternity.
Vaidya, Anand Prabhakar, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Origin of Forests, Private Property, and the State: The Life of India's Forest Rights Act,' supervised by Dr. Ajantha Subramanian
ANAND P. VAIDYA, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Origin of Forests, Private Property, and the State: The Life of India's Forest Rights Act,' supervised by Dr. Ajantha Subramanian. This project tracked the creation and implementation of India's 2006 Forest Rights Act, a landmark law that for the first time grants land rights to the millions who live without them in the roughly 23 percent of India's land area that is public forest land. This project followed the national movement for forest rights (which was critical in lobbying for and drafting the act) and the struggle led by a group affiliated with the movement to implement the law in a village in eastern Uttar Pradesh. This project asks how the ongoing contestations over the text and meaning of the law have shaped the claims to property and authority that are made through it, and found that the law is in fact deeply ambiguous and its meaning has yet to be established in practice. Conflicts over who should be entitled by the law in its lobbying and drafting were translated in the law's text into contradictory potential readings of the law. These contradictory potential readings have, in the Forest Rights Act's implementation, been taken up by caste and class groupings that have been in long violent conflict over forest land, turning a long violent conflict into a legal one.
Khalikova, Venera R., U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'The Biopolitics of Medical Pluralism and Nationalist Discourses in Uttarakhand, India,' supervised by Dr. Joseph S. Alter
Preliminary abstract: In contrast to many studies that view biopower as exercised through biomedicine, this research examines the biopolitics of medical pluralism. In India, yoga, ayurveda and other institutional 'alternative' systems are often deployed to link individual bodies to nation through the promotion of certain health regimens, diet, and lifestyle, in the name of the national health. But pluralism always begs the question of the internal hierarchy. The government of India legitimizes seven 'alternative' medical traditions (known as AYUSH), yet one of them--'Hindu' ayurveda--receives most social, financial, and ideological support. This parallels the tension between two conflicting nationalist ideologies: secular nationalism which promotes 'unity in diversity,' and Hindu nationalism which privileges the Hindu majority. Recent election of Prime Minister N. Modi from a Hindu nationalist party and his support for a popular guru Baba Ramdev in the promotion of ayurveda as 'national medicine' further widens a gap between the ideals of medical pluralism and the hegemony of ayurveda. This study aims to examine the relations between nationalist discourses and the biopolitics of medical pluralism in North India, through the focus on small-scale practitioners of state-mandated ayurveda, unani, homeopathy, and other AYUSH systems. By combining extensive ethnographic fieldwork and linguistic analysis of nationalist discourses, it will examine how various doctors and their patients understand, experience, and respond to a state policy on medical
pluralism on the one hand, and hegemonic nationalistic articulations of ayurveda, on the other hand. In so doing, this research contributes to anthropological debates on pluralistic medicine, nationalist discourses, and biopower.
Andaya, Elise, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Reproducing the Revolution: Maternity and Kinship in Contemporary Cuba,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp
ELISE ANDAYA, while a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2004 to aid research on changes in Cuban gender ideologies and kinship strategies after the collapse of the international communist bloc, supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp. Andaya examined how socialist values in Cuba are reproduced, contested, and transformed through everyday practices of gender, kinship, and family-making. While tracking how the state uses progressive arguments about gender and reproduction to support its socialist agenda, she also studied how familial practices in Cuba's new economic and social context are changing in ways at times antithetical to the desires of the state. During 18 months of fieldwork in Havana, the grantee conducted participant-observation at reproductive health-care clinics, and interviewed laypeople, academics, and policy-makers to understand state reproductive and familial policies, academic discourses about 'socialist' family values, and the daily practices and decisions of women and men making and sustaining families in the new economy. Through examining problems of biological and social reproduction, Andaya studied tensions over the meaning of Cuban socialism as the state and individuals struggle to make families and make socialist citizens in a 'post-socialist' world.
Andaya, Elise. 2009 The Gift of Health: Socialist Medical Practice and Shifting Material and Moral Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 23(4):347-374.
Osburg, John, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Engendering Wealth: China's New Rich and the Creation of an Elite Masculinity, 'supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
JOHN OSBURG, while a student at the University of Chicago, was awarded a grant in June 2004 to aid in research on changing ideologies of masculinity in urban China under the supervision of Dr. Susan Gal. This project investigated the consumption and leisure practices of newly rich male entrepreneurs in China, practices which are embedded in an emerging ideology of elite masculinity. The study was conducted in Chengdu, China among several intersecting networks of wealthy entrepreneurs. In addition to observation of this group's leisure and consumption practices, detailed interviews with a select group of informants were conducted focusing on transformations in their personal lives and relationships. While wealthy, male entrepreneurs were the main focus, research subjects included many who occupied marginal positions in the world of Chinese business, including female entrepreneurs and members of the criminal underworld. The study found that many features of subjects' lifestyles-their social networks, consumption practices, leisure activities, and sexualities-were deeply intertwined with and to some extent a product of their business relationships. Many subjects participated in various elite recreational activities in order to cultivate relationships with clients, potential business partners, and government officials, relationships which were essential to their financial success. Young women were a constant presence during these activities serving as mediators in relationships between men. This project analyzed the relationship between the Chinese state and private business, changing configurations of romance, marriage, and sexuality, and the rise of new forms of consumption and leisure from the perspective of changing ideologies of gender. More generally, it is hoped that this study will help account for the rise of a 'masculinized' sphere of private business in China.
Douglas, Aimee Catherine, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Craft, Creativity, and Managing the 'Excesses of Modernity' in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Viranjini Munasinghe
Preliminary abstract: As tourism flourishes and opportunities for export grow following the end of Sri Lanka's thirty-year war in 2009, the country's heritage craft industry, though a small segment of its economy, has enjoyed unprecedented growth. While the Ministry of Industry & Commerce reports on the generation of 'new market links for our artisans,' dealers remark with delight on the (mostly foreign) buyers flooding into their shops. The proposed research will focus on one corner of this industry, the production of decorative handloom textiles, and on how a discourse of 'creativity' serves within it as a strategy through which industry participants evaluate, struggle against, and come to terms with their own and others' positions within a globalized economic field. This discourse is situated among calls by government officials, scholars and others for investment in Sri Lanka's so-called 'creative economy.' I approach the handloom industry in which it figures so prominently to examine how, in a context of post-war, government-led efforts toward economic integration into global capital markets, ordinary Sri Lankans fashion themselves in relation to one another and to variously imagined national, global and other collectivities. In doing so, I join recent efforts in anthropology to challenge conventional notions of creativity often deployed in social science analyses. In order to capture a wide range of voices (weavers, dealers, designers, and government and NGO officials) while attending to relationships between participants, I will carry out ethnographic research in three locations among individuals involved (to varying degrees) in the textile production activities of Thalagune, a Sinhalese village in Sri Lanka's Central Province.
Strayer, Chelsea Shields, Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Psycho Prophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Self-Regulation in Asante Indigenous Healing,' supervised by Dr. Parker Shipton
CHELSEA STRAYER, then a student at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Psycho Prophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Self-Regulation in Asante Indigenous Healing,' supervised by Dr. James Pritchett. In Ghana, West Africa, despite economic and geographic access to biomedical hospitals, many patients continue to utilize Asante indigenous ritual healing ceremonies. Why? While the prevalence and efficacy of indigenous ritual healing is the subject of much debate in anthropological research, only a few studies have actually shown what the physiological effects of indigenous ritual healing ceremonies are and how these effects are elicited via the ritual healing process. Using a biocultural approach, this research argues that Asante indigenous rituals can be compared to the process of psycho prophylaxis -- which promotes preparation, prevention, and protection against an ailment through psychological input and seeks to mediate the negative health effects of stress by educating patients about expectations, eliciting relaxation responses, and promoting self-regulation in treatment. These responses are measured qualitatively via extended fieldwork, participant observation, and interviews. Also, these responses are measured quantitatively by taking patient heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate before, during, and after ritual ceremonies. The results of this research show that there is a significant relaxation response in patients who attend Asante ritual healing ceremonies. These positive results affirm the prevalence of witchcraft, cursing, family obligations, and spiritual ailments, which keep patients coming back for more.
Ikeuchi, Suma, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Brazilian Birth, Japanese Blood, and Transnational God: Identity and Resilience among Pentecostal Brazilians in Japan,' supervised by Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva
Preliminary abstract: This study engages Brazilian migrants in Japan, both Pentecostal and non-religious, and asks the following question: Can religious networks, practices, and commitments promote a more resilient sense of self by resolving the ambiguity of multiple ethnic identities and national belonging? The majority of Brazilians in Japan hold 'long-term resident' visas, which are available only to Japanese emigrants and their second- and third- generation descendants. Although the legal structure regards them as at least partially Japanese based on descent, the Japanese majority typically does not view them as fully or authentically Japanese. This is because the society tends to define national belonging as the complete convergence of Japanese blood, culture, and language. In this context, many are converting to Pentecostal Christianity in Japan. This project focuses on the religious participation of such converts through the conceptual lens of resilience. The ability to resist stress and overcome adversity, or resilience, is a solid construct in psychological and medical anthropology. I will conduct seven months of fieldwork in Toyota City, Japan. The methods will include participant-observation, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and open interviews. Particular effort will be made to observe and record emic idioms of resilience, on which later data analysis will be based.
Morton, Micah Francis, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Negotiating the Changing Zomia of Mainland Southeast Asia: Akha Identitarian Politics,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
MICAH F. MORTON, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Negotiating the Changing Zomia of Mainland Southeast Asia: Akha Indentitarian Politics,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Between June 2011 and May 2012, the researcher conducted twelve months of fieldwork with certain members of the Akha indigenous group in Thailand who are involved in efforts to promote a more formal sense of belonging among Akha throughout the Upper Mekong Region - including East Burma, Southwest China, Northwest Laos and North Thailand. It was found that a growing number of Akha are participating in various activities being arranged as part of the movement and that a cross-border sense of belonging is developing. These activities ranged from Akha literacy training workshops to cultural festivals and formal meetings held to discuss how to go about preserving and modifying 'traditional' Akha culture. It was further found, however, that the cross-border sense of belonging that is developing exists beneath the various national level senses of belonging that different Akha communities have depending upon their particular country of residence. In short, Akha in Thailand for the most part see themselves as being Thai first and foremost and members of an international Akha community only second. Last, it was found that the cultural and linguistic emphasis of the movement fails to address the more practical concerns faced by the general Akha community.
Cox, Phyllida, Africa Gender Institute., Cape Town, South Africa - To aid research on 'Personhood, Gender and Modernity: Mediating Meanings of Abortion in South African Family Planning Clinics,' supervised by Dr. Andrea Cornwall
Classic anthropological perspectives on personhood and ethno medicine, are turned towards research on the perceptions and experiences of termination of pregnancy amongst Nurses and young people in a Xhosa speaking township on the Cape Flats, South Africa. Gendered analysis of stigmatized attitudes to abortion and cosmological beliefs in fetus ghosts are linked to questions of gender identity, sexuality, tradition and modernity in the impoverished and marginal spaces of post Apartheid South Africa. Multi sited ethnographic fieldwork is used to analyse the social spaces of family planning clinics and chart how abortion is given meaning by older women, who embody powerful matriarchal dispositions as Nurses, mothers and matriarchs within their communities. Participant observation and life histories conducted with Nurses, young women and men trace the relationship between changing gender relations and the symbolism of abortion to masculinities in crises. These narratives are connected to reveal intergenerational and gendered tensions over the meanings of cultural identity, tradition and female personhood as this community struggles to define its place within the changing post Apartheid landscape.