Mendoza Rockwell, Elsa Natalia, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The State of Eloquence: Parliaments and Democratic Discourse in Mali,' supervised by Dr. Claudio Lomnitz
ELSA N. MENDOZA-ROCKWELL, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'The State of Eloquence: Parliaments and Democratic Discourse in Mali,' supervised by Dr. Claudio Lomnitz. In the last twenty years electoral multi-party forms of democracy have gained universal validity relegating all other political systems to illegitimacy. During the 1990s many African countries moved from 'authoritarian' regimes to 'democratic' ones. Mali was renowned as one of the most successful African cases of democratization until the 2012 military coup. This research explores the actual political practices that such democratization processes triggered and attempts to take seriously explicit and implicit reactions to electoral democracy. It is centered on the discursive aspects of politics, more specifically on the status of debate and deliberation in so called 'pluralist' regimes. It is empirically grounded in the observation of a large number of different political meetings -- ranging from the National Assembly to youth political debates -- in Mali in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Those recordings provide the evidence needed to explore the following questions: Has electoral democracy allowed for the expression of a more diverse spectrum of political means and ends? What are the ways in which electoral democracy disciplines and uniforms political movements and demands while promoting pluralism and dissent? How does the limit between democracy and anti-democracy gets discursively established before and after the military coup?
Harris, Tara, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'The Functions of Roaring and Intergroup Aggression in Black and White Colobus Monkeys (*Colobus guereza*),' supervised by Dr. David P. Watts
TARA HARRIS, while a student at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded a grant in January 2003 to aid research on the functions of roaring and intergroup aggression in black-and-white colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza, 'guerezas') in Kenya, under the supervision of Dr. David P. Watts. Adult male guerezas regularly engage in intergroup aggression and roar choruses, two potentially related behaviors. Previous research had shown that male guerezas in Kenya used intergroup aggression to defend mates but also to defend the food resources that females needed. This latter finding challenged current primate socioecological theory. In this project, Harris investigated whether male resource defense also occurred in a habitat in which guerezas' preferred food was presumably less defensible and whether roaring by males was related to mate defense, resource defense, or both. Roars might also be related to intergroup aggression, because their acoustic frequencies provide honest information about callers' body sizes. Harris investigated whether the outcomes of intergroup encounters could be predicted from body size information encoded in males' roars. The research was conducted at the Kanyawara field site in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Data on roaring, intergroup aggression, ranging, activity, grooming, approaches, diet, and mating behavior were collected between July 2002 and October 2003 for six groups of guerezas with overlapping home ranges. Morning chorus roars were digitally recorded, and urine from potentially fertile females was collected. Roars were subjected to spectrographic and formant analysis. Urine samples were assayed for progesterone and estrogen metabolites, in order to determine ovulation dates and thus test the mate defense hypothesis.
Feldman, Joseph Peter, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Memorialization and Politics in Post-Conflict Peru,' supervised by Dr. Florence Evelyn Babb
JOSEPH P. FELDMAN, then a student at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Memorialization and Politics in Post-Conflict Peru,' supervised by Dr. Florence Babb. The research, conducted between January and December 2013 in Lima, Peru, examined the process of making the Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion (Lugar de la Memoria. la Tolerancia y la Inclusion Social), a national museum charged with representing the history of political violence that took place in Peru during the 1980s and 1990s. Using interviews, participant observation, and archival sources, the investigation focused on the history and social life of the museum project as well as the institution's relation to diverse publics. Preliminary findings relate to the transnational dimensions of the Place of Memory, the participation of victims and the armed forces in the project, and the implications of the museum's 'post-truth commission' identity. The dissertation is positioned to make contributions to museum anthropology, the anthropology of the state, and research on violence and post-conflict transitions in Latin America.
Watkins, Tammy Y., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Children's Subsistence Contributions to Pastoral Households in the Drylands of East Africa,' supervised by Alexandra Avril Brewis
TAMMY Y. WATKINS, then a student at University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Children's Subsistence Contributions to Pastoral Households in the Drylands of East Africa,' supervised by Alexandra Avril Brewis. This dissertation describes how and when children use subsistence strategies to contribute to livelihoods and the values and outcomes to themselves, their peers, and their households among pastoralists in the drylands of East Africa. Children's contributions to subsistence have been studied among agriculturalists and more recently, among hunter-gatherers. Children may begin to contribute to household livelihood at early ages, depending on the subsistence mode of their society and the environment in which they live. This dissertation addresses basic anthropological questions such as: What is the function of children's subsistence strategies? Who receives the benefits of them? In what environments do children practice their strategies? Which strategies do they practice and when? and What are the biological consequences of children's own actions and worldviews? This dissertation combines nutrition and health methodology and outcomes to evaluate biological variation and adaptation in children by building on the evidence that optimal foraging returns should be based not only on energy returns, but also on nutritional returns and health consequences within cultural and environmental contexts. Finally, meta-analyses of subsistence risk management research within Anthropology reveal a lack of empirical data with which to test models. This project uses empirical data to begin the process of rigorously testing hypotheses about children's roles within households and communities, why children forage, especially in non-foraging societies, and risk management. Results of this research will be valuable not only to Anthropology, but also to government and non-government organizations producing policy related to children, education, food security, livelihoods and development among dryland pastoralists.
LeJeune, Colin Thomas, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Local Earthenware Ceramic Decoration and Identity Transformation on Kenya's Swahili Coast, AD 1200-1500,' supervised by Dr. Sloan R. Williams
Preliminary abstract:This research project examines the relationship between interregional maritime exchange, socio-political change, and the organization of daily life in pre-modern coastal Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Thailand.
Wobber, Victoria Elizabeth, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Novel Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Cognition,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham
VICTORIA E. WOBBER, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Novel Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Cognition,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham. Human cognition is central to our species' uniqueness, determining our cultural sensibilities and facilitating our ability to use language. Understanding the developmental origins of cognitive abilities provides further insight into how human cognition differs from that of other animals. The development of numerous human traits has been altered relative to other primates, such as the advent of adolescent growth spurts in height and of menopause. However, little comparative work has determined how humans' cognitive development is distinct. This project assessed cognitive development in humans' two closest living relatives, bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Bonobos have been suggested to be paedomorphic, or 'juvenilized,' in the development of their skeletal features in comparison to chimpanzees. This project tested the hypothesis that bonobos are also cognitively paedomorphic relative to chimpanzees. Bonobos were found to exhibit delayed development in their skills of physical cognition, or knowledge of the physical world, though their social cognitive skills developed comparably to those of chimpanzees. These results suggest that developmental patterns were under selection in recent ape evolution. Similar shifts in human development may have resulted from convergent selection pressures in bonobos and humans, for example in the reduction of aggression in both species.
Breglia, Lisa C., Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Preservation through Privatization: Maya Heritage Workers and Transnational Institutions in Yucatan, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. George E. Marcus
LISA C. BREGLIA, while a student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on Maya heritage workers and transnational institutions in Yucatán, Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. George E. Marcus. Breglia's ethnographic and historical study was based on the premise that archaeological ruins in Mexico, although juridically mandated as national property, are, in practice, sites of multiple, coexisting claims of ownership, custodianship, and inheritance. Focusing on the recent interventions of Mexican cultural institutions, foreign archaeological research, and U.S. and Mexican nongovernmental organizations, Breglia demonstrated how de jure policies and de facto practices of privatization at the archaeological site of Chunchucmil arose historically and affected the Maya community of Kochol in terms of the ownership, use, and tenure of land within the archaeological zone. She also investigated how local patrimonial claims to and understandings of the ruins were situated in relation to state policy regarding the ownership and custodianship of cultural materials, issues of jurisdiction and access within archaeological zones, and the ongoing efforts of U.S. and Mexican interest groups to develop archaeological sites and promote both scientific knowledge of ancient Maya civilization and international cultural tourism.
Dharia, Namita Vijay, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Building the City: An Ethnography of the Building Construction Industry in New Delhi-National Capital Region, India (NCR),' supervised by Dr. Michael Herzfeld
NAMITA V. DHARIA, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'Building the City: An Ethnography of the Building Construction Industry in New Delhi National Capital Region, India (NCR),' supervised by Dr. Michael Herzfeld. This is an ethnography of the building construction industry in India's National Capital Region (NCR). Building construction is India's second-largest industry after agriculture and draws individuals from all classes and areas in India. The dissertation studies how varied and competing desires for money, mobility, home, and stability amongst individuals in the industry gives rise to specific processes and forms of urban development. The grantee conducted fifteen months of situated and networked fieldwork in Gurgaon, NCR. The data gathered through this fieldwork links the everyday emotions and aspirations of individuals in the construction industry to the politics and materialities of urban development in the region. The methodology was an immersive, deeply qualitative ethnography. It involved observation of construction activity, shadowing, open-ended interviews, and gathering narratives of development politics. The project aims to be a phenomenological critique of the social and physical growth of cities and, through it, offers a critical commentary on the politics of labor and urban development in South Asia.
Cesarino, Pedro D., U. of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - To aid research on 'Translation and Study of Marubo Oral Tradition,' supervised by Dr. Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro
PEDRO D. CESARINO, then a student at University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Translation and Study of Marubo Oral Tradition,' supervised by Dr. Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro. This project was conducted in the Indigenous Reservation Vale do Javari (Amazonas State, Brazil) to analyze verbal arts related to shamanism, cosmology, and death conceptions of the Marubo, speakers of a Panoan language from the upper Ituí River. The research resulted in a substantial collection of recorded chants, narratives, and interviews, as well as drawings done by three elderly shamans. A selection of translations, drawings, and research data will be used to illustrate the notions of social and cosmological transformation involved in Marubo mythology and shamanism, as well as the characteristics of the synesthetic poetics (inter-relation of distinctive aesthetic domains) developed by this culture. Fieldwork, conjugated with the work of translation of a corpus originated from oral tradition, led to the recognition of an encompassing and live system of cosmological reflection and ritual action regarding death and disease, which was the focus of this research.
Saini, Shashank, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Urbanity and its Discontents: Violence, Masculinity and Dispossession in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Deborah Thomas
Preliminary abstract: The recent discourse about sexual violence in Delhi is masking deeper material transformations occurring in the region. Agricultural lands in peri-urban Delhi--which currently constitutes two-thirds of Delhi--are being acquired at a fast pace per the state's mandate to double the urbanized area of Delhi by 2021. As shopping malls and gated communities are being erected on village lands, rural men from urban villages are being considered a threat to urban modernity as the incidents of sexual violence in which rural men are perpetrators are being selectively highlighted in newspaper reports. These discursive developments and material transformations have produced an exceptionally precarious state for young males from urban villages who are being forced to confront a service industry economy, a mode of production for which they possess neither the habitus, nor the education. My dissertation project will explore the emergent processes of subject-making of these male youth from urban villages, and particularly their notions and practices of masculinity, within the context of a fast changing political economy in Delhi characterized by transformations in modes of production and relationships to land, the emergence of new class and status groups, and the influx of new patterns of consumerism.