Robbins, Jessica Choate, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
JESSICA C. ROBBINS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This research investigated how experiences and ideals of aging relate to changing formations of nation and state through the study of contemporary practices of memory in Wroc?aw and Pozna?, Poland. This research sought to understand how older persons become transformed through practices of memory in personal, familial, and national contexts (e.g., telling life histories, creating photo albums and other material evidence, or following public debates on pension reform). To understand how current interpretations and ramifications of the last century's large-scale changes matter in the lives of aging Poles, and how the oldest generations matter to the Polish nation and state, this research consisted of an ethnographic study of aging Poles' gendered practices of reminiscence in a variety of social, political, religious, and economic contexts (e.g.,a church-run rehabilitation hospital, a state-run home for the chronically ill, a day care center for people with Alzheimer's disease, and Universities of the Third Age). This research demonstrated that experiences and ideals of aging are deeply gendered, and that older people's practices of memory are intimately bound up with transformations of persons, collective memory, and nationalisms, and tied to national practices of remembering Poland's past and creating the proper future path of state and nation.
Godoy, Irene, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Mechanisms of Inbreeding Avoidance in Cebus Capucinus,' supervised by Dr. Susan Emily Perry
IRENE GODOY, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Mechanisms of Inbreeding Avoidance in Cebus capucinus,' supervised by Dr. Susan E. Perry. This research project combines behavioral observation, genetics, and endocrinology to study mating behavior in the Lomas Barbudal population of wild capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) in Costa Rica. The main objective of the project is to determine the mechanism by which individuals avoid mating with close relatives. Hypotheses tested are: 1) early social familiarity; 2) phenotypic matching; and 3) the use of such cues as age proximity and adult male rank. Additional objectives are to determine whether females are more responsible than males for behaviors that prevent inbreeding, as well as to determine what stages in development are crucial for co-socialization to occur in order for sexual aversion to arise later in life. Ten-minute focal follows were conducted on 21 adult females and over 1,500 fecal samples were collected non-invasively for later extraction of steroid hormones to track changes in female reproductive phase. Preliminary results indicate that adult male rank and early spatial proximity to adult males during infancy are reliable indicators of paternal relatedness, while age proximity is a moderately good indicator of paternal sibship. Analyses are ongoing to see whether adult females use these cues or other mechanisms, such as phenotypic matching, to assess relatedness to other group members.
Widger, Thomas, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Youth Suicide Epidemic in Sri Lanka: Causes, Meanings, Prevention Strategies,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Parry
THOMAS WIDGER, then a student at London School of Economics, London, England, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'The Youth Suicide Epidemic in Sri Lanka: Causes, Meanings, Prevention Strategies,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Parry. Suicide in Sri Lanka has been a major health and social problem for the past four decades. The research project examined the social and psychological causes, cultural meanings, and formal and informal preventions strategies of suicidal behaviour amongst the Sinhalese of a small town on the northwest coast of the island. A combination of ethnographic, archival, clinical, and epidemiological methods were used that incorporated both qualitative and quantitative approaches. As a result, deep understanding of the range of contexts and experiences that contribute to and frame suicidal behaviour was established. In particular, romantic relationships and romantic loss, marriage, kinship and domestic stress, Sinhalese emotional disorder, and separation and misfortune were examined. The research will make contributions to the anthropology of suicide and South Asia and also anthropological theory.
Lau, Timm, Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Development of Moral Knowledge and Identity Formation in a Tibetan Community in Baijnath, India,' supervised by Dr. James A. Laidlaw
TIMM LAU, while a student at Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in March 2004 to aid research on 'The Development of Moral Knowledge and Identity Formation in a Tibetan Community in Baijnath, India,' supervised by Dr. James A. Laidlaw. This research, undertaken for the duration of 15 months from March 2004 until July 2005, set out to investigate the development of moral knowledge in a Tibetan settlement in North India, and its relationship to the formation of identity in this exile community. Ethnographically, it contributes to existing research in providing an in-depth description of Tibetan exiles in India, which includes interaction with the Indian host population. The most notable of these outside the Tibetan settlements is widespread itinerant trading in the Indian marketplace. Descriptions of Tibetan refugees' evaluations of Indians sheds light on issues of morality and identity: negative moral evaluations are often constructive of Tibetan identity through ascription of difference. They are also shown to be instrumental in dealing with contradictions in the lives of Tibetan refugees, which are largely shaped by Tibetan cultural preservation, but to some extent influenced by the pop-cultural sensibilities of their Indian host nation. Furthermore, the ethnography of the Tibetan emotional notions of harmony and shame establishes them as effective in moral development, through the construction of moral emotions, and also as instrumental in the construction of relationships within the family and the wider community.
Beliaev, Alexandre B., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Specters of Soviet Affinity: Political Participation Among Latvian Noncitizens,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Mark Cohen
ALEXANDRE BELIAEV, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Specters of Soviet Affinity: Political Participation among Latvian Noncitizens,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence M. Cohen. Latvia's 'noncitizens' are mostly ethnic Russians who settled in Latvia during the Soviet period. Following the restoration of Latvian independence, they did not commit to undergoing Latvian naturalization process. This research investigated: 1) how noncitizenship has come to be seen as enabling of certain political practices; and 2) how this set of practices has facilitated a polity that, while being coincident and maintained by the nation-state, has not been subsumed by it. This investigation yielded three conclusions. First, the pursuit of minority rights -- among them, the right to citizenship without undergoing naturalization -- is increasingly seen as non-political. Second, the notion of 'culture' implicit in the discourse on 'national minorities' does not correspond to the notion of 'cultured life,' which is seen as necessary for politics. Third, politics is increasingly understood in the idiom of 'coalition' rather than 'contestation.' The emergence of 'coalition' as a central political idiom is not a consequence of lessening of ethnic tensions, but rather a consequence of a new demarcation of privateIpublic spheres.
Pine, Jason A., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'La Sceneggiata: A Neapolitan Popular Song Genre, the Melodramatic Aesthetic and Its Moral/Political Economy,' supervised by Dr. Kathleen C. Stewart
JASON A. PINE, while a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, received funding in November 2002 to aid research on the moral and political economy of Naples, Italy, as seen through a popular song genre called the sceneggiata, under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen C. Stewart. The objective was to understand the role of emotion and aesthetics in a shadow economy dominated by organized crime. This melodramatic genre was found to be linked to organized crime in three ways: its lyrical content treated themes associated with organized crime, the circuit in which it was produced and performed was crosscut with organized criminal activities, and its primary consumers were crime families. The protagonists of the sceneggiata industry participated, to varying degrees, in organized crime, negotiating the moral valence of their choices according to context. Pine's goal was to understand the role emotions and aesthetics played in such negotiations. The guiding research questions were: In what practices did Neapolitans engage on the sceneggiata music scene and in other sectors of the shadow economy? What could individual life stories reveal about peoples' decisions to engage in the sceneggiata music industry and, by extension, in organized crime? How did singers and fans evaluate sceneggiata performances, and what made the melodramatic aesthetic significant for Neapolitans? Preliminary analysis revealed that in Naples, emotions and aesthetics dominated communication, social, musical, and economic practices because they enabled people to simultaneously respect and circumvent prohibitive expectations of secrecy in an environment of limited resources, volatile power balances, and fear of violence.
Flack, Jessica, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Conflict Management and the Distribution of Social Power in Chimpanzee Society,' supervised by Dr. Frans de Waal
JESSICA FLACK, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in July 2002 to aid research on conflict management and the distribution of social power in macaque and chimpanzee societies, under the supervision of Dr. Frans de Waal. Flack undertook her study in the context of the larger issue of social system robustness, a property of all complex adaptive evolving systems that persist in time. Towards addressing questions of robustness in animal social organization, she and her colleagues identified factors such as distribution of social power that might account for variation in conflict management mechanisms across primate societies. They employed a framework of communication about status-which linked two levels of analysis, the relationship and system levels-to explain the observed covariation in conflict and conflict management mechanisms reported for the macaque genus and applied a modified version of it to chimpanzees. The team tested hypotheses about candidate status signals, relationships between the distribution of social power and conflict management, the importance of potential conflict management mechanisms to social cohesion, and the robustness of social networks in the face of perturbations that disable conflict management mechanisms. To investigate these questions in pigtailed macaques, they used 'knockout' methods (temporary removal of effective policers) to determine how conflict management affected social system dynamics. In chimpanzees, they approached these questions through a comparative study of two captive populations with apparently different distributions of social power.
Tuttle, Brendan Rand, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Lives Apart: Diasporan Return, Youth, and Intergenerational Transformation in South Sudan,' supervised by Dr. Jessica R. Winegar
BRENDAN RAND TUTTLE, then a student at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Lives Apart: Diasporan Return, Youth, and Interfenerational Transformation in South Sudan, supervised by Dr. Jessica R. Winegar. Setting out from the experiences of young returnees from North America, Europe, and Australia, to places they called 'home' in Southern Sudan, this research explored endeavors to create networks of accountability among people living in multi-local (transnational and urban-rural) settings. This project began by exploring the particular dilemmas of returnees who, after long absences, struggled to create and activate localized ties to the places they considered home. It became a study of the particular ethical questions faced by a range of people considered partial outsiders -- particularly, migrants, soldiers, the educated, young people -- who were grappling with questions about their relations to their places of origin, what they owed to them, and what moral stakes were at play. During a period of relative calm in the region, the grantee conducted twelve months of ethnographic research in South Sudan, in Bor and the surrounding countryside, in order to understand the interrelations between contemporary ethical debates about authority and coercive power, migration, and the past.
Kelly, Tara Beth, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'In the Shadow of Their Chemicals: The Sociality of Ethnobotanical Procedures for Treating Malaria Symptoms in Oku, Cameroon,' supervised by Dr. Elisabeth Lee Hsu
TARA BETH KELLY, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received an award in October 2009 to aid research on 'In the Shadow of Their Chemicals: The Sociality of Ethnobotanical Procedures for Treating Malaria Symptoms in Oku, Cameroon,' supervised by Dr. Elisabeth Lee Hsu. This research, carried out in Oku Cameroon, addressed the use of plants in the traditional medicine treatments for malaria symptoms. Key research inquiries included looking into how malaria symptoms were understood, experienced, and treated with plants and ritual procedures by traditional doctors. The underlying focus of this research was to understand what it means from an internal Oku point of view for a plant to be a 'medicine' (or component thereof), and what comprises an effective medicinal therapy, in the context of febrile illness. The study entailed looking at plant uses outside of the medicine pot -- the predominant biomedical gaze on plants only as chemicals -- to see how plants are included in treatments in an array of applications found essential to traditional treatment efficacy. Aspects of change in regard to new and old technique incorporation were taken into consideration as traditional medicine in Oku stresses both the need to maintain traditional practices and the desire to competitively expand the power and capacities of each doctor. Exploration of how plant and medicine knowledge differed between genders emphasized differing pathways to medicinal knowledge.
Albanese, Jeffrey Scipione Black, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Social Alterity and Regulation in Legally-Recognized Homeless Tent Cities,' supervised by Dr. Damani Partridge
Preliminary abstract: Over the past decade, politically-organized homeless encampments, often called 'tent cities,' have emerged in cities across the US and have sometimes achieved legal-recognition. This is somewhat surprising as scholars and homeless advocates working in diverse local and national contexts have, over the same period of time, identified widespread patterns of urban administrative and (re)development practices that have, in effect, 'criminalized' homelessness. My project asks how such marginalized groups have managed to appropriate urban space and, at times, achieve formal recognition. Working with a legally-recognized encampment in a Pacific Northwest city, I consider recognition's regulatory effects on the social, economic, and moral alternatives that animate residents and activists involved with homeless tent cities. Anthropologists studying a variety of rights- and identity-based claims have argued that contemporary forms of recognition tend to suppress difference by producing and regulating subjects through forms of social protection that delimit possible actions and ways of being. My project asks whether similar dynamics are at work when incorporation proceeds through such legal technologies as zoning ordinances and building codes. The tent city I am working with was incorporated largely as a component of the built environment, rather than a liberal right protecting specific social practices. My research considers how the exigencies of such a form of recognition affects a tent city's social organization and everyday life and whether urban and municipal laws can facilitate, foster, or limit such alternative social projects.