Brant, Erika Marie, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Ancestors and Aggrandizers: Modeling Political Power and Ancestor Veneration in a Post-collapse Andean Society (AD 1000-1450),' supervised by Dr. Stephen Plog
ERIKA M. BRANT, then a student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Ancestors and Aggrandizers: Modeling Political Power and Ancestor Veneration in a Post-collapse Andean Society (AD 1000-1450),' supervised by Dr. Stephen Plog. Anthropologists have long viewed ancestors as a source of kin-based authority that leaders draw upon to validate claims to power. An alternative viewpoint posits that ancestor worship may prevent the emergence of centralized authority and provide the ideological foundations for more equitable forms of sociality. This dissertation research project evaluates contrasting models of ancestor veneration in the Titicaca Basin of Peru through surface collection and targeted excavations at Sillustani-the foremost necropolis of the Colla ethnic group (AD 1000-1450). Following the collapse of the Tiwanaku state (c. AD 1000), the proliferation of modest forms of burial and commemoration in the Colla region seem to indicate a rejection of aggrandizing ideologies and the use of ancestors to promote more equitable social relations. Excavations at Sillustani revealed evidence for multiple elite residences, lineage-based ancestral shrines, an obsidian workshop, and also served to define the extent of the domestic sector. Materials recovered from Sillustani point to the performance of ancestor-focused rites by multiple and/or situational leaders. Forthcoming analyses of ceramic and faunal materials will further clarify the role of ancestor veneration in the reorganization of post-collapse Titicaca Basin societies.
Hepner, Tricia M. Redeker, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Of Eritrea and Exile: Trans/Nationalism in the Horn of Africa and the United States, ' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina
Geraghty, Mark Anthony, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Genocide Ideology, Nation-Building, Counter-Revolution: Spectres of the Rwandan State and Nation,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff
MARK ANTHONY GERAGHTY, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Genocide Ideology, Nation-Building, Counter-Revolution: Spectres of the Rwandan State and Nation,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff. This dissertation research project investigated the Rwandan state's campaign against genocide ideology -- ideas, revealed through acts, speech and writing, said to foster ethnic hatred, now officially constituted as the root cause of genocide. This campaign represents a key moment in the nation-building efforts of the post-genocide regime. The ethnographic task of this research project has involved investigating the quotidian operations of the Rwandan state's fight against genocide ideology -- the contextually situated discourses, practices, and institutions that constitute it -- to assess its differential impact on, implications for, and understandings by, various sections of the Rwandan population. Field research examined in unprecedented depth a number of institutions central to the campaign against genocide ideology, including the Gacaca courts, prisons and the conventional courts of law, the system of Ingando and Itorero 'civic education' camps, and genocide memorialization and commemoration. Data gathering techniques involved a combination of careful observation, informal conversational interactions, both semi-structured and structured interviews, and the critical use of media sources and court archives and documents. The findings of this research bear upon the success of reconciliation efforts and prospects of renewed violence in the wake of one of the deadliest bouts of ethnic massacres and genocide of the twentieth century.
Webb, Martin, U. of Sussex, Brighton, UK - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Anti-Corruption in India,' supervised by Dr. Geert deNeve
MARTIN WEBB, then a student at University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'The Social Life of Anti-Corruption in India,' supervised by Dr. Geert deNeve. This project looks at the social life of anti-corruption activist networks in Delhi, India. These networks contain a wide range of people and groups, from the social elite of lawyers, activists, journalists and ex-military and civil service people working on high level policy issues, to some of the poorest in the city living in slums and doing the daily work of the 'community mobilizer' in activist groups that work in very specific localities. This social world provides a space in which to investigate how power relations based on class, caste, gender and education operate and facilitate the work that groups do, as well as providing an historical perspective through contact with older activists who had been involved in previous movements for ethical change. A focus on the relationships between these actors reveals how everyday life and livelihoods are caught up in a scene that connects urban slum dwellers to elite individuals and then on to national and international sources of funding that enable them all to continue to muddle through the work that they do.
Labrador, Angela Marie, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton
ANGELA M. LABRADOR, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton. This research explored how a rural New England community has leveraged the legal instrument of the conservation easement to protect their cultural landscapes and associated cultural identities and values. The fieldwork documented the social impacts of conservation easements, framing their application as part of a wider social ethic, deeply embedded in local cultural heritage. Traditionally, the protection of heritage is conceptualized as a 'preservation' process enacted by experts using etic standards of cultural and material 'authenticity.' However, this approach has alienated communities from their heritage. This research contributes a dynamic framework of heritage as a creatively shared component of community life and its safeguarding as an ethos informed by emic values and enacted by a broader base of stakeholders. The resulting ethnography -- which combined archival research, participant observation, and Photovoice -- actively engaged with the social ethic that supports the landscape protection program. Two sets of findings resulted: one assessed the potential and shortcomings of the heritage commons created through the usage of conservation easements and the other proposed a methodology for facilitating community-based and deliberative reflection on the past and future in rural places struggling with the socio-economic transformations of modernity.
Barron, Desiree Lynette, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Indigenous Maori Cultural Production Through Sport,' supervised by Dr. Fred Myers
Preliminary abstract: In the bicultural settler state of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Maori participation in rugby is especially notable as a site for Maori distinction, yet remains understudied as a significant site for cultural production. While rugby is celebrated as a valorized sphere for Maori public participation and critiques of the nature of representations of Maori in rugby are persistent features of rugby culture, there is much more to understand beyond this binary. My proposed ethnographic study and analysis of rugby as a field of cultural production (one in which New Zealand's indigenous Maori have been uniquely successful) allows for a nuanced understanding of the successes, failures, and controversies specific to the Maori experience of rugby as a 'global media sport': from the use of indigenous cultural property in sports promotion, to racially-inflected and potentially exploitative recruitment targeting of Maori athletes, to its place in communities and social networks, as well as a source of individual career opportunities. Preliminary research reveals that all these rely on the public spaces and activities offered by amateur rugby clubs. In distinction to macro-level critiques of sports' political economy, or cultural studies' critiques of representation in sport, this project seeks to engage Maori in their community-level incarnations, while attending to the broader social field of rugby, in order to understand how Maori indigenize this sport, and how we, as anthropologists, can understand their assertion (as in Mulholland 2009) that these projects constitute a specific way of being Maori.
Perdigon, Sylvain, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Interim Structures of Kinship: Kin Relatedness among Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
SYLVAIN PERDIGON, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'The Interim Structures of Kinship: Kin Relatedness among Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Located in the Palestinian refugee community of Southern Lebanon, the study undertaken under this grant experiments with one of the most canonical, and disputed, methods of ethnographic research-the collection of genealogies-in order to examine the suffering and creativity involved in carrying on an ethics of family life in the ever provisional environment of refugee camps. This method, combined with a systematic examination of the household economy, and with participant observation of everyday life in a time of great instability, clearly demonstrates the centrality and stability of a specific model of family life-the extended family organized around the sibling tie-to strategies for coping with the uncertainty of the refugee environment. However, by identifying narratives, language games, and everyday or ritual practices through which relatedness is practiced, performed, or reflected upon, the research also evinces the great variety of ways in which relations and their making, maintaining, and unmaking are imagined in the refugee community. By specifically highlighting the overlap in the refugee environment of practices associated with kinship, and of procedures associated with the production, or contestation, of certainty regarding relatives and relationships, it also invites to reconsider one of the oldest arguments of the discipline of anthropology-that which posited a foundational link between kinship and epistemology, relatedness and the everyday conditions of knowing.
Fehrer, Kendra C., Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Decentralizing Democracy: Urban Participation in Chavez's Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Kay B. Warren
KENDRA C. FEHRER, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded a grant in May 2009 to aid research on 'Decentralizing Democracy: Urban Participation in Chavez's Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Kay B. Warren. Research investigated the interaction of local citizenship practices with national development policy, and more specifically how citizens participate in a government program designed to foster grassroots democracy. Over the last several decades, political anthropologists studying the state have viewed participatory state programs as techniques of governance, mechanisms of constructing a 'governable subject' amenable to the state agenda. At the same time, development studies scholars have documented emerging participatory programs as institutionalized mechanisms of 'deepening democracy,' providing communities opportunities to expand the range and substance of their claims as citizens. Through twelve months of ethnographic research in a working class community in peri-urban Venezuela, the grantee explored the uneven, partial, and contested interaction of local practices with participatory development programs. Findings indicate that participatory programs -- as sights of negotiation and contestation over public resources -- were altering the mechanisms and meanings of citizen's participation. Specifically, they are circumscribing new practices and categories of citizenship closely tied to consumption of consumer goods, performance of public policy, and proximity to party structures. In a politically and geographically peripheral community far from the national capital, these practices are being contested and negotiated by community members seeking to create their own historical memory, livelihoods, and aspirations.
Thomas, Samuel Atsushi, U. of Oxford, Oxford, UK - To aid research on ''Knowing difference': Healing, History, and the Other in Afro-Indigenous Relations in the Pacific Lowlands, Colombia', supervised by Dr. Laura Marie Rival
SAMUEL A. THOMAS, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in November 2006 to aid research on ''Knowing Difference:' Healing, History, and the Other in Afro-Indigenous Relations in the Pacific Lowlands, Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Laura Rival. How can we understand the diversity of cultural expression in a world where relations between human populations are, and have always been, a defining feature of their existence? How can difference between social groupings be conceived in a manner that overcomes the limitations of the self-referential frames of race, culture, and ethnicity? The research has addressed this concern through an analysis of the relational context of Black and Indigenous (Epérãrã-Síapidãarã) communities in the headwaters of Río Saijá in the Pacific Lowlands of Colombia. In the course of investigation, themes such as the local economy, healing practice, colonial experience implicating Catholic faith, and the marginality of these communities in terms of multicultural politics of the nation and the transnational coca economy have emerged to portray a fertile tension between simultaneous forces of similarity and difference. With a principal focus on healing, the manner in which this knowledge has been articulated through history -- and the way in which this history is drawn upon in the act of healing -- points towards a consideration of orders of knowledge that, in the process of their constitution, are revealing of both the unity of humankind and the particularity of socio-cultural expression.
Kaehler, Laura E., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Market Translators in Kuala Lumpur: Social Practice in High Finance,' supervised by Dr. Jane C. Schneider
LAURA E. KAEHLER, while a student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in New York, New York, received funding in July 2001 to aid research on social practice in high finance in Kuala Lumpur, under the supervision of Dr. Jane C. Schneider. Kaehler's findings indicated that in Malaysia, the commodification of risk was a crucial cause of the financial crisis of 1997-98. Risk management practices were also implicated in the uneven distribution of the effects of the crisis across society. At the time of Kaehler's research, the political and financial elite were attempting to inculcate practices of risk management at the family, state, and national levels. However, the governmental calculus and rhetoric of risk aversion, as well as the state-controlled media's focus on manipulation of risk, had served to make the public not more risk averse but less so. 'Stock fever' continued at pre-crisis levels, and market participation had become a key marker of sociability, patronage, and prestige. Increasingly, social life had become regulated by market practice, which meant not just simple market economics but the adoption of a frenzied style of stock-market speculation by unlikely comers from private and public life. Kaehler collected evidence through interviews with government officials, fund managers, and individual investors and through participant observation at a Malaysian hedge fund. Her findings suggested a possible reformulation of anthropologists' arguments regarding the embedding of markets in societies to incorporate the transplanting of Euro-American financial markets into developing countries without grafting roots in local market cultures, even where financial markets were run by locals.