James, Paul E., U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'The Disease Ecology of Asthma in the Migrant Mixtec Population,' supervised by Dr. Magdalena Hurtado
PAUL E. JAMES, then a student at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, received funding in January 2004 to aid research on 'The Disease of Ecology of Asthma in the Migrant Mixtec Population,' supervised by Dr. Magdalena Hurtado. What was an adaptive immune response to intestinal parasites in our agrarian past may underlie the current rise in childhood asthma among urban and acculturated populations. This research addressed the relationship between intestinal parasites and childhood asthma by examining the underlying immunological mechanisms, which these diseases share, within a transnational Mixtec population living in three distinct environments. Data collection included interviews, physiological measurements and biological sampling of induced sputum and stool from 196 Mixtec children aged 4 to 15 years living in rural Oaxaca, Mexico, urban Tijuana, Mexico and periurban California, USA. Preliminary analysis suggests that not just intestinal parasites but also other childhood infectious diseases may be protective against the development of childhood asthma. This may be the result of the general stimulation of a down regulatory effect of the interleukin-10 cytokine upon Immunoglobulin E mediated allergic inflammation. This supports the idea that a lag exists between biological adaptation and rapid ecological change, in this case due to urban migration, and that this theory is useful for linking biochemical processes to global patterns of disease such as the epidemiological transition from infectious to chronic disease.
Nalley, Thierra Kennec, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Suspensory Locomotion and the Neck: Analysis of Cervical Vertebrae in Living Primates and Fossil Hominins,' supervised by Dr. William H. Kimbel
THIERRA K. NALLEY, then a student at Arizona State University, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Suspensory Locomotion and the Neck: Analysis of Cervical Vertebrae in Living Primates and Fossil Hominins,' supervised by Dr. William H. Kimbel. This project examines the functional morphology of cervical vertebrae (i.e., the bony neck) of extant primates, with the goal of using the cervical spine to test hypotheses regarding positional behaviors in early hominins. Three biomechanical models guided the study's extant component: the suspensory, postural, and head-balancing models. Broadly, results were equivocal and no specific predictions were supported across all vertebral levels for both sexes. However, some patterns did emerge from the results. Specifically, analyses demonstrated that the suspensory and postural models received more support in the lower half of the cervical spine (C4-e7) compared to the upper (CI-e3). Results also revealed that the head-balancing model received the strongest support; in contrast to the suspensory or postural models, this evidence was concentrated in the upper half of the cervical spine. Fossil analyses revealed that early hominins, including Homo erectus, were clearly distinct from modern humans. Univariate analyses found that fossil morphology could generally not be distinguished from other anthropoid taxa, but multivariate analyses of overall cervical shape demonstrated that fossil taxa were most similar to extant apes. Overall, these results suggest that modern human cervical morphology did not appear in the hominin fossil record until late into the Pleistocene.
Conner, Ronald Charles, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Sounding into Being: The Musical Ethnogenesis of the Brazilian Tapeba People,' supervised by Dr. Anthony Seeger
Preliminary abstract: Throughout Northeast Brazil, the performance of the Toré--an indigenous music/dance ritual with sacred and ludic forms--helps substantiate the identity claims of reemerging traditional peoples seeking legal reclassification from mixed-race peasants to Amerindians. In the 1990s, amid deadly conflicts with white landholders, the Tapeba Indians became the first in the Northeast state of Ceará to win federal recognition and indigenous lands demarcation. Destabilizing the historical view that Northeast Brazilian Indians fell extinct during colonization (and Ceará's 1863 statutory decree affirming the same), the Tapeba's increased public profile owes much to Toré performances at their villages (just outside the state capital, Fortaleza) and intergroup indigenous events statewide. With other groups adopting the Toré and initiating similar claims, Ceará now has more open indigenous identity investigations than anywhere in Brazil. Through ethnographic research, I ask: How does the musical performance of identity animate indigenous ethnogenesis in Ceará, reflect acoustemological praxis, and inform public sphere discourses on indigeneity? Fieldwork conducted among the Tapeba, plus archival findings and interviews with Cearense public and media officials, will support a theorization of 'musical ethnogenesis,' or, the notion that music-making can sound new identities into being, propelling ethnic mobilization and revising material practices in the process. This work will add to the sparse body of indigenous music ethnography in Northeast Brazil, bridging studies in anthropology, ethnomusicology and indigenous identity. Most importantly, it will re-theorize ethnogenesis as a sociomusical practice, as well as sociopolitical and ethnohistorical process.
Soler Cruz, Carmin M., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Religious Commitment and Cooperation in Candomble Terreiros, in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk
CARMIN M. SOLER CRUZ, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received funding in May 2005 to aid research on 'Religious Commitment and Cooperation in Candomble Terreiros, in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk. The objective of the study was to explore religious commitment and cooperation in communities of Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion. During one year of fieldwork in the city of Salvador, Brazil, the grantee tested the hypothesis that expressions of religiosity that are costly in terms of effort, time or money are signals that promote cooperation towards the actor by other members of the group. The research consisted of three phases: in the first phase, informal interviews and participant observation in Candomblé temples, called terreiros, were used to construct individual questionnaires, interview protocols and a commitment scale. Secondly, a descriptive database of 61 randomly chosen Candomblé terreiros was constructed to assess the variability present across these communities. Finally, a sub-sample of 14 terreiros from the database was chosen to conduct informal and semi-structured interviews with members and to participate in an economic game, which served as an independent measure of cooperation. Statistical and text analysis of the data collected will reveal the relationship between the religious commitment displayed by adherents of Candomblé and the cooperation they give and receive within the social network that each terreiro represents, as well as shed light on the sociological motivations of religious belief and practice.
Hecht, Erin E., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Neural Adaptations Underlying the Evolution of Social Learning and Imitation,' supervised by Dr. Lisa A. Parr
ERIN E. HECHT, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was granted funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'Neural Adaptations Underlying the Evolution of Social Learning and Imitation,' supervised by Dr. Lisa A. Parr. Humans have unique capacities for social learning and culture. Other primates focus mainly on what is achieved by others' actions. Humans have the additional capacity to focus on how it is achieved. This enables us to copy not just an action's end result but also its methods. As a result, human culture is cumulative -- socially transmitted behaviors acquire successive improvements that are propagated with high fidelity. This ratchet effect lets each successive generation build upon the achievements of the last, resulting in things like particle accelerators and the Internet. This project searched for a biological basis for these behavioral adaptations. It compared brain activations and anatomy in macaques, chimpanzees, and humans. It focused on the mirror system, a network that maps others' movements onto one's own body. Two major findings have emerged. First, when chimpanzees view others' actions, they have more activation than humans in frontal cortex, which processes goals, and less activation in parietal cortex, which processes movement details. Second, the human mirror system has stronger anatomical connections with parietal cortex and with other regions that are involved in tool use and spatial attention. Together, these results offer a mechanistic explanation for human specializations for social learning and culture.
McKay, Ramah Katherine, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Medical Welfare in Neoliberal Times: Transnational Philanthropy, the Family, the Ethics of Care in Mozambique,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson
RAMAH McKAY, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Medical Welfare in Neoliberal Times: Transnational Philanthropy, the Family, the Ethics of Care in Mozambique,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson. This project examines the process through which welfare is made in contemporary Mozambique. Focusing on 'psycho-social' and 'community' technologies, the study examines how patients, clients, families, humanitarian and philanthropic organizations, and the state interact. The study uses interviews, participant observation, and media and archival analysis to examine how practices of social welfare are configured around 'natural,' 'social,' and 'biological' logics of risk and care. It investigates the political and medical process through which this occurs, investigating how psycho-social and community-oriented technologies work to mediate and administer caring practices making available some practices of care while foreclosing others. At a broad level, the research examines the relationship between public health projects and transnational philanthropy to understand political context in which health workers, families and patients learn and contest both new and old practices of welfare. At a micro level, the study asks about the narratives, practices and techniques through which welfare is constituted in Mozambique today.
McKay, Ramah K. 2012. Documentary Disorders: Managing Medical Multiplicity in Maputo, Mozambique. American Ethnologist 39(3):545-561.
Saxton, Dvera Irene, American U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Producers of the Sustainable: Organic Production and Farmworker Health,' supervised by Dr. Brett Williams
DVERA I. SAXTON, then a student at American University, Washington, DC, was awarded a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Producers of the Sustainable: Organic Production and Farmworker Health,' supervised by Dr. Brett Williams. This research explores the relationships between immigrant farmworker health, the organization of farm labor management on different kinds of farms, and the structures of agricultural markets and state policies in California. Semi-structured interviews and observations of occupationally injured and ill farmworkers revealed that broader, structurally based practices and legal policies -- as they are designed and influenced by agricultural corporate power -- not only inform on-farm occupational inequalities and health problems, but also contribute to farmworkers' lives in off-farm contexts. These processes were more significant than organic and conventional farming practices. An interrogation of the workers' compensation insurance and pesticide approval systems in the state of California highlight processes of contestation that persistently deny access to health benefits by negating the lived experiences and embodied knowledge of sick and injured farmworkers. Farmworker communities encompass many layers of vulnerabilities, including race, gender, work status, class, and state of health. These vulnerabilities are exacerbated by on-farm practices as well as off-farm relationships and structures. A number of social services and non-profits are often funded by the agricultural industry through corporate social responsibility and philanthropy programs. While mitigating some suffering, such problems fail to address the root sources of farmworker health problems. Consequently, many farmworkers develop their own coping strategies including innovative, non-capitalist cross-border exchanges, which are not limited to sending monetary remittances to Mexico. These range from emotional and social support, medical care, seed exchange, child and elder care, and alternative income generating strategies.
Green, David Joel, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Shoulder Functional Anatomy and Development - Implications for Interpreting Early Hominin Locomotion,' supervised by Dr. Brian Garth Richmond
DAVID GREEN, then a student at George Washington University, Washington, DC, was awarded a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Shoulder Functional Anatomy and Development - Implications for Interpreting Early Hominin Locomotion,' supervised by Dr. Brian Garth Richmond. Focusing on hominin shoulder functional morphology, the grantee utilized a mouse model to test how muscle size and locomotor differences influence shoulder form. Next he considered shoulder morphological development among extant anthropoid taxa to examine how shoulder traits related to suspensory locomotion changed during ontogeny and then examined those shoulder traits in early hominin fossils. The mouse study revealed certain aspects of the scapula blade and glenohumeral joint that changed in response to either behavioral or muscular differences. Additionally, the grantee noted certain aspects of chimpanzee and gorilla scapulae that changed in concert with decreased rates of suspensory behavior throughout their development, suggesting a link between the morphology and behavior. Finally, those same features were also found to be primitive in the Australopithecus infant from Dikika, but more derived in the Homo ergaster youth from Nariokotome, indicating that these two hominin groups used their upper limbs differently. Put together, this study identified characters that not only sorted different locomotor groups but also showed that these traits can be modified in response to changing patterns of behavior in life. As such, these traits may be useful for reconstructing the locomotor behavior of extinct hominin taxa.
Green, David J. 2013. Ontogeny of the Hominoid Scapula: The Influence of Locomotion on Morphology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 152(2):239-260.
London, Douglas Stuart, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Hunter-Gatherers and Dietary Double-Edged Swords: Food as Medicine among the Waorani Foragers of Amazonian Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Takeyuki Tsuda
DOUGAS S. LONDON, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Hunter-Gatherers and Dietary Double-Edged Swords: Food as Medicine among the Waorani Foragers of Amazonian Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Takeyuki Tsuda. The study used an evolutionary health model to compare and evaluate the relationship between food systems and health across two Ecuadorian Amazon indigenous groups: the last true Waorani hunter-gatherer group in Ecuador, and the other a remote neighboring Kichwa indigenous community practicing subsistence agriculture in the same rain forest. Ancient ethnic food systems such as those of the Waorani forager population may not only be nutritionally but also pharmaceutically beneficial because of high dietary intake of varied plant defense secondary chemical compounds. An agricultural diet reducing these dietary plant defense antibodies below levels typical in human evolutionary history may leave humans vulnerable to diseases that were controlled through a foraging diet. Data included medical examinations, lab tests, anthropometric measurements, public health data, dietary surveys, food system surveys, and participant observation of the foods systems. There was an absence of many infectious diseases in the Waorani forager population common to the Kichwa and other neighboring isolated Amazonian indigenous subsistence agriculture populations. For instance, in the forager group there were no signs of infection in serious wounds (third-degree burns and spear wounds) and the foragers had a one degree Fahrenheit lower average body temperature than the Kichwa farmers.