Wesolowski, Katya, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Serious Play: Youth, Identity Politics and Agency in an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art,' supervised by Dr. Charles C. Harrington
KATYA WESOLOWSKI, while a student at Teachers College of Columbia University in in New York, New York, was awarded a grant in November 2001 to aid research on capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art, under the supervision of Dr. Charles Harrington. Wesolowski carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, among capoeira groups with national and international representation. Additional funding awarded in November 2002 provided for a four-week trip to Angola to participate in a capoeira event in Luanda. Using participant observation, semistructured interviews, archival research, photography, videotaping, and her own apprenticeship as a capoeirista, Wesolowski explored the changing dynamics in practice and interpretation of the fighting art. A physically demanding blend of fight, dance, and acrobatics accompanied by music, created by African slaves in Brazil, capoeira has held an ambiguous and shifting relationship to the state throughout its history. Outlawed at the end of nineteenth century as a subversive practice and glorified in the early twentieth century as the 'national sport,' capoeira is today presented as a cultural manifestation, educational practice, and sport throughout Brazil and the world, drawing a wide array of participants. Accompanying groups to diverse settings throughout Rio de Janeiro-from community centers in favelas to fancy health clubs in Ipanema, and from private nursery schools to federal universities-Wesolowski explored the internal politics of capoeira identity and practice as individuals and groups vied for space in the expanding media and marketplace at local and global levels.
Wesolowshi, Katya. 2012. Professionalizing Capoeira: The Politics of Play in Twenty-First-Century Brazil. Latin American perspectives Issue 183, 39(2):82-92.
Koch, Insa Lee, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on ''Anti-Social Behaviour': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner
INSA LEE KOCH, then a student at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on ''Anti-Social Behavior': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. This research investigated the role of the state in the life of white working class people on a post-industrial council estate in England. As geographically demarcated areas of government-built housing, often characterized by a strong involvement of state authorities and high degrees of welfare dependency, council estates can be seen as primary instances of state-building projects. Based upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted on one of Britain's largest council estates, this research investigated how its local people come to imagine and make use of the state in their everyday lives. It found that people often treat the state as a personalized resource to rely upon to upset, modify, and generate intimate social relationships that otherwise exist beyond the domain of official state intervention. In a context characterized by intra-community divisions and enmities, an array of state actors -- such as the police, social services and council officers -- then become potential allies to mobilize in one's pursuit of reputation, recognition and justice. Looking at the state, not as a distinct entity on its own, but as an intimate extension of people's social lives, this research offered insights into the sociality of British working-class communities, as well as into broader anthropological discussions of the state, citizenship, and democratic politics.
Agudo-Sanchiz, Alejandro, Manchester U., Manchester, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Household Processes, Occupation of Territory, and Community Reproduction among the Chol Maya of Chiapas, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. John E. Gledhill
ALEJANDRO AGUDO-SANCHIZ, while a student at Manchester University in Manchester, England, received a grant in July 2002 to aid research on household processes, occupation of territory, and community reproduction among the Chol Maya of Chiapas, Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. John E. Gledhill. Agudo-Sanchiz's aim was to examine how different generations' access to land was determined by the interplay of internal household dynamics and external factors of collectivity. He conducted surveys in three rural settlements that had resulted from territorial expansion throughout the twentieth century. Collecting as many cases as possible in interrelated localities established at different times solved the problem of deciding which sample of households was representative of a particular population at a given time. Multisite inquiry thus facilitated study of the relationship between household formation and modes of land appropriation and tenure. The study confirmed that formal rules of recruitment and residence carried less weight than (re)productive strategies for the optimal use of personnel and resources. Agudo-Sanchiz concluded that co-residence was often a consequence of task-related activities, which he thus took as the defining criterion for the household dimension of domestic groups. Because similar household structures resulted from widely diverse arrangements, survey data were checked against information on the trajectories and decisions of household members. These showed that household arrangements were closely linked to both material and ideological opportunities for, and constraints on, land acquisition, which for younger members depended on the interplay of seniors' decisions and broader forces and relationships affecting the seniors' own access to resources. Nonetheless, as evinced by the various forms of tenure encountered, each new generation adapted to such combinations of factors to devise characteristic modes of territorial expansion.
Peche, Linda Ho, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Constructing Self and Spirit: Home Altars and the Articulation of Vietnamese American Subjectivities,' supervised by Dr. Pauline Turner Strong
LINDA HO PECHE, then a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Constructing Self and Spirit: Home Altars and the Articulation of Vietnamese American Subjectivities,' supervised by Dr. Pauline Turner Strong. This project is about spiritual connection -- how the 'spiritual' is accessed, experienced and/or transformed in the materiality of everyday life for Vietnamese Americans. The context is a community envisioning itself emerging from war and refugee flight as well as grounding itself as truly American. Specifically, this project examines Vietnamese American home altars and shrines as social spaces where cultural, religious and political ideologies are experienced and expressed. It seeks to explore how religious experiences inform and are produced by a kind of 'spirit' of a community, addressed not through some static notion of 'identity' but, instead, as constituted (and continually re-constituted) through expressive practices. With this approach, the 'spirit' and 'spiritualities' of Vietnamese America are fulfilled through experience rather than revealed in a holistic sense. What emerges is a shifting and negotiated spectrum of belief and practice, navigated both through an exploration of different spiritual/spatial landscapes and collective diasporic imaginaries.
Dua, Jatin, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
JATIN DUA, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. Since 2008, a number of high profile incidents of piracy off the coast of East Africa have resulted in increased global attention to this region, including the deployment of a multi-national naval patrol and attempts to prosecute suspected pirates. Policy makers have attributed this phenomenon to the lack of a strong centralized government in Somalia and called for various forms of intervention on-shore to address piracy's root causes. However, this interpretation of the conflict obscures a longer history of regulation and transgression and piracy's long pedigree in the Western Indian Ocean. This research resituates piracy within histories of the Indian Ocean and longstanding attempts to redefine sovereignty and legality within this oceanic space. This work suggests that maritime piracy may be better understood as a form of capital-intensive armed entrepreneurship and an attempt to secure protection from global poaching, waste dumping, and from the surveillance of regulators. As such, piracy as a system of protection competes with a variety of state and non-state forms of protection in this area. This project investigates the encounters between these overlapping regimes of protection and regulation in the Western Indian Ocean.
Tookes, Jennifer L. S., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Rice and Peas in the Diaspora: Nutrition and Food Choice among Barbadian Immigrants in Atlanta,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown
JENNIFER L.S. TOOKES, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in April 2009 to aid research on 'Rice and Peas in the Diaspora: Nutrition and Food Choice among Barbadian Immigrants in Atlanta,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown. Dissertation research investigated how quantities and types of foods consumed, emic meanings of these choices, perceptions of physical activity, body image and body compositions differ between native-English speaking populations in Barbados and migrant Barbadians in the United States. This research ties ethnographic analysis of cultural meaning of food and food change in migration to quantitative research on the physical impacts of that shift, while challenging popular notions of acculturation to American lifestyles in a non-Latino migrant group. This project included the use of extensive participant observation in both the Atlanta area and the island of Barbados, semi- and unstructured interviews with Barbadians in the US and abroad, collection of cultural consensus and consonance data, along with food journals and anthropometric measurements. Ultimately, the data collected during the year's research in both Atlanta and Barbados will provide extensive information on how the topics of food, activity and body image interact to shape people's opinions and behaviors relating to food choice and health across migration.
Jernigan, Kevin A., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'A Study of Tree Identification among the Aguaruna Jivaro of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Brent Berlin
KEVIN A. JERNIGAN, then a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in January 2004 to aid research on 'A Study of Tree Identification among the Aguaruna Jivaro of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Brent Berlin. A year-long ethnobotanical study was carried out in several indigenous communities on the Nieva River, in the Peruvian Amazon, to determine how the Aguaruna Jivaro identify trees of their local environment. After eliciting freelists of tree names from community members, 65 trees were selected from the freelists for measuring identification methods. Interviews with eight key informants helped to determine how the identifications were made and voucher specimens were collected from the selected trees. This study made use of the Aguaruna concept of kumpaji, glossed as companion, which denotes species thought to be perceptually similar but not subsumed under a shared name. Questions designed to elicit identification methods included asking what distinguishes each tree from other trees informants consider to be its companions. Specimens collected in the study in combination with ethnobotanical data collected by Brent Berlin for the Aguaruna (1970) aided in obtaining accurate botanical determinations of the species in question and support the notion that these covert groupings correspond to tree species of the same botanical family. Results also indicate that the Aguaruna rely on both morphological and ecological clues to identify trees. Morphological clues appear to play a greater role than ecological ones.
Newberry, Derek Owen, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Sustainability in the Commodification of Brazilian Biofuels,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna
DEREK O. NEWBERRY, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Politics of Sustainability in the Commodification of Brazilian Biofuels,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna. This study sought to determine how sustainability is defined and regulated in the context of the Brazilian biofuel industry, where the social and environmental impacts of producing this energy are a subject of concern, but ill-defined. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted on negotiations to create sustainable production standards for biofuels in São Paulo and abroad, as well as on implementation of these standards in a rural biofuel expansion region. It was found that there are two distinct networks of regulation for biofuel production that not only entail different monitoring and enforcement practices, but different ethics of truth and risk as well. Transnational standards are driven by ethical concerns about maintaining acceptable levels of quantitative impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions at a global scale. Locally, residents in frontier regions are much more concerned with qualitatively defined standards of working conditions and reducing the volatility of change associated with new biofuel companies entering their towns. The results contribute to our understanding of how social networks and personal experiences with a commodity significantly affect how different actors define and measure ethical production of that commodity, even within purportedly objective systems of regulation.
Coyle, Lauren Nicole, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Dual Sovereignties in the Golden Twilight: Law, Land, and Labor in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff
Preliminary abstract: How does the colonial legacy of two parallel legal systems -- one ostensibly customary, the other under the jurisdiction of the state -- frame contemporary nationhood in Ghana, and, in particular, the often violent conflicts over property regimes that govern the ownership and extraction of resources in its neoliberal economy? How does that legacy register tensions and aspirations in postcolonial citizenship, sovereign government, environmental politics, and law in this African postcolony? I will address these questions through an ethnographic investigation in selected communities affected by large-scale surface-mining for gold in the heavily affected areas of Tarkwa, Kenyasi, and Obuasi. Each of these locations is undergoing profound transformations in kinship structures, modes of labor, and patterns of political authority amidst intensifying conflict and an apparent lack of political and legal redress -- through traditional or state venues. I also will study relevant governmental bodies (principally, commissions and courts), as well as related NGOs. In so doing, I aim to draw upon and contribute to seminal work on land and labor in Ghana; the larger literature on mining and social transformation in Africa; and the growing body of anthropological and social theoretical scholarship on the uneasy relationship between the legal/illegal and licit/illicit in postcolonial settings.
Sperlich, Tobias, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Germany and its 'Ethnographic Treasure Box': The Anthropology of Collecting in Colonial Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Chris Gosden
TOBIAS SPERLICH, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in March 2003 to aid research on 'Germany and its 'Ethnographic Treasure Box:' The Anthropology of Collecting in Colonial Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Chris Gosden. The fieldwork is part of a larger project that looks at the origin, dissemination, and reception of Samoan material culture in early 20th century Germany. It was carried out over a two-month period in Samoa and included research in archival collections, field interviews, and site observations. The aim of these activities was to reconstruct the socio-cultural milieu of colonial Samoa and to study the changing uses and perceptions of material culture over the last century. The research base was Apia, where research was conducted at the Nelson Memorial Library and the National University of Samoa. Interviews were held with Samoans whose ancestry included Germans or those who had mementoes documenting the German colonial presence. Both of these activities were retrospectively focused, whereas contemporary practices were the focus of interviews with museum officials, artists and producers, vendors and buyers of Samoan material culture. Discussions aimed to evaluate modern perceptions of the authenticity, value, and meanings of these objects in a Samoan and foreign context. This research thus complements research previously undertaken in Germany and allows for a fuller evaluation of colonial Samoa and its representation through collections of material culture in the West.