Keeling, Simon R., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'The Poetry and Music of Conflict: Exploring Bamileke Funeral Performance,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
SIMON R. KEELING, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2005 to aid research on 'The Poetry and Music of Conflict: Exploring Bamileke Funeral Perform-ance,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. This research explored the meanings of music, poetry, and place among Bamiléké members of music and finance associations in Bangangté, Cameroon. The grantee attended the weekly meetings and rehearsals of some such groups, and arranged private music and language lessons. Attending and performing at mourning rites are among the most important func-tions of the groups. Music was recorded at rehearsals, lessons, and performances. Most song texts con-cerned: 1) responsibility to kin; 2) death, ritual, and the afterlife; or 3) the connections between ritual, kin-groups, and villages. The third theme includes traditions of naming which include both 'given' names and predictable names based on these connections. Decisions about which name to use when seem to be a significant poetic resource. Consultants' talk about villages and values demonstrated that the near-sacred spaces of village farms are crucial to how they understand power, beauty, and ethics. Working with micro-financial institutions showed that Bangangté is a place where the emotional intensity of poverty and gen-erosity is entangled with that of ritual and place. Making music together is neither tangential nor superfi-cial to such complexities; it develops, contains, deepens, permits and celebrates intimacy and affective in-tensity. All of this was going on in a context also shaped by a discourse of 'modernity' which cast 'village' practices in a negative light. Therefore, the Bamiléké of Bangangte are engaged in struggles for prestige which run through music and daily life.
Overholtzer, Lisa Marie, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Household Spaces and Everyday Practices at Postclassic Xaltocan, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth M. Brumfiel
LISA MARIE OVERHOLTZER, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Household Spaces and Everyday Practices at Postclassic Xaltocan, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth M. Brumfiel. This project investigates two successive imperial transitions-Aztec and Spanish-at Xaltocan, Mexico, through detailed contextual analysis at the micro-scale, by reconstructing the daily transformative decisions and practices of commoner agents in their new social landscape. Six months of horizontal excavations revealed the remains of five complete houses with associated domestic features. These remains represent two households rebuilt in the same place during the pre-Aztec (1200-1427 C.E.), imperial Aztec (1428-1519 C.E.), and colonial (1519-1650 C.E.) periods. Excavations also recovered 21 primary burials, all members of the households studied. Across the imperial transition, houses were reconstructed in the same locations using similar layouts, and burials were interred in the same areas, suggesting a substantial degree of continuity. These data suggest that ethnohistoric accounts of abandonment and population replacement are inaccurate, or perhaps reflect elite-only practices. Analyses of domestic materials recovered in sealed middens associated with the houses permit examination of continuities and transformations in household practices at the micro-scale. This project provides an account of empire derived from the material record that challenges the history recorded by colonial scribes.
Overholtzer, Lisa. 2013. Archaeological Interpretation and the Rewriting of History: Deimperializing and Decolonizing the Past at Xaltocan, Mexico. American Anthropologist 115(3):481-495.
Mata-Míguez, Jaime, Lisa Overholtzer, Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría, et al. 2012. The Genetic Impact of Aztec Imperialism: Ancient Mitochondrial DNA Evidence from Xaltocan, Mexico. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 149(4):504-516.
Deleporte, Sarah F., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Musee du quai Branly: Anthropology, Art and the Cultural Politics of Alterity in France,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler
SARAH F. DELEPORTE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in November 2003 to aid research on 'The Musee du quai Branly: Anthropology, Art, and the Cultural Politics of Alterity in France,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler. The dissertation research supported by this grant consisted of an ethnographic study of the creation of the Musee du quai Branly, France's newest national museum devoted to extra-European arts and civilizations, opening in Paris in 2006. Designed as both a museum of fine arts and of human sciences, the museum is officially slated to foster admiration, respect, and curiosity for cultural diversity in French society. Since the 18th century, the French state has consistently invested in museums as part of a matrix of citizen-forming tools (including public schools, universities, and ministerial training schools) meant to educate and cohere the nation's diverse populations. In the 21st century, the creation of the Quai Branly Museum has created a domino effect in French cultural policy, most notably spurring mandates to create two additional national museums, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseilles and the National Center for the History of Immigration in Paris. In the midst of extensive administrative reform and structural change, the French national museums are confronting their institutional legacy and providing new possibilities for the practice of anthropology in museums as well as for an anthropological understanding of the role museums play in the nation-building efforts of contemporary, multicultural societies.
Szanto, Diana, U. of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary - To aid research on 'Engaging with Disability: NGOs between Global and Local Forces in the Post-conflict Reconsolidation of Sierra Leone,' supervised by Dr. Gabor Vargyas
DIANA SZANTO, then a student at the University of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Engaging with Disability: NGOs between Global and Local Forces in the Post-Conflict Reconsolidation of Sierra Leone,' supervised by Dr. Gabor Vargyas. This research project investigates the interplay between local and international NGOs in the context of the Sierra Leonean post-war reconstruction focusing specifically on the field of disability. The grantee employs the term 'project society' to describe a particular type of governmentality produced by the strategic linking of 'international development' with 'civil society,' where both notions are to be understood as fallacies to be deconstructed. The overall objective of the research is to obtain a better understanding on how 'project society' functions in Sierra Leone in general, and to describe how it affects the nascent disability movement, in particular. The project describes the strategies of different categories of actors within this framework as exposed in everyday performances, exploring the outcomes affecting the actors themselves as well as the movement. The grantee contends that the dynamics observed in the field of disability are part of a more wide-ranging transformation, that of the 'normalization' of conflicting ideas about the nature of the desirable modernity to be achieved in Sierra Leone. Such a project can only be accomplished at the price of denying its internal contradictions.
Hubbard, Edward A., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Performing Multiple Creolities in Cape Verde: A Three-Island Ethnography,' supervised by Dr. Mary M. Steedly
EDWARD A. HUBBARD, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Performing Multiple Creolities in Cape Verde: A Three-Island Ethnography,' supervised by Dr. Mary M. Steedly. The aim of this fieldwork was the collection of ethnographic data in the Cape Verde archipelago that illustrate the cultural dynamics of creolization. A 'creolized' society is a hybrid product of two or more distinct peoples who have experienced an extended period of contact and synthesis, usually marked by a history of inequality between them. Cape Verdean society is the product of the creolization of enslaved Africans and Portuguese colonizers. The researcher focused on three Cape Verdean performance modes, each one unique to its island setting: 1) a burgeoning musical movement on the island of Santiago that is said to be a 'modernization' of the African features of Cape Verdean culture; 2) a tradition on the island of São Vicente, of telling jokes whose effect is contingent upon negative stereotypes of the presumed Africanness of people from Santiago; and 3) on the island of Fogo, a nocturnal masquerade called kanizadi, that dramatizes certain fears and anxieties related to creolization. These performances and the cultural politics they dramatize are a reflection of the creole condition; one can perceive in them a definite logic of ascribed status as well as historical traces of racial hierarchy, conflict, and anxiety.
Morrison, Amanda Maria, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Rockin' the Body Politic: Multiracial Youth and Hip-Hop Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area,' supervised by Dr. John Hartigan
AMANDA MARIA MORRISON, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Rockin' the Body Politic: Multiracial Youth and Hip-Hop Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area,' supervised by Dr. John Hartigan. Through ethnography, the grantee examined how hip-hop's expressive forms are being used as the raw materials of everyday life by residents of the San Francisco Bay Area -- home to what many regard as one of the most diverse, politically progressive, and creatively prolific hip-hop 'scenes' in the U.S. This focus on regional specificity provides a greater understanding of the impact hip-hop is having on the ground, as an aspect of localized lived practice. While taking a geographically delimited 'case study' approach would seem to narrow the scope of this project, it actually expanded the discussion into often-overlooked areas, exploring hip-hop's heterogeneity and its regional specificity. The Bay Area offers a rich site for the investigation of hip-hop culture because it is distinct in ways that complicate prevailing scholarship on the subject, most of which either emphasize its continuity within Afro-Diasporic expressive traditions or bemoan its cooptation by the global cultural industries. Three key characteristics about the local scene particularly stand out: its racial diversity, its penchant for producing socially conscious artists, and its commercial independence from the corporate music industry. These three qualities provide the primary foci for this analysis.
Shirley, Meghan, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Body Composition and the Brain: Investigating Life History Trade-offs in Living Humans,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Wells
Preliminary abstract: Energy resources in any given environment are finite. Life history theory examines trade-offs between competing functions such as maintenance and reproduction across an organism's life course. For early humans, the evolution of a metabolically expensive brain was likely associated with reorganized energy investment and/or alterations in life history strategy and behavior. Insight into how the human brain was afforded may be most readily achieved with attention directed to investment 'decisions' at the level of organs and tissues. For example, Aiello and Wheeler's (1995) 'expensive tissue' hypothesis proposed that a reduction in the size of the human gut enabled encephalization. Research has demonstrated tissue trade-offs in a range of animals, yet empirical studies of human investment strategies remain rare. With the collection of MRI and body composition data from healthy adults, this project will investigate trade-offs between the human brain and other 'expensive' tissues of the body, trade-offs between the brain and adipose tissue, and also positive brain-body phenotype associations. Further, the study will examine the effect of early life experience on phenotype. This data will add to knowledge of the variability with which modern humans 'strategically' manage energy investment and lead to more robust inferences concerning hominin life history evolution.
Harmansah, Rabia, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Social Forgetting in Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cyprus,' supervised by Dr. Robert M. Hayden
RABIA HARMANSAH, then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Social Forgetting in Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cyprus,' supervised by Dr. Robert Hayden. The research investigated the practice of social forgetting by relating it to the selective construction of history and to the human interactions with the commemorative and religious landscape. Social forgetting was taken as practices of disremembering, misremembering, omitting, distorting, or silencing past events/experiences and their traces, in order to shape the collective memory. The research, conducted in Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2011-12, entailed multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, semi-structured and unstructured interviews with Greek/Turkish Cypriots and immigrant Turks, participant observation, archival research, and examination of patterns of transformations in built landscape. The research demonstrated that the local perceptions of the past have been shaped not simply by the official discourses, but by various complex cultural processes, personal experiences and active engagement of ordinary people with landscape in the process of memory and history. The research addressed theoretical and analytical issues of understanding social forgetting not only as a negation, neglect, failure of remembering, or unintended social amnesia, but as a positive process through which a certain kind of knowledge of the past is produced deliberately and actively by obscuring material evidence of what others wish to have remembered.