Hagerty, Alexa, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Blood and Bone: Kinship, Science and the Imagined Body in 'Humanitarian Exhumation' of the Dead,' supervised by Dr. Tanya Luhrmann
Preliminary abstract: Exhumation of the dead has become a normative human rights intervention and a requisite aspect of transitional justice. In the wake of political violence, exhumation aims to provide judicial evidence of mass atrocity and to return human remains to families. Understood as bringing closure to families, 'humanitarian exhumation' may be carried out even in situations in which there is little or no hope of judicial recourse. Yet, the relationship between forensics teams and families has proven to be complex and often fraught. While some exhumations have received clear support from families, others have been sites of intense controversy. This project asks why there has been persistent tension between families of the missing and forensic teams. Attentive to the polysemy of the dead body, which at different times and places can be understood to be judicial evidence, a medical specimen, a scientific object, a political symbol, a religious relic, a site of the uncanny, a social subject, a dense site of mourning and more, this project explores what humanitarian exhumation means to those most intimately involved: forensic teams and families of the missing. Based in Argentina, location of the earliest and longest continuously excavated humanitarian exhumations, this project takes the complex relationship between families and forensic teams as a generative site to explore how we conceptualize exhumations as 'humanitarian,' how we expect science to serve social ends and how we imagine relationships of care between the living and the dead.
Weichselbraun, Anna Maria, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Regulating the Nuclear: The Textual Production of Technical Independence at the International Atomic Energy Agency,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Maco
ANNA M. WEICHSELBRAUN, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Regulating the Nuclear: The Textual Production of Technical Independence at the International Atomic Energy Agency,' supervised by Dr. Jospeh Maco. The research funded was the initial phase of doctoral research on expertise and bureaucratic practices at the International Atomic Energy Agency. The funding supported six months of full-time fieldwork in Vienna, Austria, as well as a month's research visit to the National Archives in Washington, DC. The research focused on how actors at the International Atomic Energy Agency work to produce and maintain the organization's legitimacy within a global political order. The organization, though technical by mandate, must constantly defend against accusations of politicization. This ethnographic study investigated how the IAEA's claims to technical expertise were managed among various actors by looking at the modes of communication among staff members, the training of new staff, and the discourses around salient conflicts, such as non-compliant states. In addition to ethnographic fieldwork within the IAEA, and interviews with employees at NGOs and policy think tanks, the study involved archival research at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and rigorous linguistic analysis of the data.
Lofink, Hayley Elizabeth, U. of Oxford, Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents, in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek
HAYLEY ELIZABETH LOFINK, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity in British Bangladeshi Adolescents in East London,' supervised by Dr. Stanley J. Ulijaszek. Research on the health behavior of low-income, ethnic minorities has assumed that the poor are uneducated, and that if delivered the necessary knowledge, behavior will change. If poor nutrition and low levels of activity are attributed solely to individual-level decision making, it is unlikely that broader social and structural influences will be acknowledged. This research employed a biocultural framework to examine socio-cultural and political-economic factors influencing dietary and activity patterns and resulting underweight, overweight and obesity among British Bangladeshi adolescents (aged 11-14 years old) from low-income families in East London. Quantitative (anthropometry and survey data) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews and participant observation) methods were integrated to develop a nuanced understanding of adolescent weight, dietary and activity patterns, and the local level and larger scale processes influencing those patterns. Quantitative analysis will include multinomial logistic regression and other techniques to test the relative importance of a range of factors affecting weight status. Narrative analysis will be used to explain statistical results in order to move beyond a mere documentation of a relationship between poverty and obesity, and offer explanations of how local and broader level factors influence health inequalities in this context.
Burt, Nicole Marie, U. of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada - To aid research on 'Reconstructing Juvenile Diet In Medieval York Using a New Method of Dentine Stable Isotope Analysis,' supervised by Dr. Sandra Garvie-Lok
NICOLE M. BURT, then a student at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Reconstructing Juvenile Diet in Medieval York Using a New Method of Dentine Stable Isotope Analysis,' supervised by Dr. Sandra Garvie-Lok. The diet of children changes throughout early childhood from birth, through breastfeeding and weaning. In past populations, weaning was a critical period because it was stressful and often resulted in infant death. By analyzing collagen preserved in human remains using the stable isotope analysis of nitrogen and carbon it is possible to reconstruct these diets. Deciduous tooth dentine is useful for this because it begins forming prenatally and is completed in early childhood. This research created a stable isotope microsampling method to trace the changing dietary signals in the teeth. This method was used to reconstruct juvenile diet at Fishergate House (14th - 16th century) York. The dietary data were compared with growth and pathological data from the skeletons to analyze overall health. The results show that weaning was usually complete by 2 years. Variation in practice was seen looking at individuals. It appears that children with health problems may have been breastfed longer in an attempt to improve health. Childhood health at the site appears to have been average for the period despite its urban location and low socioeconomic class. High levels of marine proteins such as fish in the diets of children and adults likely account for this.
Burt, Nicole M. 2013. Stable Isotope Rtio Analysis of Breastfeeding and Weaning Practices of Children from Medieval Fishergate House York, UK. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 152(3):407-416.
Polson, Michael Robert, City U. of New York, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Shifting Governance of Marijuana in Northern California: Medicalization, Illegality, and Practices of Citizenship,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
MICHAEL R. POLSON, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Shifting Governance of Marijuana in Northern California: Medicalization, Illegality, and Practices of Citizenship,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings. This project analyzed the elaboration and negotiation of social relations and practices in the emerging medical and underground marijuana markets of northern California. It sought to understand the inter-relationship of policy production, activism, economic activity, and everyday practices of those related to marijuana in order to decipher the broader regional transformations in the political economy of marijuana. During fieldwork, substantial shifts occurred as the federal government intervened in the medical marijuana distribution system, thus altering marijuana's institutional composition, commodity chain flow, medical significance, il/legal status, and governance. Because the political terrain continues to change, this project focused on the dynamics of these changes, particularly on several key and enduring phenomena, including: tensions over modes of distribution; the significance of marijuana land transactions and agricultural practices; intermeshing of medical and 'recreational' marijuana markets; differing modes of governance; and biomedical vs. medicinal-herbal understandings of marijuana. The summation of these factors creates a picture of a regional economy in transformation with widespread implications for the War on Drugs, understandings of the relation between plants, medicine and the body, and the power of law and emergent modes of governance and political activism.
Polson, Michael. 2013. Land and Law in Marijuana Country: Clean Capital, Dirty Money, and the Drug War's Rentier Nexus. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 36(2):215-230.
Ghassem-Fachandi, Parvis, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'The Political Use of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Vegetarianism in Post-Independent Ahmedabad,' supervised by Dr. James T. Siegel
PARVIS GHASSEM-FACHANDI, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in February 2005 to aid research on 'The Political Use of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Vegetarianism in Post-Independent Ahmedabad,' supervised by Dr. James T. Siegel. This project focused on the question, 'How can a doctrine of nonviolence become implicated in the production of violence?' by exploring the political use of the concept of ahimsa (nonviolence) in post-independence Ahmedabad. It followed the transformation of ahimsa -- from a magical technology that protects the sacrifier against the revenge of the animal victim, to an ethical doctrine of renunciation and prohibition of animal sacrifice, to a weapon against colonial domination, and finally, to a new form of politico-religious identification. Far from being only an abstract ethical ideal, ahimsa in Gujarat encompasses concrete cultural practices such as vegetarianism, cow- and animal protection, and forms of worship (sacrifice), all of which are implicated in caste upward mobility, Hindu-Muslim relations, and communal violence.
Ghassem-Fachandi, Parvis. 2010. Ahimsa, Identification, and Sacrifice in the Gujarat Pogrom. Social Anthropology 18(2):155-175.
Timura, Christopher T., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Expertise: The Globalizing Cultures of British and American Peace Negotiators,' supervised by Dr. Conrad P. Kottak
CHRISTOPHER T. TIMURA, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding to aid research on the globalizing cultures of British and American peace negotiators, under the supervision of Dr. Conrad P. Kottak. Timura conducted eleven months of fieldwork with a representative sample of university and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the globalizing field of conflict resolution. He obtained more than 140 interviews with students, trainers, and practitioners, collected oral histories from key informants, and acted as a participant observer in seminars and training workshops. In addition, he used information about practitioners' professional networks and their referrals to arrange interviews with key individuals involved in the conflict management activities of the U.S. and British governments. The data showed that conflict management theories could be traced back to a small but diverse group of North American and European founding figures who used their institutional affiliations to promulgate their understanding of how violent conflict could be prevented, managed, and resolved. Despite considerable demographic diversity in the field today, a common set of concepts and value orientations enabled this transnational group to coalesce around a conflict resolution epistemology and practice. Conflict resolution specialists have used their roles in government, NGOs, and academe to advocate for changes in the ways governments manage and resolve violent conflict, while arguing for the existence of their own specific form of expertise. 'Local' cultural, socioeconomic, religious, and political factors have played varying roles in the globalization of this expertise beyond North America and Europe, offering opportunities for considering how anthropology might constructively analyze and otherwise engage with this and similar phenomena having significant effects on international governance.
Kortright, Christopher Michael, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Experimental Fields and Biotech Futures: The Politics and Histories of Scientific Rice Research,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit
CHRISTOPHER M. KORTRIGHT, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Experimental Fields and Biotech Futures: The Politics and Histories of Scientific Rice Research,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit. Through ethnographic fieldwork at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), this research focuses on how scientific research on rice has been motivated by scientists' assumptions about population growth and consumption, and how these motivations have changed with the advent of genetically modified (GM) rice. This research illustrates the ways in which experimental practices are shaped by scientists' 'visions of the future'-specifically overpopulation and agricultural underproduction. These future visions are historically located within the political economy and agricultural science. This research is a product of the archival collection of oral histories and scientific papers of researchers working on rice research and the production of 'new plant types' at IRRI. Alongside these oral histories, research focused on the study of one specific GM rice project called C4 Rice. The ethnographic research on the C4 Rice Project was conducted both in the laboratory and the experimental fields at IRRI while two large-scale experiments were under way, and the ethnographer accompanied C4 Rice researchers to scientific conferences, funding meetings, and presentations introducing GM science to the general public. Tracing out this specific scientific network of GM rice researchers, this project sheds light on an international science collaboration as it is manifested and articulated at a historically and politically controversial research locality. This research adds to the anthropological literatures on agriculture, science, political economy and futures. Alongside these contributions to the anthropological literature, this research opens up larger discourses on food and food security, specifically in the domain of genetically modified crops.
Kortright, Chris. 2013. On Labor and Creative Transformations in the Experimental Fields of the Philippines. East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 7(4):557-578.
Bernstein, Anna, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Transformations in Siberian Buddhism: Mobility, Visuality, and Piety in Buryat Worlds,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Grant
ANNA BERNSTEIN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2007 to aid 'Transformations in Siberian Buddhism: Mobility, Visuality, and Piety in Buryat Worlds,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Grant. This project explores the renovation of Siberian Buryat Buddhist practices through transnational, post-Soviet ties. It brings together field and archival study to bear upon three fields of inquiry: 1) the ethnography of Siberia; 2) cosmopolitan, transnational religious forms; and 3) material culture. In contrast to some scholars who have seen Buryats purely as 'native,' 'indigenous,' or even as a 'fourth-world' people, many Buryats have long viewed themselves as cosmopolitans who consider Buddhism as one of the most prominent markers of southern Siberia's expansive histories since its arrival in approximately the eighteenth century. Many today ask: Should Buryat Buddhism be understood as adhering to a 'Tibetan model,' one most recently advanced through pilgrimages by monks and well-funded lay persons to Tibetan monasteries in India? Or, as nationalists argue, should it downplay its international ties to assert itself as a truly independent 'national' religion? This project argues that the ways in which Buryats transform older cosmopolitanisms into contemporary socio-religious movements are key for understanding new geopolitical forms of consciousness, as long-held Eurasian ties are now being revived in the wake of Soviet rule. Based on twelve months of field research, this project tracks these issues ethnographically through a study of two Buryat monastic and lay religious communities located in Russia and in India. The focus on material culture engages specific case studies of how various material objects -- such as relics of famous monks, auspicious images found on rocks, and ritual implements buried underground during Soviet times -- are reinterpreted to create new sacred geographies, historiographies, and modes of religiosity.
Bernstein, Anya. 2011. The Post-Soviet Treasure Hunt: Time, Space, and Necropolitics in Siberian Buddhism. Comparative Studies in Society and History 53(3):623-653.