Doerksen, Mark D., Concordia U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The New Humans: Emerging Theories and Practices of Sensory Modification,' supervised by Dr. Kregg Hetherington
Preliminary abstract: Grinders are self-described as people who take part in do-it-yourself experimental surgeries to implant electronic technology into their bodies in order to enhance their sensory abilities and transcend their corporal limits. The engineered human/machine hybrid of these implants opens up both potential for new sensory abilities and forms of communication, as well as concomitant possibilities for outside influence and interference from the resulting networks. Without any official oversight, grinders experiment on their bodies yet must also navigate the largely online grinder scene to establish collaborative opportunities and share experiences necessary for projects to succeed. Borrowing from McLuhan's (1988) theories of technology and media, and Law's (2004) methods as reality-building, I examine the relationship between grinders' implants and the worlds their senses create by asking: What socio-material networks does the implant enhance, amplify, or intensify? What does it make obsolete or lessen the importance of? What does it recover from previous historical sensory conceptions? This ethnography focuses on the projects of grinders where implants are designed to deliver information into the body (e.g. magnet implants that sense electromagnetic fields) and/or out of the body (e.g. implants that sense biometric data) to challenge what some scholars have described as dominance of the visual over other senses.
Seaver, Nicholas Patrick, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Computing Taste: The Making of Algorithmic Music Recommendation,' supervised by Dr. William M. Maurer
NICK SEAVER, then a student at the University of California, Irvine, California received funding in November 2013 for ethnographic research on 'Computing Taste: The Making of Algorithmic Music Recommendation Systems,' supervised by Dr. Bill Mauer. Fieldwork was conducted in academic and industry sites across the US and at international conferences for researchers in music informatics and recommender systems. Algorithmic music recommendation provided a case for investigating how contemporary technologists imagine and manage the relationship between the 'cultural' and the 'technical.' Counter to dominant critical narratives that suppose technologists to subjugate the cultural to the technical, the grantee found a variety of ad hoc, tentative cultural theories in play among his interlocutors. These theories appeared to be co-constituted with the technologies being built: specific theories about taste-that it had to do with music's sound, for example-supported and were supported by specific infrastructures: systems that analyzed audio data. The breadth and interpretive flexibility of data collected and the tentative nature of these cultural theories lead to a situation in which cultural infrastructures and theories are extraordinarily malleable. Results point to the importance of considering taste and algorithms as specific, located, and variable techniques, rather than as outcomes of latent, stable logics of technology, or preference.
Hopkins, Mariah E., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Spatial Foraging Patterns and Ranging Behavior of Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata), in Panama,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Milton
MARIAH E. HOPKINS, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in December 2005, to aid research on 'Spatial Foraging Patterns and Ranging Behavior of Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta Palliata), in Panama,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Milton. One of the most defining characteristics of the primate order --- and humans in particular -- is the extraordinary capacity for learning and retention. Many primatologists have pointed to the cognitive demands of foraging as an important selective pressure for intelligence, linking a primate's ability to exploit resources that are unevenly distributed in space and time to survival and reproductive success. Yet, while analyses of the strategies that humans employ to obtain resources are common, we still know relatively little about the methods that wild primates use to find desired resources across heterogeneous landscapes. This project addresses this need by using mantled howler monkeys as a model species to explore the role of spatial information (such as landscape structure, resource distribution patterns, and locations of neighboring groups) in guiding primate movements and foraging decisions. Models of animal movement developed in this research synthesize methods established in the fields of operations research and human geography for novel application to primate ecology. Results not only shed light on an important evolutionary pressure in primate evolution, they also yield a better understanding of the complex relationships between primates and their habitats -- information critical to developing management plans for both threatened primate species and tropical forests.
Medhat, Katayoun T., U. College London, London, UK - To aid 'Bi-Cultural Discourse in Mental Healthcare: An Ethnography of Organizational Dynamics in Navajo Health Services,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood
KATAYOUN T. MEDHAT, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in August 2004 to aid 'Bi-Cultural Discourse in Mental Healthcare: An Ethnography of Organizational Dynamics in Navajo Health Services,' supervised by Dr. Roland Littlewood. Focusing on healthcare organizations as micro-cosmic representations of socio-cultural structure and ideation, this is a comparative ethnographic study of one community, and one hospital-based mental health service on the Navajo Nation. The study considers changes to administration and funding policy and their impact on service development and professional identity in the context of (post-) colonial discourse. The bureaucratization and hierarchization of the healing domain may be seen as a global phenomenon, where competition for scarce resources and third-party-issued guidelines increasingly define treatment process.
In the quest to commodify health-services, professional boundaries dissolve in a metamorphic exchange by which administrators become clinicians and clinicians become administrators. These developments lead to progressively standardized definitions of illness and treatment. Thus, paradoxically, while the importance of asserting and expressing (cultural) identity in a 'pluralistic' society is prominently acknowledged, difference in the context of healthcare -- be it in terms of symptomatology, professional credentials, or treatment approaches -- is systematically displaced.
Whereas culture as form may be tolerated and even promoted, culture as substance cannot be accommodated by a homogenized system seeking to establish its efficacy through economic viability. Discourse on change in this context is typically ambiguous: While the idea of 'progress' and 'integration' is perceived as seductive, challenging and finally as unavoidable by a majority, it is equally felt that 'progress' and 'traditional values' cannot co-exist peacefully, leading to the bitter-sweet realization that the inevitable process of change constitutes a protracted swan-song of a quasi-mythologized congruent cultural identity.
Cooper, Jessica M., Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Care by Conviction: An Ethnography of California's Mental Health Courts,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Davis
Preliminary abstract: Across the United States, incarcerated individuals whom the state deems mentally ill are receiving mental health care not in a clinic, but in a courtroom. My research will examine mental health courts (MHCs), criminal courtrooms that move offenders with a diagnosed mental illness from jail and into courtroom-based mental health care. MHCs maintain regular contact with offenders, whom the court now recognizes as patients, and employ psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers to provide care for patients. If courtroom clinicians believe that patients are noncompliant with treatment, the judge may return patients to jail. In a yearlong ethnography of two of California's MHCs, I will examine the experience of MHC adjudication. How do courtroom offender-patients experience care distributed through a state system that has the power to punish? How do courtroom clinicians negotiate therapeutic and carceral roles? In the course of providing health care within the courtroom, relationships develop between patients and providers. My research will highlight these social relationships, characterized by care, to investigate how they simultaneously open a space for the state's intimate governance of offenders with psychiatric diagnoses, and a space for care providers to challenge the elements of state control which they find inhumane.
Rottmann, Susan Beth, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'The Predicaments of Reciprocity at 'Home' for German-Turkish Return Migrants,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth Martin George
SUSAN BETH ROTTMANN, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'The Predicaments of Reciprocity at 'Home' for German-Turkish Return Migrants,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth George. With funding supported 12 months of dissertation research with German-Turkish return migrants in Turkey. By interviewing migrants, collecting their life stories, and observing everyday interactions, the grantee examined how German-Turks navigate belonging in families, communities, and nations after returning 'home.' By focusing on moral obligation in diverse domains (in families, in religious communities, and concerning the nation), the research was able to bring to light the complexities and interconnections of ethno-nationalism, class, and Muslim identity for return migrants. German-Turks are a group that has come to represent the potential socio-cultural redefinition of Turkey and Europe signified by Turkey's pending European Union membership, and this research represents an important contribution to our understanding of this group and makes contributions to anthropological scholarship on return migration, moral obligation, reciprocity, and ethno-national identity.
Hansen, Tobin M., U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on ''Getting By': Resilience in One-and-a-Half Generation Immigrant Men Deported to Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Lynn Stephen
Preliminary abstract: This ethnographic project explores men's resilience after forcible displacement--the everyday individual and collective responses to social and physical dislocation to try to attain modest social, economic, and psychological stability and wellbeing. It expands three areas of anthropological theory critical to understanding resilience in the context of forcible displacement: structural violence and structural vulnerability, by attending to economic, political, and social structures that cross-cut deported men's historical and geographic trajectories; kinship, through study of how deported men make family; and gender, by examining expressions of masculinities on the streets and in domestic life. The men in this study emigrated from Mexico as children, lived for decades in the U.S., then were convicted of crimes and served prison sentences before being deported back to Mexico as 'criminal alien' adults. In Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, the site of this research, they face ostracism as criminal outsiders and conspicuous pochos ('Americanized' Mexicans) and isolation from home and family in the U.S. This project is motivated by a concern for human vulnerability, suffering, and risk. Interest in responses and resistances to such vulnerabilities, or resilience, fosters examination of how individuals and collectives attempt to contest precarious conditions. By investigating deported men's grounded resilience strategies--attempts at some social, economic, and psychological wellbeing despite hardship--this research will better illuminate the vulnerabilities of forcible displacement and the everyday efforts to mitigate them.
Wikberg, Eva Carolina, U. of Calgary, Calgary, Canada - To aid research on 'Facultative Female Dispersal in Female Colobus vellerosus and Other Primates,' supervised by Dr. Pascale Sicotte
EVA C. WIKBERG, then a student at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Facultative Female Dispersal in Female Colobus vellerosus and Other Primates,' supervised by Dr. Pascale Sicotte. An increasing body of evidence suggests that there is significant within-population variation in dispersal, both in human and non-human primate societies. The aim of this study is to investigate dispersal in a population of black-and-white colobus (Colobus vellerosus) residing at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana. Based on a combination of demographic and genetic data, approximately half of the females in this population were immigrant females while the other half resided in their natal group. Regardless of the group composition of immigrant and natal females, all groups showed strong female-female bonds. Females formed stronger grooming relationships with familiar female kin, and these females showed co-participation in between-group encounters more often. As females defend the core area of their home range during between-group encounters, strong grooming relationships may facilitate cooperative home range defense. Despite these possible benefits of remaining with familiar kin, many females left large groups residing in areas with high local population density. These females may have dispersed to reduce feeding competition. These findings indicate that a combination of costs and benefits associated with dispersal shape individual female's dispersal decisions. This observed variation cannot be explained by the traditional models of social structure, and future models will need to address this plasticity.
Wikberg, Eva C., Nelso Ting, and Pascale Sicotte. 2014. Kinship and Similarity in Residency Status Structure Female Social Networks in Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys (Colobus vellerosus). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 153(3):365-376.
MacDougall, Susan, Oxford U., Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Virtuous Selves and Keeping House: Women and Ideals of Social Progress in Jordan,' supervised by Dr. Morgan Clarke
Preliminary abstract: Women in Amman face competing pressures to be 'modern', 'Islamic' and exemplary homemakers, and they are engaged in debates about what the best balance is to strike between them. Anthropologists studying ethics have treated conflict between competing moral frameworks as a feature of modernity and social change, and my work will contribute to the ongoing debates on how people navigate that conflict. I will also expand on that vein of enquiry by asking how close relationships, like those between neighbors, friends and spouses, are used by Jordanians as avenues for discussing, identifying and possibly resolving those conflicts. I am concerned with the role of interpretive communities, including networks of female friends and husband-wife pairs, as spaces where these debates can be carried out, and the role of those communities in shaping individuals' efforts to be respectable and moral.
Canova, Paola, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Rewriting Ethics on Female Bodies: Ayoreo Sex Work and Christianity in the Paraguayan Chaco,' supervised by Dr. James B. Greenberg
PAOLA CANOVA, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Rewriting Ethics on Female Bodies: Ayoreo Sex Work and Christianity in the Paraguayan Chaco,' supervised by Dr. James B. Greenberg. Since shortly after 'first contact' in the 1960s, women of the Ayoreo indigenous group have engaged in 'sex work' in the urbanizing Mennonite Colonies in the Paraguayan Chaco. The nature of their interactions with clients (which don't always involve monetary transactions), their conspicuous consumption of 'fashionable' clothes and makeup, and their own discourses of 'sex work' as 'play' or 'kinship,' upend conventional theoretical frames for analyzing the relationships between collective agency, 'sexual labor,' and indigenous personhood in lowland South America. Based on extensive fieldwork, this research addresses the ways in which young Ayoreo women make sexuality a central mode for producing and resignifying indigenous epistemologies of gender and sexuality in relation to the Christian moral values imported by American missionaries and the exchange values of an expanding market economy, the two major forces shaping the socio-political landscape of today's contemporary Chaco. By doing so, this research reveals how seemingly contradictory ethical systems simultaneously shape the cultural production of gender, indigeneity, and agency. This project provides the first ethnographic analysis of how sex work becomes a central and counterintuitive site for negotiating the terms in which meaningful performances of personhood are co-constructed in the rapidly industrializing Paraguayan Gran Chaco.