Bernstein, Alissa Shira, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Making Health Reform Policy in Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Charles Biggs
ALISSA S. BERNSTEIN, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Making Health Reform Policy in Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Charles Biggs. Recent studies in the medical anthropology of global health have noted a shift away from a public health model focused on local communities towards the globalization and privatization of healthcare. In Latin America, major moves have been made in the area of health reform that explicitly react to health privatization. Health policy being developed in Bolivia seeks not only to socialize the country's strained health care system, but also to incorporate indigenous models of health into public health policy, while still negotiating reliance on remnants of health privatization of the previous 'neoliberal' government. While scholars in the anthropology of public policy have generally viewed the making and implementation of health policies as distinct phases, this research in Bolivia suggests that these processes are closely intertwined in the form of a circuit. This project suggests that the policy making process in Bolivia involved a uniquely collaborative approach to the planning, making, revising, and implementation of the policy, and pays attention to what debates, revisions, and attempts at conciliation of different ideas amongst actors in the process were involved in negotiating both local ideas and global health shifts in the process. The research also argues that health policy in Bolivia did not emerge as a singular, static document but rather proliferated both in its process of design and as it circulated, taking different forms in order to fit within different communities and sectors of the Bolivian health care system. This study thus looks not just at the impacts of a policy in practice, but also how specific practices that are important to governing are formed and debated at times of political reform. This project will advance understandings of the contingent processes of the making and circulation of health policy, and will contribute to scholarship in the anthropology of Latin America with an approach that turns upstream to understand how health reform policy is situated, engaged, and fraught along political and cultural lines.
Reiser, Christine Nicole, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Rooted in Movement: Community Keeping and Spatial Practices in Native New England,' supervised by Dr. Patricia E. Rubertone
CHRISTINE N. REISER, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Rooted in Movement: Community Keeping and Spatial Practices in Native New England,' supervised by Dr. Patricia E. Rubertone. This multi-stranded archaeological study examined spatial and material practices of community keeping that belie continuing discourses of Native community loss in 18th and 19th century southern New England. It focused particularly on individuals living in hamlet and enclave communities, small clusters of several families living at the intersections of town and 'wilderness' in western Connecticut. Archaeological evidence from existing collections and landscape surveys were culled to illuminate continued practices of communal living within, and significant interconnections between, these distinctive community spaces. The spatial and contextual data gathered provide the framing for elucidating the range of practices encompassed in maintaining Native community connections across place and distance in southern New England. In particular, it situates how to better understand the relationships between community-keeping, mobility, landscape, and place. Rather than upholding that communities were lost when ties to place were disrupted, a complex, long-standing picture of movement and communal residence emerges. Throughout the last six centuries, as relationships to particular lands changed, Native groups maintained community in part through continued practices of seasonal dispersal, patterned mobility, relocation to less-used locales on their homelands, and removal to nearby kin. Rather than abrogations of homeland and community, such actions represent continuations of Algonquian community-keeping and place-making across distance.
Frolic, Andrea N., Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Professional Ethics: An Ethnographic Study of Clinical Bioethics in the U.S.A. and Canada,' supervised by Dr. Eugenia Georges
ANDREA N. FROLIC, while a student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, received funding in December 2002 to aid ethnographic research on clinical bioethics in the United States and Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Eugenia Georges. Frolic investigated the ways in which transnational processes of professionalization play out in particular cultural contexts and the ways in which global discourses of bioethics are enacted in specific hospital settings. To collect phenomenological data on the work of clinical bioethicists, she conducted one in-depth case study of their practices in a large urban center in the United States and three additional case studies at urban and rural sites in Canada and a rural site in the United States. She held interviews with clinical bioethicists at each site and carried out participant observation of primary informants. In a second component of the research, Frolic tracked the parallel processes of professionalization undertaken by the associations of clinical bioethicists in the United States and Canada by attending key conferences and task-force meetings in each country. This participant observation was complemented by a project investigating the conflicts of interest encountered by clinical bioethicists in the course of discharging their duties, a project based on interviews with practicing bioethicists.
Widmer, Alexandra E., York U., Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Constituting 'Mental Health' in Vanuatu: Subjectivity, Knowledge and Development in a Pacific Post-Colonial Context,' supervised by Dr. Margaret C. Rodman
ALEXANDRA WIDMER, while a student at York University in Toronto, Canada, received funding in March 2003 to aid research on the constitution of health and subjectivity in Vanuatu, under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Rodman. Widmer looked at changing articulations of the nature of Vanuatu people (ni-Vanuatu) in biomedical, Christian, colonial, development, and kastom discourses regarding health, beginning in the 1850s. By making the health knowledge that circulated in Vanuatu and in global arenas a key object of her inquiry, along with accompanying assumptions about personhood, Widmer was able to contextualize as culturally and historically specific the otherwise universalizing aspects of notions of the rational individual and modernity typically associated with biomedicine. In Port Vila, Vanuatu, Widmer spoke with NGO health educators, biomedical doctors, and Christian healers and with people using their services. She attended public events held by health education development organizations and church services held explicitly to heal sick people. Looking at the history of biomedical health care in Vanuatu, she interviewed retired health professionals who had practiced during the colonial period and examined Presbyterian missionary and British colonial material in libraries and archives. She found that beginning in the 1850s, missionaries hoped that the 'rational' knowledge and practices of Western medicine would help bring about conversions from 'heathenism' to Christianity. By the twentieth century, colonial authorities saw medicine as a means to 'bring the uncontrolled bush tribes under control'; providing access to Western medicine was crucial for 'progress' toward 'modern civilization.' Widmer planned next to analyzie how ni-Vanuatu had adapted and resisted these discourses.
Kombo, Brenda Khayanga, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'The Policing of Intimate Partnerships in Yaounde, Cameroon,' supervised by Dr. Kamari M. Clarke
BRENDA K. KOMBO, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Policing of Intimate Partnerships in Yaounde, Cameroon,' supervised by Dr. Kamari M. Clarke. This research project examines the engagement of government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), legal, and religious actors in Yaoundé in the production, negotiation, and enforcement of ideas of what is (in)appropriate in intimate partnerships. Drawing from ethnographic and archival research conducted at various sites -- including women's NGO offices, courts, government ministries, and Catholic churches -- the research considers how the boundary between legitimate and illegitimate behavior is demarcated and both formally and informally policed. At the same time, the research explores how female victims of violence constitute their subjectivity and the implications of governmental, NGO, and church interventions and non-interventions. In an effort to locate the conditions for a possibility of justice, this project interrogates the latter actors' appropriations of the notion of 'culture' and the local and transnational conceptions and expressions of justice to which they claim to pay tribute.
Allison, Jill D., Memorial U., St. John's, Canada - To aid research on '(In) Fertile Ground: Contradictory Conceptions in Assisted Reproduction in Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Robin G. Whitaker
JILL D. ALLISON, then a student at Memorial University, St. John's, Canada, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on '(In) Fertile Ground: Contradictory Conceptions in Assisted Reproduction in Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Robin G. Whitaker. This research examined the social challenges and paradoxes that surround infertility and its treatment in relation to rapid and recent social and economic change in the Republic of Ireland. Recent changes include economic growth, new economic and political links with the European Union, and declining public confidence in social power of the Roman Catholic Church within Ireland. Less overt factors in the infertility experience emerge from debates around the traditional definition of family and its significance to Irish political identity, the long-standing issue of abortion politics, and the meaning of the constitutionally protected 'right to life of the unborn' in relation to increasingly available assisted reproduction technologies (ART) in Ireland. Based on in-depth interviews with people who have experienced difficulty conceiving, the researcher explored the way they contend with moral and ethical challenges posed by technological innovations in infertility treatment, how they make decisions between medical or social options that may or may not be available, and the impact of infertility itself in a climate of changing social values. In spite of continuing emphasis on the traditional family as the site of social, moral, and political stability in Ireland, the research suggests that women dealing with infertility are challenging the institutionally and discursively constituted meanings of motherhood, conception, and fertility that have been the cornerstones of their subjective identities.
Perkins, Alisa Marlene, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Making Muslim Space in Arab Detroit: Religious Identity, Gender and the Emergence of Difference,' supervised by Dr. Kamran A. Ali
ALISA M. PERKINS, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Making Muslim Space in Arab Detroit: Religious Identity, Gender and the Emergence of Difference,' supervised by Dr. Kamran A. Ali. This project is an ethnographic study of how the Muslim populations of Hamtramck, Michigan are impacting public space and political life of the city. Hamtramck is a densely populated city of 23,000 residents packed into 2.1 square miles, with a 40% Muslim population made up of Yemenis, Bangladeshis, Bosnians and African Americans living alongside Polish Catholic and African American Baptist residents. The research centers on how Muslim community members are bringing their religious values into the public sphere by forming mosques and other organizations and by engaging as religious actors in debates over policy-making on the municipal level in two Muslim-led, interfaith activist movements. The first movement (2004) concerns supporting the city's regulation of the call to prayer (adhan); and the second (2008) concerns opposing the city's proposal to offer greater protections for homosexual and transgender residents. The grantee's work focuses on understanding how these movements are shaping Hamtramck public life and perceptions about Muslim minority religious identity. The project also investigates the prominent role that interfaith organizing has played within these campaigns. Finally, the study explores how Muslim women in Hamtramck are participating in various forms of religiously defined social and political activism in Hamtramck.
Duthie, Laurie M., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'White-Collar China: Professionalism and the Making of the New Middle-Class in Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. Yunxiang Yan
LAURIE M. DUTHIE, then a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'White Collar China: Professionalism and the Making of the New Middle-Class in Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. Yunxiang Yan. This project sought to understand the meaning of professionalism for white collar executives employed by foreign-invested corporations in Shanghai, China. Research activities included participant-observation with two foreign-invested corporations, extensive interviews with business professionals, and participant-observation at various business association events. The results of this research highlight the multi-scalar process of identity formation under global capitalism. White collar executives understand their social position through comparison to both their compatriots working for state-owned corporations and also their corporate colleagues from other countries. On a national level, the values of professionalism and essentially 'the meaning of work' is understood in contrast to the state-owned business sector. On a global level, Chinese business professionals are marginalized and face glass ceilings within the global corporations. The reasons for this glass ceiling include geopolitical factors, regional economic trends, as well as the positioning of China as a new and emerging market. From a more qualitative perspective, there is not only a glass ceiling, but moreover a glass wall between Chinese business professionals and their foreign colleagues created through a mutual lack of cultural understanding. To date, this research has resulted in two conference papers, two seminar talks, and a published journal article.
Tusinski, Gabriel Omar, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Violence beyond the Body: House Destruction, Construction, and the Contestation of Timorese National Belonging,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
GABRIEL O. TUSINSKI, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Violence Beyond the Body: House Destruction, Construction and the Contestation of Timorese National Belonging,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. This project explores the social contours of house construction and destruction in Dili, the post-conflict capital city of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. It examines the material practices (migration, narration and exchange) through which Timorese people draw connections between their urban places of inhabitation and their rural places of origin to reveal how social identities and relations to land have persisted and been transformed in the urban capital in the post-independence era. The project suggests the forms of violence that have plagued Timor must be understood in relation to distinctly Timorese ways of understanding their connections to each other and to their territory, namely through the mediation of ancestral origin houses (uma lulik). Timorese people conceptualize their rights and obligations to one another through their membership in these houses and their associated networks of kin. Migration to the capital city and ongoing internationally fostered development and nation-building have additionally politicized housing, often resulting in tensions and misapprehensions over the significance and value of infrastructure, and specifically of domestic architecture. This study examines the minute details of these conflicts in values, exposing how the conditions for national integration and disintegration are built into reconstruction itself.