Wu, Ifan, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Doing Qigong in Malaysia: Religious Healing and the Production of Chinese Identities,' supervised by Dr. Steven Sangren
Preliminary abstract: Qigong, an ancient Chinese healing practice, has become increasingly popular among the female Chinese minority in Malaysia. Grounded on the belief that cosmic energy is polluted and stagnant and therefore 'blocks' one's physical energy, qigong heals by allowing practitioners to clear 'blockage,' a diagnosis that covers everything from a stiff neck to frustrations with the pursuit of personal success. As a reliever of individuals' dissatisfactions, qigong may bear traces of social anxieties suffered under culturally repressive regulations and economic structures associated with, on the one hand, Chinese patriliny and, on the other, the New Economic Policy, which prioritizes the Muslim Malay bourgeoisie's social welfare while reifying ethnic and class boundaries. To track how expressions of distress and qigong solutions are related to practitioners' social experiences and interactions, I will conduct one year of fieldwork in Penang. In describing how, based on gender roles, class, and ethnicity, practitioners address and work through their somatic frustrations and existential quandaries by using diverse knowledge systems that are transmitted across cultural contexts, my research will examine how individual practitioners, indirectly expressing their internalized political and social frustrations during qigong practices, produce desires and identities that simultaneously accommodate and resist patriliny and the state's agenda.
Marsh, Katharine Ruth, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Spiritual Care on the Move: Ethics of Care, Migrant Integration, and African Pentecostalism in the United Kingdom,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Jordan Smith
KATHARINE R. MARSH, then a graduate student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was granted funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Spiritual Care on the Move: Ethics of Care, Migrant Integration and African Pentecostalism in the United Kingdom,' supervised by Dr. Daniel J. Smith. The research project explored the effects of Pentecostal Christianity on the integration of African migrants in the United Kingdom (UK). The project investigated the relationship between Pentecostal practice and experiences of belonging, encounters with the UK state, and relationships with other migrant and non-migrant groups. It involved twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in a multi-ethnic but predominately African and African-Caribbean Pentecostal church in a medium-sized city in the southeast of England. It was found that African migrants are often initially attracted to Pentecostalism by the social capital and networks that churches offer, and due to experiences of not-belonging in mainstream UK churches. Over time, church members learn cognitive, behavioral and linguistic techniques that help cultivate a sense of moral worth and value. This increased confidence helps migrants cope with experiences of disempowerment and exclusion, leading to a greater material and moral engagement with the UK state. The research also examined the exchange of money, material objects and emotional support within church, as well as different understandings of culture and cultural difference among members. These practices were explored in terms of their effects on sentiments of trust and belonging with both co-believers in church and unbelievers outside church.
Chao, Sophie Marie Helene, Macquarie U., Macquarie, Australia - To aid research on 'Agribusiness Land Grabs and Transforming Indigenous Foodways: Towards a Theory of Hunger and Satiety in West Papua,' supervised by Dr. Jaap Timmer
Preliminary abstract: This research explores the relation between the ontological and material uncertainty experienced by the indigenous Malind peoples of Merauke Regency (West Papua, Indonesia) in the context of large-scale mono-culture plantation development projects, and changing practices and values related to traditional and new foods. By exploring how food is imbued with significance drawn from local cosmologies, Christianity, millenarian beliefs, witchcraft and State discourses and practices, the research will analyse how food and consumption relate to dynamic concepts of morality, place-making, memory and gender, in ways that reveal the creative absorbability of Malind culture in the context of material, environmental, cultural and physical precariousness. Food choices among the Malind may appear imposed in the light of State and private sector-led transformations, which appear beyond the Malinds' control. However, this fieldwork will elucidate how what one eats among the Malind is in fact a political act -- one of the few that can be made in an increasingly diminished space for individual and collective agency. This research contributes to the small but growing anthropological literature on food by combining theories of gustemology and synaesthesia with a gastro-politics analysis of food practices. Situated in the particularly relevant yet under-studied region of West Papua, the research will contribute to anthropological theories of practice and agency by complementing the traditional macro-level analysis of political resistance in West Papua, with a focus on subtle, daily acts of resistance through local communities' food production and consumption choices.
Reid, David Aaron, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Roads, Waystations, and Llama Caravans: The Political-Economy of Wari State Expansion in Southern Peru,' supervised by Dr. Patrick R. Williams
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the role of infrastructure (i.e. the built networks of communication, travel, and commerce) in the expansion of one of the earliest state-level societies in the Americas: the Wari of the Andean highlands, whose material culture and customs spread across much of Peru during the Middle Horizon (A.D. 600-1000). Despite considerable research of Wari administrative centers in provincial settings, the mechanisms underlying Wari expansionism remain poorly problematized. This research takes a multi-scalar approach to examine a network of Middle Horizon roads and waystations that served as the conduits of Wari influence between the Ocoña and Majes Valleys of southern Peru. Archaeological excavations at three road waystations will examine how colonial entanglements between state and local societies coproduced new social contexts in a state periphery and borderland. Innovative compositional analyses of archaeological materials will provide data on processes of craft production and inter-regional trade/exchange in association with GIS-based spatial analyses. As such, this project utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the intersection of political and economic processes related to caravan-based mercantilism, formal state infrastructure, and expansionary strategies of empire.
Greenfield, Dana Emily, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on 'Crossing the 'Valley of Death': Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Public University,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams
DANA E. GREENFIELD, then a graduate student at University of California, San Francisco, California, was awarded a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Crossing the 'Valley of Death:' Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Public University,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams. The project was subsequently retitled 'Homo experimentus: Digital Health, Technologies of the Quantified Self, and Emergence of New Experimental Subjects.' The Quantified Self (QS) movement emerged as a user-group in late 2000s in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the intersection of a personal computing counterculture and the rise of digital health technologies, most notably wearable devices and applications that enable biometric self-tracking. These networks and communities are populated by a diverse group of actors, who gain meaning from personal data in different ways. For some, self-quantification is about challenging official modes of clinical accounting, enabling patient empowerment and self-care. For others, personal data represents a medical and technological frontier (a 'high-definition human') where much is to be learned about human biological particularity, leading to the promise of precision medicine. This project investigates the implications and impact of the rise of practices, technologies, and forms of life that encourage self-tracking of health parameters and the domestication of clinical technologies for the home. Homo experimentus emerges out of these various sites as a kind of person and a kind of patient who lives life in experiment, with an eye towards continuous improvement and innovation.
Walker, Alexis Kalilah, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'After Privatization: Economic Sciences, Development Banks, and Global Health in Guyana,' supervised by Dr. Saida Hodzic
Preliminary abstract: Development banks had almost no involvement in the field of international health just a few decades ago, but today they wield immense power over the lives of millions of people by shaping global health priorities and implementing health programs. In the context of neoliberal governance, 'innovative finance,' and the shift from international to global health, key actors and approaches in this field have shifted, and what counts as relevant expertise in global health has also been called into question. The proposed research examines relationships of power and knowledge in the health work of development banks--examining what comes to count as relevant knowledge, who gets to use it, and with what social and political consequences. It does so by bringing together ethnographic research of two development bank-coordinated projects in Guyana with interview and archival research at the headquarters of the banks that finance and oversee these projects: the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. This research investigates the construction of authority across networks of sites and people involved in the health work of development banks. The focus of the proposed study is to examine how actors use knowledge and methods from economics and finance in bank health work, and whether other forms of expertise--such as clinical experience or expertise in local health systems--are being sidelined in the process. In doing so, I am examining relationships among knowledge and the power to govern health amidst contemporary configurations of global health and neoliberal governance.
Leon, Melanie, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on ''Pretty and They Know It': Security, Sex Trafficking, and Humanitarianism in the Mexico-Guatemala Borderlands,' supervised by Dr. Liisa Malkki
Preliminary abstract: My research brings together two subjects of increasing global concern: national security and sex trafficking. Through an ethnographic study of sex trafficking of undocumented Central American migrants in the border cities of Tapachula, Mexico and Tecun Uman, Guatemala, I investigate the connections between migrant exploitation and security practices in the region. I explore the mechanisms by which Mexico and Guatemala's security regimes target and produce migrants as 'threats' to the nation in order to understand how migrant vulnerability to violence and exploitation is produced at the state level. I also analyze the role of gender in shaping migrant experiences of (in)security, and how the intersection of gender with security discourses renders certain migrants more vulnerable to different forms of exploitation, such as sex trafficking. Lastly, I study the impact of security policies and discourses on local anti-trafficking advocacy. This illuminates the ways in which security policies and discourses not only produce insecurity in the lives of migrants, but also impact their ability to make claims to victimhood and access humanitarian resources.
Braun, David R., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Ecology of Oldowan Technology: Koobi Fora and Kanjera South,' supervised by Dr. John W.K. Harris
DAVID R. BRAUN, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Ecology of Oldowan Technology: Koobi Fora and Kanjera South,' supervised by Dr. John W.K. Harris. The ultimate goal of this project was to determine if the archaeological record of Oldowan tool use could be used to determine the impact of stone tool use on hominid adaptive strategies. The two sites investigated in this study (Kanjera South and two localities from the KBS member of the Koobi Fora Formation) are particularly relevant for a description of the significance of stone tool manufacture because of their varied environmental and geographic context. We examined Oldowan technology through three major avenues: 1) experimental and archaeological studies of flaking patterns used by early hominids to extend the use-life of their tools; 2) geochemical and engineering analyses to determine the effect of raw material availability and quality on artifact production and discard in the terminal Pliocene; and 3) comparison of how these factors influenced the industries found in these two different contexts in northern and western Kenya. The synthesis of these three avenues of study have shown that Pliocene hominids were possibly adept at selecting high quality raw materials and may have preferentially transported rocks that had particular physical properties that made them ideal for making stone artifacts. Furthermore, these behaviors seem to be reflected in both basins of varying ecological context, suggesting that this may be an underlying pattern found in the earliest archaeological traces.
Braun, David R., Michael J. Rogers, John W.K. Harris, Steven J. Walker. 2008. Landscape-scale Variation in Hominin Tool Use: Evidence from the Developed Oldowan. Journal of Human Evolution 55(6):1053-1063.
Mr. Gaerrang, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh
GAERRANG, then a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh. In the 1990s, seeing an increasing slaughter rate of livestock from Tibetan households and the suffering of livestock in transportation to Chinese markets, the influential Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933-2004), began the anti-slaughter movement. Tibetan pastoralists across the Tibetan Plateau, including those in the study site of Rakhor Village, Hongyuan County, Sichuan, took multiple years' pledges to stop selling livestock to markets. This took place at the same time as the Chinese state was seeking to intensify its economic development agenda in Tibet, trying to shape its citizens to become rational market actors who prioritize commodity production, including by encouraging pastoralists to sell more livestock. This resulted in the negotiation by herders of two very different views of what constitutes development. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork on lamas' motivations and herders' decision-making about the campaign, in order to shed light on the culturally specific, religious idioms through which development is negotiated, and the relationship between markets, subjectivity, and religious revival.