Hasinoff, Erin, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall
ERIN L. HASINOFF, a student at Columbia University, New York, received funding in December 2005 to aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall. The grant was used to study the Missionary Exhibit, a fragmentary collection of ethnological artifacts that was accessioned by Franz Boas of the American Museum of Natural History following the close of the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions of 1900. The project assessed how the Burmese portion of this unstudied collection inventoried Burma (today, Myanmar), and traced its legacy: the production of Burmese identities in contemporary cultural museums in Myitkyina, Putao, Hkamti and Layshi. By critically engaging the object biography approach, this investigation looked at how the Missionary Exhibit materialized and continues to shape inventories of Burma, now at the periphery of anthropological knowledge. This research considered how artifacts were not just expressions of a new context, but were also technologies that created the context anew. This is premised on the idea that objects came to embody information about Burma, while also acting as agents in the relationships that developed between specific Burmese missionaries and anthropologists. Research followed the contours of the Exhibit's collection history back to Burma by considering how identities are produced in cultural museums. The study contributes to our understanding of the missionary imagination and its material entanglements over time, as well as to the politics and performance of cultural identity in museums today.
Martin, Sarah Abigail, Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'Expression of Fluctuating Asymmetry in Primate Dentition: Analyzing the Role of Growth Duration,' supervised by Dr. Debra Guatelli-Steinberg
SARAH A. MARTIN, then a student at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Expression of Fluctuating Asymmetry in Primate Dentition: Analyzing the Role of Growth Duration,' supervised by Dr. Debra Guatelli-Steinberg. In comparison to other mammalian species, primates exhibit prolonged growth periods. Within the primate order, growth periods lengthen from prosimans to apes and humans. Although prolonged growth periods can be advantageous, extended development may provide more time for developing body structures to be affected by sources of stress. Extended periods of growth are therefore predicted to be associated with greater developmental noise, measured by fluctuating asymmetry (FA). This study tested if and to extent growth duration influenced the expression of FA in primate dentition. Dental dimensions, collected from 26 primate species, were used to calculate FA. Crown formation times of the primate first molar and canine served as the basis for making comparisons between and within species. To date, FA has been calculated for the dentition of Hominidae and Hylobatidae. Results obtained so far demonstrate that growth duration does influence the expression of FA in primate first molars. FA of Hylobatidae mandibular and maxillary first molars is lower than FA estimations of Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo. Gorilla males exhibited greater canine FA relative to gorilla females while gibbon males and females exhibited similar canine FA, further suggesting the hypothesis that growth duration is a factor in canine FA expression.
Campbell, Jeremy Michael, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'The Social Life of an Amazonian Highway,' supervised by Dr. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
JEREMY M. CAMPBELL, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Social Life of an Amazonian Highway,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing. This study asks how settlers and natives along an unpaved Amazonian highway live with the layered history of property-making along the frontier, and reveals how land-reformers, ranchers, and native Amazonians are participating in the most recent state visions for sustainable development in the region. Research reveals that, over the past 40 years, a diverse array of migrants to the region have put into place improvised land tenure regimes based on conflicting and confused signals from the state. In response to recent promises to pave the highway, distinct practices of property and territory --ranging from collective squatting to land grabbing -- have emerged as key mechanisms for roadside residents to articulate their emerging subject-positions in debates over the future of the Amazonian frontier. By focusing on vernacular property-making projects along the road, this project shows how current plans to reverse past development failures become enmeshed with local idioms of race, class, labor, and nature that have developed over the past 40 years along the unpaved highway. The study analyzes both the design and reception of Brazil's newest plans to pave the highway, and argues that poor and rich colonists alike have worked to reposition their speculative practices (e.g. forgery, corruption, and violence) as legitimate and environmentally sustainable.
Rosenbaum, Stacy Lynn, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Male/Immature Relationships in the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei),' supervised by Dr. Joan B. Silk
STACY L. ROSENBAUM, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Male/Immature Relationships in the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei),' supervised by Dr. Joan B. Silk. The focus of this research is relationships between adult male gorillas and the immature animals in their groups. More specifically, this study evaluates: 1) what benefits males offer to young in their groups; 2) whether males and their offspring can discriminate between each other and unrelated animals; 3) if, and how, relationships with males influence physiological stress levels in immature animals and their mothers; and, 4) if male 'interest' in immatures correlates with certain hormonal profiles. These questions integrate behavioral observation, non-invasive collection of hormones, and evaluation of genetic relatedness between males and immatures. All work was done at the Karisoke Research Center in Musanze, Rwanda. During this phase of the project, there were 1019 hours of behavioral data collected, 6500 fecal samples for testosterone and corticosteroid analysis, and 600 urine samples for prolactin analysis. Paternity data (via fecal samples) on infants in the gorilla population was also obtained. Summary and analyses of all three types of data are ongoing. Initial results, presented at the International Primatological Society Congress in August 2012, indicate that maturing animals sustain long-term relationships with adult males they prefer as infants. Complete results will be forthcoming in scientific publications over the next 1-2 years.
Wilson, Marieke Justine, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on ''God is in the Medium': Evangelical Film and Salvation in Southwestern Nigeria,' supervised by Dr. Jane I. Guyer
MARIEKE WILSON, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'God is in the Medium: Evangelical Filmmaking and Salvation in Southwestern Nigeria,' supervised by Dr. Jane I. Guyer. The fieldwork in Lagos and other areas in the southwest of Nigeria is set forth in a dissertation that examines the emotional, social, and political dynamics informing Nigerian evangelical film productions funded by Pentecostal 'mega-churches.' The primary goal of the dissertation lies in discerning how we can read evangelical films, to be differentiated from popular mainstream 'Nollywood' films, as cultural commodities that play on and reinforce popular understandings of salvation. It also explores the ways in which individuals perceive their belonging to a spiritual community and attempts to track the ways in which visual media help to shape religious affiliations and movements of a transnational character. The research conducted in Nigeria engages the varying forms of sentimental and political community encouraged by evangelical media and video, and traces the ways in which these overlap and compete with understandings of national belonging and community. The resulting dissertation aims to shed light on the impact of religious media on emerging forms of political subjectivity in Nigeria and beyond.
Levin, Erik Lee, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Knowledge Practices, Authority, and Uses of Grammaticized Epistemology Amongst the Río Inuya Amawaka,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
Preliminary abstract: Sixty of the Amawaka (also 'Amahuaca') language's 250 to 300 remaining speakers reside in San Juan de Inuya, Peru. Members of this indignenous Western Amazonian community serendipitously juxtapose (1) a reified system of culturally normative knowledge practices, and (2) the Amawaka language, whose contingent grammatical features arbitrarily require speakers to index their judgments about both the quality and the sources of referential information that they present through speech acts. Thus, whether speakers of Amawaka engage in epistemological or linguistic practices, they overtly index either practice of the pair in performing the other. Linguistic anthropologists have established that speakers of a given language can utilize semiotic indexes of its contingent morphosyntactic elements to entail the very states of affairs that such indexes more generally signify in cultural context. The San Juan Amawaka, then, present multiply and overtly connected evidence to underlie research into an as-yet uninvestigated theoretical question: How, in the very process of verbally disseminating knowledge in cultural context, can people creatively employ semiotic indexes of their language's arbitrary, yet grammatically mandatory epistemological forms to invoke discursive spaces of social authority and, relatedly, to entail that publicly circulated knowledge is established as relatively more, or relatively less factual in a small-scale society? At stake are issues concerning socially situated productions, discourses, and uses of knowledge, institutionalized and informal authority, and cultural semiotics of language use in context.
Bidwell, Alison B., Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Historical Ecology of Cooperation in a North American Ranching Community,' supervised by Dr. William H. Durham
ALISON B. BIDWELL, while a student at Stanford University in Stanford, California, received a grant in June 2001 to aid research on the historical ecology of cooperation in a North American ranching community, under the supervision of Dr. William H. Durham. Bidwell conducted thirteen months of fieldwork in the Madison Valley of southwestern Montana in order to write an ecologically oriented ethnography of family ranchers. She employed a variety of field methods including historical research, interviews, and observations. Historical documents were collected from historical societies, university libraries, and public agencies in order to reconstruct the 150-year evolution of the local ranching economy. A comprehensive database of land patents for the study area was collected from the General Land Office records held by the Bureau of Land Management. A second database of property subdivisions was collected from the Madison County courthouse. These data were to be analyzed with Geographical Information Systems software in order to examine the relationship between land tenure patterns and natural resource distribution. Bidwell also collected detailed labor activity diaries from thirteen ranching households in order to quantify their reliance on family labor, describe the seasonal round of work, and understand strategies for coping with economic volatility. She interviewed a larger population of ranchers in order to explore the criteria employed in land-use decisions, particularly with regard to subdivision and land conservation. Finally, she conducted interviews and made observations among two types of rancher organizations-grazing associations that jointly lease Forest Service land and a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the ranching lifestyle in the area. These interviews and observations were aimed at comparing the cooperation exhibited by ranchers in these groups with theoretical models of common-pool resource institutions.
Frank, Emily, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Inheriting a Global Economy: Inheritance Disputes among the Gwembe Tonga,' supervised by Dr. Richard R. Wilk
EMILY FRANK, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded funding in November 2003 to aid research on 'Inheriting a Global Economy: Inheritance Disputes among the Gwembe Tonga,' supervised by Dr. Richard R. Wilk. The research will show how local decision-making in regards to inheritance has been inextricably altered by and incorporated into larger discourses on international AIDS prevention and modernity in southern Zambia. These larger issues are illuminated by utilizing a framework of legal pluralism to locate women's decisions regarding their inheritance on a continuum encompassing customary to national legislative norms. Extensive structured and semi-structured interviews in both rural and urban settings from a wide sample of the population were conducted. While in the field the researcher lived in two communities and witnessed how inheritance practices unfolded, as well as interviewing women, local leaders, court officials, NGO representatives, and government officials. From this field approach a robust understanding of how household property inheritance is changing was gained. The project is based on twelve months of fieldwork in Southern Province, Zambia and Lusaka between 2002 and 2004, with funding from the Wenner Gren foundation and Indiana University. Fieldwork indicates that decision-making challenges traditional gender roles and ideas within two Tonga communities as well as demonstrating the unintended ways AIDS and AIDS prevention campaigns enter into and alter daily life in Southern Africa. The Tonga communities in Southern Province, Zambia, represent a microcosm of the social, legal, and economic changes impacting southern Africa. They are particularly relevant to all the societies encompassed by the 'matrilineal belt,' an area that extends from Congo down through Central Africa.