Osburg, John, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Engendering Wealth: China's New Rich and the Creation of an Elite Masculinity, 'supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
JOHN OSBURG, while a student at the University of Chicago, was awarded a grant in June 2004 to aid in research on changing ideologies of masculinity in urban China under the supervision of Dr. Susan Gal. This project investigated the consumption and leisure practices of newly rich male entrepreneurs in China, practices which are embedded in an emerging ideology of elite masculinity. The study was conducted in Chengdu, China among several intersecting networks of wealthy entrepreneurs. In addition to observation of this group's leisure and consumption practices, detailed interviews with a select group of informants were conducted focusing on transformations in their personal lives and relationships. While wealthy, male entrepreneurs were the main focus, research subjects included many who occupied marginal positions in the world of Chinese business, including female entrepreneurs and members of the criminal underworld. The study found that many features of subjects' lifestyles-their social networks, consumption practices, leisure activities, and sexualities-were deeply intertwined with and to some extent a product of their business relationships. Many subjects participated in various elite recreational activities in order to cultivate relationships with clients, potential business partners, and government officials, relationships which were essential to their financial success. Young women were a constant presence during these activities serving as mediators in relationships between men. This project analyzed the relationship between the Chinese state and private business, changing configurations of romance, marriage, and sexuality, and the rise of new forms of consumption and leisure from the perspective of changing ideologies of gender. More generally, it is hoped that this study will help account for the rise of a 'masculinized' sphere of private business in China.
Doughan, Yazan, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Acting Like a Citizen: Language Practice and the Vicissitudes of Urbanism and Tribalism in (Neo)liberalizing Amman.,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
YAZAN DOUGHAN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Activing Like a Citizen: Language Practice and the Vicissitudes of Urbanism and Tribalism in (Neo)liberalizing Amman,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. The resulting dissertation, 'Fas?d, Authority and the Discursive Production of Reform and Revolution in Jordan,' is an ethnography of governance, political action, and mobilization drawing on fieldwork conducted at Amman's municipality and poor neighborhoods during the wave of protests in 2011-12. The dissertation grapples with the salience of the concept of fas?d (corruption) used in the protests among discourses and during events since the economic crisis in the late 1980s. Rather than starting from a sociological definition, the dissertation looks at how fas?d is used and materialized in political practice and discourse-by political activists, ordinary Jordanians, and state actors-as a diagnostic of 'what went wrong' and a form of intervention or criticism. It considers how people use fas?d to make sense of their living conditions, their anticipated life trajectories, and relations to political authority. In so doing, the dissertation touches upon a set of interrelated themes: the production and foreclosure of personal and collective futures; the shifting meanings of governance and citizenship from personal care to impersonal market-informed citizenship; the ethical and pragmatic dimensions of the political critique of fas?d; and the intertwinement of secular and religious understandings of the concept.
Stubbs, Matilda, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Documenting Lives: The Material and Social Life of the Case File in the U.S. Foster Care System,' supervised by Dr. Helen Schwartzman
Preliminary abstract: This investigation focuses on the procedures of consent (Jacob 2007), compliance (Brodwin 2010), assessment, and auditing culture (Hetherington 2011; Strathern 2000) of the foster care 'system' in the United States. In this context, case files are the legal tool of administration - objects that create and facilitate relations between people and social resources. Here, documents are the materialization of bureaucratic labor and the objectification of case management. This kind of file contains personal data that describe and represent individual users (who become 'cases') in ways that render them lawfully identified, which qualify and in some circumstances require, specific social services and interventions. In addition, these documents also record the actions and movement of officials and reimbursable services, thus simultaneously also serving as institutional histories of staff meetings, administrative decision making, the guardian consent process, and of interactions with foster youth clientele. It is this dynamic interaction between participants, objects, and resources that my project aims to explore at the intersection of case management and paperwork. How do case files mediate relationships and social services between people and institutions, thereby reshaping the subjects of documentation as well as reinforcing, recreating, and formalizing aspects of the bureaucracy itself?
Ihmoud, Sarah Emily, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Policing the Intimate in Contemporary Israel,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Hale
Preliminary abstract: his project investigates the role of sexual racism and gender violence in Israeli settler colonialism, and the extent to which territorial expansion relies on ceding state power to civil society actors. Israeli state securitization and surveillance strategies, which utilize a variety of juridical-spatial strategies of segregation (e.g. dividing walls and checkpoints), are increasingly echoed in informal mechanisms of civil society control of the most intimate relations--what I call 'social forms of policing.' The recent conviction in a Jerusalem court of a Palestinian man for 'rape by deception' of a Jewish woman and the 'lynching' of a young Palestinian man accused of 'making passes at Jewish girls' illustrate this trend. The aims of this project are threefold: First, to examine aspects of Israeli state policies that regulate the Palestinian body and intimate sphere and second, to examine the rise of surveillance strategies that move beyond the formal bounds of the state--social forms of policing the intimate. Finally, given the polarization emanating from both the Israeli state and civil society, to examine the forms of and motivations for transgressing racial boundaries and engaging in interracial intimacy. Despite Israeli state policies discouraging interracial sociability and extensive social forms of policing, youth from both groups regularly and extensively defy these limits. This is especially true for male Palestinian citizens of Israel, and female Jewish Israelis. These defiant youth are the primary subjects of my ethnography. The politics of erotics at play in these subjects' negotiation of social intimacy and interracial sexuality destabilize the Israeli state's imaginary and open possibilities for newly imagined futures of ending military occupation and pathways to Israeli Jewish-Palestinian coexistence.
Morton, Micah Francis, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Negotiating the Changing Zomia of Mainland Southeast Asia: Akha Identitarian Politics,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
MICAH F. MORTON, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Negotiating the Changing Zomia of Mainland Southeast Asia: Akha Indentitarian Politics,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Between June 2011 and May 2012, the researcher conducted twelve months of fieldwork with certain members of the Akha indigenous group in Thailand who are involved in efforts to promote a more formal sense of belonging among Akha throughout the Upper Mekong Region - including East Burma, Southwest China, Northwest Laos and North Thailand. It was found that a growing number of Akha are participating in various activities being arranged as part of the movement and that a cross-border sense of belonging is developing. These activities ranged from Akha literacy training workshops to cultural festivals and formal meetings held to discuss how to go about preserving and modifying 'traditional' Akha culture. It was further found, however, that the cross-border sense of belonging that is developing exists beneath the various national level senses of belonging that different Akha communities have depending upon their particular country of residence. In short, Akha in Thailand for the most part see themselves as being Thai first and foremost and members of an international Akha community only second. Last, it was found that the cultural and linguistic emphasis of the movement fails to address the more practical concerns faced by the general Akha community.
Cowgill, Libby Windred, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Ontogeny of Long Bone Diaphyses in Immature Late Pleistocene Postcrania,' supervised by Dr. Erik Trinkaus
LIBBY W. COWGILL, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Ontogeny of Long Bone Diaphyses in Immature Late Pleistocene Postcrania,' supervised by Dr. Erik Trinkaus. While studies of adult remains have identified patterns of temporal variation in postcranial robusticity, relatively less research has focused on possible differences in developmental trajectories that result in variable levels of skeletal robusticity in the adult form. This study aims to clarify the developmental basis for the acquisition of adult postcranial strength in both Late Pleistocene and Holocene humans by addressing two research questions: When during growth do the differences in postcranial strength that differentiate Late Pleistocene and Holocene adults manifest themselves in subadults? Are immature Late Pleistocene individuals attaining postcranial strength at the same rate and following the same pattern as Holocene subadults? Cross-sectional geometry was used to compare the developmental trajectories of humeral, tibial, and femoral growth in Late Pleistocene Neandertal and modern human subadults (N=104) to a sample of immature humans from seven geographically diverse Holocene populations (N=621). The results of this research indicate that populational differences in postcranial robusticity emerge early in development. While many of these differences are likely related to activity pattern variation, the early onset of populational variation during growth implies that other factors, including nutrition and genetics, may play an important role in the development of long bone strength. While individual variation is common, cross-sectional geometric properties of immature Late Pleistocene individuals generally show modestly elevated levels of postcranial strength. These results highlight the complex mosaic of processes that result in adult postcranial robusticity, and suggest that further exploration of the developmental interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic influences on skeletal robusticity will likely enhance our understanding of adult postcranial morphology.
Cowgill, Libby W. 2010. The Ontogeny of Holcene and Late Pleistocene Human Postcranial Strength. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 141(1):16-37.
Cowgill, Libby W. 2007. Humeral Torsion Revisited: A Functional and Ontogenetic Model for Populational Variation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 134(4):472-481.
Cowgill, Libby W., Erik Trinkaus, and Melinda A. Zeder. 2007 Shanidar 10: A Middle Paleolithic Immature Distal Lower Limb from Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. Journal of Human Evolution 53(2):213-223.
Cowgill, Libby W., Anna Warrener, Herman Pontzer, and Cara Ocobock. 2010. Waddling and Toddling: The Biomechanical Effects of an Immature Gait. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 143(1):52-61.
Cowgill, Libby W., Courtney D. Eleazer, Benjamin M. Auerback, et al. 2012. Developmental Variation in Ecogeographic Body Proportions. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148(4):557-570.
Sethi, Aarti, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Chronicles of Deaths Foretold?: Farmers' Suicides in Chhattisgarh, India,' supervised by Dr. Rosalind Morris
Preliminary abstract: More than a quarter of a million farmers have committed suicide across India since 1995. Since what one report terms the 'largest wave of recorded suicides in human history' (Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, 2011) first received attention in the mid-nineties, the 'farmer's' suicide' has emerged as a potent politically charged symbol for intense public debates on the depredations of neoliberal structural adjustment, and the failures of state and society. Scholarly and activist discourses have attempted to establish causal links between the suicide of farmers and large-scale industrial transformation of agricultural production in the early 1990s. My research focuses on the suicides of farmers in the Durg and Mahasamund districts of Chhattisgarh in order to examine the means by which suicide is transformed from an exceptional occurrence in peasant life, to entering a culturally available repertoire of action. By examining affects and narratives around suicide deaths among cultivars in Mahasamund and Durg on the one hand, and the ways in which the category of the 'farmers' suicide' is energized as the grounds of new political mobilizations against neoliberalism on the other, my project explores the relationship between sociostructural marginality, forms of life and political possibility, under neoliberal precarity.
Haug, Jordan Ross, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Finding Hope in a Time of Decline: After Mine Closure in Misima, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Rupert Stasch
Preliminary abstract: In places where extractive industries have left an indelible mark, eroding infrastructures and disappearing economic opportunities following project closures often contribute to crises of hope. Hope for future equality with people in wealthier parts of the world seems no longer practical. Through ethnographic research in Misima, Papua New Guinea, this project seeks to answer the pressing question of how people in these communities hope for greater equality in times of dramatic geopolitical and economic decline. In 2004, the small island of Misima became the site of one of the most significant industrial mine closures in Oceania. Since that time, the possibilities for the island's geopolitical, infrastructural, and economic advancement have dramatically declined. In spite of this foreclosure of opportunity and increased isolation, many Misimans hope for better futures where they are able to obtain geopolitical, infrastructural, and economic equality with the rest of the globalized world. Through moral projects like education, cooperative fund raising, and denominationalism, Misimans infuse presently persistent inequalities with the possibility of greater equality. I hypothesize that these moral projects of cultivating hope subvert the inevitability of inequality in favor of egalitarian ideals that transcend the realm of the possible.
Mata-Miguez, Jaime, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Assessing the Genetic Impact of Aztec and Spanish Imperialism in Mesoamerica,' supervised by Dr. Deborah A. Bolnick
Preliminary abstract: Historical and archaeological evidence indicate that Aztec and Spanish imperialism had a profound demographic impact on Mesoamerica over the last 600 years. The emergence of the Aztec empire in the 15th century prompted important political rearrangements and changing patterns of migration within the region, while the Spanish conquest in the 16th century led to population decline, community reorganization, new patterns of migration and gene flow (between Mesoamerican populations as well as with Europeans), and repeated epidemics. Even though these events may have drastically changed the genetic composition of Mesoamerican populations, the genetic effects of Aztec and Spanish imperialism in this region remain largely unknown. My project aims to clarify such effects by analyzing genome-wide markers in ancient and modern inhabitants of Xaltocan, a polity in the Basin of Mexico that was incorporated into the Aztec empire in 1428 and conquered by the Spaniards in 1521. This research is a perfect example of how, in addition to historical and archaeological investigations, anthropologists can use genetics as a complementary line of evidence to better understand the impact of major events in human history.