Hernann, Andrew, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Ethics on the Margins: Religious Transformation in a Labor Regime in Timbuktu, Mali,' supervised by Dr. Gary Wilder
ANDREW HERNANN, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Ethics on the Margins: Religious Transformation in a Labor Regime in Timbuktu, Mali,' supervised by Dr. Gary Wilder. This research project examined to what extent local conceptions of Islam influence division of labor in northern Mali. Engaging archival and various ethnographic methodologies, this year-long fieldwork interrogated how Islam's shifting roles in the region affect the ways in which residents understand and integrate themselves into Timbuktu's salt trade. Amid the occupation of northern Mali, the displacement of many of its residents, the subsequent military intervention, and the eventual return of many (formerly) internally displaced persons and refugees, social, political, and economic disruption inevitably factored into research and analysis. Working with Timbuktians in both southern and northern Mali, data was collected from salt miners, traders, merchants, vendors, as well as religious experts. Archival material was also examined in Dakar, Senegal, and Bamako, Mali, in order to analyze the transformation and continuity of different regional networks. The research suggests that Timbuktu's prolonged peripheral status facilitated the development of unique religious expressions, especially a metaphysical and social ethic of privacy. Most Timbuktians-for various historical and contemporary reasons-express a certain cosmopolitanism. However, this dominant ethic of privacy limits social and political expression, thereby facilitating continued unequal division of labor, and more general regional marginalization.
McLay, Eric Boyd, U. of Victoria, Victoria, Canada - To aid research on 'Ancestral Landscapes on the Northwest Coast: Inland Shell Middens, Memory Work and Coast Salish Narratives,' supervised by Dr. Quentin Mackie
Preliminary abstract: This PhD dissertation proposes to explore social memory and the depositional practices associated with 'inland shell middens' in the Gulf of Georgia region, British Columbia, Canada. Discovered atop mountain hilltops and valleys distant from modern shorelines, inland shell middens defy ethnographic expectations and normative ecological models of hunter-gatherer foraging behaviors based on efficiency and least-cost economic principles. These investigations will examine whether the depositional practices associated with inland shell middens may represent evidence for new strategies of ritual practice beginning in the Marpole Phase (2550 to 1000 calBP), where past Coast Salish peoples gathered, feasted and ritually-deposited foods and other offerings to commemorate and commune with ancestors and non-human beings on the landscape. Survey, remote sensing and small-scale excavations will explore site chronologies, stratigraphic contexts, features and genealogies of practices associated with the deposition of foods and materials. To move beyond the deeply-plumbed Northwest Coast ethnographic literature to interpret the archaeological past, this research will draw upon dialogues with descendant Coast Salish communities today about how their cultural beliefs, values, experiences and daily practices associated with the ancestral dead and non-human beings powerfully shape Coast Salish understandings of their own settlement history.
Cesarino, Pedro D., U. of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - To aid research on 'Translation and Study of Marubo Oral Tradition,' supervised by Dr. Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro
PEDRO D. CESARINO, then a student at University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Translation and Study of Marubo Oral Tradition,' supervised by Dr. Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro. This project was conducted in the Indigenous Reservation Vale do Javari (Amazonas State, Brazil) to analyze verbal arts related to shamanism, cosmology, and death conceptions of the Marubo, speakers of a Panoan language from the upper Ituí River. The research resulted in a substantial collection of recorded chants, narratives, and interviews, as well as drawings done by three elderly shamans. A selection of translations, drawings, and research data will be used to illustrate the notions of social and cosmological transformation involved in Marubo mythology and shamanism, as well as the characteristics of the synesthetic poetics (inter-relation of distinctive aesthetic domains) developed by this culture. Fieldwork, conjugated with the work of translation of a corpus originated from oral tradition, led to the recognition of an encompassing and live system of cosmological reflection and ritual action regarding death and disease, which was the focus of this research.
Saleh, Zainab, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'On Exclusion and Authenticity: National Self-Fashioning and State-Building in Iraq,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley Messick
ZAINAB SALEH, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'On Exclusion and Authenticity: National Self-Fashioning and State-Building in Iraq,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley Messick. This grant made possible ethnographic and archival research on state-building, nationalism and national identity in Iraq. The project focuses on what has been known as 'Iraqis of Iranian origin,' Shia Arabs and Kurds, who sought asylum in the United Kingdom after expulsion or flight from Iraq during the Baath regime in the 1970s and 1980s. This work considers the decisive role of British colonial rule in the formation of the Iraqi state, and explores how subsequent Arab nationalistic rhetoric and practices of the Iraqi state have been based on exclusion since their inception, emphasizing the institutionalization of these acts of exclusion through law that divided Iraqis into citizens of authentic and inauthentic status. Ethnographically this project seeks to understand Iraqis' contemporary experiences of expulsion and flight, their fantasies of an eventual return to Iraq, feelings of social belonging after years of exile, religious practice and self-identification, and Iraqi exile views of the nationalistic discourse in Iraq. This project engages with a wide sampling of the diverse Iraqi community in London, focusing on those persons who fled Iraq because of their political activities and opposition to the Baath regime, in order to ultimately grapple with the different imaginations of Iraq as a horizon within which distinct histories and desires are ongoingly negotiated.
Gursel, Zeynep D., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Image Industry: The Work of International News Photographs in the Age of Digital Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Nelson H.H. Graburn
ZEYNEP D. GURSEL, while a student at University of California in Berkeley, California, received funding in June 2003 to aid research on international news photographs in the age of digital reproduction, under the supervision of Dr. Nelson H. H. Graburn. Gursel conducted seven months of research on the international photojournalism industry, which was in the midst of a major transformation, due partly to a transition from film to digital images and partly to new institutions that had been able to enter the market as distribution mechanisms changed. Digitalization of production and particularly of distribution had radically increased the number of images available. Gursel carried out extensive fieldwork in the news and editorial division of Corbis, a major visual content provider seen by many as a major force in shaping the future of the industry. Research was also conducted at news publications, in order to determine the processes by which key decision makers negotiated which images were used and how those images were sourced. Interviews were conducted with photographers, editors, owners of major photo agencies, and archivists, in order to understand how images were marketed and what determined whose visions got put into circulation. At a time when historical narratives are becoming increasingly communicated through visuals, which types of images get produced, distributed, published, and archived in the present correlate with which versions of history will be narrated in the future.
Gürsel,Zeynep Devrim. 2012. The Politics of Wire Service Photography: Infrastructures of Representation in a Digital Newsroom. American Ethnologist 39(1):71-89.
Yount-Andre, Chelsie Jeannette, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Giving, Taking, and Sharing: Reproducing Economic Moralities and Social Hierarchies in Transnational Senegal,' supervised by Dr. Caroline Bledsoe
Preliminary abstract: My proposed dissertation research asks how deepening inequalities in the wake of European economic crisis may be reshaping the ways Senegalese migrants in Paris socialize their children into economic moralities. Faced with the potential disintegration of their advantaged position in France, university-educated Senegalese provide a striking example of how transnational migrants reinforce class and education-based hierarchies in the transnational field as they cling to postcolonial privilege. Key to understanding how these migrants simultaneously maintain transnational socio-economic relations and invest in incorporation into their host country is examination of how they reproduce 'economic moralities,' normative sets of social expectations regarding material obligation and entitlement. Analysis of the ways migrants socialize children to competently manage multiple economic moralities according to context and participant framework, aligning themselves with some and distinguishing themselves from others, can provide insight into the ways migrants reproduce stratification in the transnational field. To examine emergent economic moralities, I will analyze daily exchanges of talk and food between caregivers and children through which appropriate means of giving, taking, and sharing are negotiated. I will set my investigation in Senegalese households in Paris, following family members back to Dakar over summer vacation to examine socialization in transnational movement. This study will contribute to anthropological literature on transnational migration by applying theory and methods from studies of language socialization to questions of how social values that guide economic practices are communicated and negotiated in everyday interactions in households.
Love, Mark William, U. of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia - To aid research on 'The Hubris of Conservation and Development in Vanuatu and Beyond' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler
MARK W. LOVE, then a student at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, received a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'The Hubris of Conservation and Development in Vanuatu and Beyond,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler. Primary fieldwork was conducted in southwest Malekula and northwest Efate, Vanuatu, over a twelve-month period. Using multiple research methods, fieldwork activities were designed to elucidate the historical and contemporary contingencies affecting human-environment relations and marine resource use, governance, and change in each location. Main topical case-studies include a community Marine Protected Area (MPA) and eco-tourism project, customary tabu-areas and marine tenure arrangements, a Turtle monitoring program, and a large donor-funded, co-managed marine livelihood and resource management project. These varied approaches offer an instructive lens into debates about 'local' and 'extra-local' methodologies of protected area conservation. The differing perspectives held by variously situated actors and organizations regarding what constitutes 'proper' management also provide insights into local-level responses to development and change more widely. Preliminary results highlight the saliency of what's been called the 'shifting baseline syndrome' and the many vexed issues associated with the codification and (re)institutionalization of customary processes. The notion of 'self-reliance' reveals itself to be a powerful local discourse which, like kastom, is a highly reified and mutable concept. Whether it is in support of tabu areas, kastom ekonomi, or something else, the subtle rearticulation of self-reliance through time reflects changing -- external and internal -- social referents.
Bowman, Chelle Elizabeth, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Experimental Collaborations: How Birdsong is Reassembling the Human,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Hirschfeld
Preliminary abstract: This research looks to examine how birdsong is redefining relationships between humans and nonhumans within amateur and expert communities in the United States. Due to technological advances in recent decades, birdsong has become an important, yet controversial object of a broad range of scientific inquiry, in particular as a potential model for human speech acquisition. This shift coincides with evidence from ethological and neurobiological research that has contributed to a changing cognitive profile of birds that challenges primate biases for interspecies comparison. These findings align with knowledge practices in birding communities where birders intimately entangle their lives with birds and their songs, training their ears and bodies to get close to them. Ironically, it is in appreciating and working to understand bodily difference that these two communities have been able to recognize analogous cognitive processes and likenesses between birds and humans, dismantling intelligence hierarchies. This project will investigate innovate comparative practices at two key birdsong labs at the University of Chicago and Cornell University, as well as field practices in vibrant birding communities along the Atlantic and Mississippi migration flyways. How do these communities and their alternative practices offer insight into new ways of relating to and co-existing with other species?
Ratanapruck, Prista, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Merchants, Women, and States: Nepali Trade Diaspora in Indian - Southeast Asian States and Societies,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho
PRISTA RATANAPRUCK, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in June 2004 to aid research on 'Merchants, Women, and States: Nepali Trade Diaspora in Indian - Southeast Asian States and Societies,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho. In the established historiography of transregional trade in Asia, the role of Asian merchants is perceived to have ended since the arrival of European East India Companies. This research project, however, investigates how small Asian peddlers such as Manangis (Nepalis) have continued to operate and remain thriving traders. It explores how today's transnational peddling traders such as Manangis use pre-existing trade relations and social ties to form trade and social networks to negotiate with local states in world capitalist economy. Field research shows that Manangis form strong and enduring social and economic ties both internally within their community and externally between them and local communities abroad. These relationships which range from generation-long friendships and kindship relations through marriages help them reduce protection costs-costs that emerge from conflicting and cooperative relationships with the states, and are often referred to as bribery. Besides relying on these social resources, Manangis also pool together material and financial resources through their religious institution, for redistribution in their society. That is, much of profits from trade are spent on supporting Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and religious events. But before the donations are used for their intended religious purposes, they are temporarily redistributed in the community in the form of loans, often to finance trade and business ventures. In this context, economic activities and the expansion of trade are propelled by the accumulation and redistribution of surplus through religious institutions. The research illustrates how Manangis expand their trade as well as fulfill their social purposes according to what they value. This project shows an alternative way of thinking about the development of capitalistic enterprise, besides the history of Western capitalism and questions assumption about the rise of the West.
Ratanapruck, Prista. 2007. Kinship and Religious Practices as Institutionalization of Trade Networks: Manangi Trade Communities in South and Southeast Asia. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 50(2):325-346
Gardner, William Ralston, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Rise of the Xiongnu: Political Complexity and Community Organization on the Mongolian Steppe,' supervised by Dr. William Honeychurch
Preliminary abstract: For many, nomads of the Eurasian steppe are 'stoic' figures that are the product of a long life lived in isolation, always moving as the natural environment dictates. This popular sentiment is in large part due to a historical understanding of the nomad as a peripheral entity that seems to exist outside socio-political process (Bruun, 2006). This is especially true in examination of the emergence of complex socio-political organization among early pastoral nomadic peoples. Academically, this has resulted in elite oriented 'top-down' models for understanding socio-political organization. I recommend an alternative approach that fully considers political integration along the full spectrum of associations from the community to supra-regional socio-political organization. With this in mind, I raise the question: what does community scale political development look like in its earliest stages among steppe nomads? To address this question, I intend to explore the 'bottom-up' processes at play in the local acceptance, configuration