McCormick, Jared Sherman, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Mobility of Desire: Men, Movement, and Sexuality in Beirut,' supervised by Dr. Steven Caton
JARED S. MCCORMICK, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'The Mobility of Desire: Men, Movement, and Sexuality in Beirut,' supervised by Dr. Steven Caton. Beirut is often thought of as a pilot light of liberalism in the Middle East. As such, it has become the arrival and departure point for many queer men in the region. Men from the Arabian Gulf, diasporic Lebanese, and Syrian migrant workers descend into the context of Beirut, just as Lebanese men grapple with their own sexual subjectivities. This project focuses on these communities who transit through Beirut and how their presence alters the environment in which sexualities are negotiated. Research aims to produce an ethnographic study of how gender is constructed, reassigned, and how these networks of mobile men become constitutive of male sexualities in Lebanon. What unites this inquiry are the ways in which travel, migration, and tourism are as much about imagination as they are about desire -- as much about the negotiations of the 'self' and subjectivities as the crafting of a physical space through which one 'passes.' The relationality of all these men -- touring, migrating, and 'toured' -- speaks not only to how gender/sexuality are in flux, how movements and mobilities are changing in the Middle East, but how imagination becomes instructive in our metaphors of movement.
Buthelezi, Mbongiseni Patrick, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Transnationalizing Southern Africa: Nineteenth Century Displacements and their Oral Artistic Legacies,' supervised by Dr. Hlonipha Mokoena
MBONGISENI BUTHELEZI, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Transnationalizing Southern Africa: Nineteenth Century Displacements and their Oral Artistic Legacies,' supervised by Dr. Hlonipha Mokoena. The Ndwandwe kingdom fell in 1820 after almost three years of hostilities with the Zulu under Shaka. Members of the Ubumbano lwamaZwide Movement consider their ancestors as having been reduced to vagabonds since the fall of the Ndwandwe by a succession of oppressing powers: the Zulu, British colonial, and apartheid rulers. They have been mobilizing since the 1990s in order to use the current South African state's attempts to restore status and land to victims of former systems of domination. Key to the mobilization of the Movement is the efficacy to stir a kind of patriotism of the age-old poetic forms of izibongo (person praises) and izithakazelo (kinship group praises). This project has investigated these genres of oral art to understand what they mean, how and why they mean what they mean to those who use them as greetings in daily life, and as means of reviving and revising precolonial forms of social organizations. Members of the Ubumbano lwamaZwide, family and royal praise poets as well as audiences of praise poets were interviewed over a year in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga during this project. The use of praise poetry to recall a little-memorialized heroic past was found to be widespread.
Saria, Vaibhav, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
VAIBHAV SARIA, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The grantee conducted fieldwork in rural Orissa in the districts of Bhadrak and Kalahandi among the hijras, investigating the various ways in which same-sex intimacy and desire is imagined outside the city, and what were the freedom and restraints offered to this population now labeled as a sexual minority, by the globalizing of categories, narratives and desire through the AIDS International. The grantee collected narratives not only of desire, love, sex, intimacy, seduction, and flirtation to see how actions, aspirations and failures of the hijra are organized, but also collected data related to their work -- which involves, begging, prostitution, dancing and singing -- to see how the relationship between poverty and sexual desire are configured and how the carnality of both gain expression in the hijra body. These questions were studied by conducting fieldwork on different various sites -- a local NGO, mosques, the natal family in which some hijra reside, and in trains and train stations. The grantee participated in religious festivals and accompanied hijras as they performed on the occasions of birth and marriage and also as they were recruited to act in music videos and films. The grantee collected narratives about fields where sexual relations occur for pleasure and money, outside the ordered domains of family and village, and was thus able to systematically investigate the relationship between poverty and sexual desire. Given the agenda of a global program to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has brought anal sex into such scrutiny while also trying to legitimize its existence, this research addresses the contradictions that redraw the erogenous zones of the hijra through the traffic between global categories and locally embedded practices.
Graham, Kirsty Emma, U. of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK - To aid research on 'Gestural Communication of Wild Bonobos (Pan paniscus),' supervised by Dr. Richard Willam Byrne
Preliminary abstract: Studying the gestural communication of wild great apes is invaluable to our understanding of the evolution of human language. My study's main objectives include (1) cataloguing the gestural repertoire of bonobos in their natural habitat; (2) assigning intended meaning as Apparently Satisfactory Outcomes (ASOs) to each gesture type; and (3) analyzing gesture sequences for possible syntactic organization. I will code video of gestural communication from the perspective of both signaler and recipient in order to examine the signal's intended meaning shown by satisfaction with the recipient's response. Gesture sequences will be coded to search for syntactic organization. Fieldwork will take place over a five-month period at Wamba Research Station in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I will collect video data from two neighboring bonobo communities, and code this video data for factors influencing gestural communication, intended meaning, and syntax. No comprehensive examination of bonobo gestural communication has previously been conducted in a wild population; and research on chimpanzees has shown that the full range of gestures are only discovered by study in the wild, compared to short-term captive studies. Given the greater flexibility and richly intentional usage of gestures over vocalizations, the study of great ape gestural communication may provide a more appropriate model for language evolution.
Livni, Eran, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Democracy Without Civil Society? Chalga Music and the Ambivalent Accession of Bulgaria to the European Union,' supervised by Dr. Richard Bauman
ERAN LIVNI, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'Democracy without Civil Society? Chalga Music and the Ambivalent Accession of Bulgaria to the European Union,' supervised by Dr. Richard Bauman. This fieldwork investigated chalga music as a site of ambivalence toward Bulgaria's integration in the political framework of the European Union: democracy that is sustained by pluralist civil society. Chalga is a commercial form that fuses global and Balkan pop musics. The publics constituting chalga's social life are extraordinarily diverse, including people from the margins. However, the emphasis of this music on social and musical heterogeneity does not lead Bulgarians to embrace chalga as a grassroots democratic culture. On the contrary, Bulgarians from all groups discuss chalga's openness as an indication that, in Bulgaria, pluralism leads to balkanization rather than to civil society. The question this research addressed was 'If chalga is construed as crude and antithetic to civil society, why does the genre not only enjoy wide popularity but also offer Bulgarians ways to contest EU democracy?' The fieldwork findings indicate that it is through a Western gaze that Bulgarians apprehend the image of their home landscape -- the Balkans -- as the foil of Europe. That is, the people of the southeastern margins of 'modern civility' are 'backward' and, hence, cannot generate civil society. Thus Bulgarians would disclaim chalga in order to show that they are possessed of the thought and behavior of 'civilized Europe.' In the same breath, however, they would embrace chalga because nothing else could affirm like it did that, as a nation, Bulgarians were not passive subjects of Europe's standards of integration, but rather self-consciously 'backward Balkanites:' inferior but not submissive.
Benson, Peter B., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Family Farming, Migrant Labor and Citizenship in North Carolina Tobacco Country,' supervised by Dr. James L. Watson
PETER B. BENSON, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in November 2004 to aid research on 'Family Farming, Migrant Labor and Citizenship in North Carolina Tobacco Country,' supervised by Dr. James L. Watson. The research phase funded by the Wenner-Gren was the primary phase of doctoral research on tobacco farming and farm labor in North Carolina. The funding supported 12 months (January 2005 to December 2006) of ethnographic fieldwork in Wilson County, which is located one hour east of Raleigh. The project culminated with the dissertation, 'To Not Be Sorry: Citizenship, Moral Life, and Biocapitalism in North Carolina Tobacco Country.' The research focused on how senses of citizenship are challenged and transformed among farm families in North Carolina's tobacco region, given ongoing social processes that have rendered their livelihood economically difficult and ethically suspect. Such processes include the decline of federal subsidies, the public health crisis related to smoking, and the rise of Mexican and Latino migrant farm labor. The research involved extensive archival research at the Wilson County Public Library as well as ethnographic fieldwork with tobacco farmers and farmworkers. In sum, 300 in-depth interviews were conducted, including 50 with migrant farmworkers, 200 with farmers, and 50 with community members and other individuals employed in the local tobacco industry.
Benson, Peter. 2008. Good Clean Tobacco: Philip Morris, Biocapitalism, and the Social Course of Stigma in North Carolina. American Ethnologist 35(3):357-379
Reddy, Malavika, U of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Legal Practice and the Production of Licit Subjects in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. John Kelly
MALAVIKA REDDY, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Legal Practice and the Production of Licit Subjects in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. John Kelly. The research focuses on a recent trend in Thailand for Burmese workers -- people who otherwise occupy a liminal status in that country -- to make claims in the Thai legal system. Conducted through fifteen months of ethnographic observation of legal aid workers and their clients in Mae Sot, Thailand, the research answers three questions: 1) How do foreign workers with marginal status mobilize the law on their behalves? 2) What do these mobilizations suggest about the possibilities of law in an era in which the presence of people with no meaningful legal status is a structuring principle of the nation-state? And 3) As law defines new people and spaces as its object, how does legal practice re-subjectify not only claimants, but also lawyers, activists, and legal aid workers? The study concludes that legal practitioners, from police to claimants and lawyers, are defining a licit jurisdiction -- an authority with which the breadth of both legal and illegal migrant livelihoods in Mae Sot can be adjudicated. Called up by those acting in the name of law, authority in this jurisdiction is nonetheless exercised not according to legal statutes, but by using law and legal procedure as a foil or context to practice.
Freiburger, Nathaniel, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Cultures of Engineering & the Engineering of Politics:The Making of Lithium as an Object of Techno-scientific Knowledge & Politics in Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
NATHANIEL FREIBURGER, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Cultures of Engineering and the Engineering of Politics: The Making of Lithium as an Object of Techno-Scientific Knowledge and Politics in Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena. The research consisted of fieldwork directed towards investigating the relationship between lithium production in Uyuni, Bolivia, and the politics of 'plurinationalism' within the allegedly post-neoliberal and post-socialist state of Bolivia. Initial research questions concerned two objects, lithium and the plurinational state, and their respective projects aimed at developing them. The fieldwork aimed at following how the entanglements of practices of various agents involved in these 'projects' produce spatial effects, through the materiality of infrastructural development inside and outside the department of Potosí, and how those effects intersect with controversies surrounding the 'plurinational' state. This question guided data collection in the region of Uyuni, which contains the 12,000km-sq Salar de Uyuni --the reservoir of over fifty percent of the world's usable lithium.
Wheeler, Brandon C., State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Alarm Calling Behavior of Tufted Capuchin Monkeys at Iguazu National Park, Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Andreas Koenig
BRANDON C. WHEELER, then a student at State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Alarm Calling Behavior of Tufted Capuchin Monkeys at Iguazu national Park, Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Andreas Koenig. Alarm calls (i.e. vocalizations produced when predators are detected) are of interest for several reasons. First, alarm calling appears to be altruistic and benefits for the caller are not immediately obvious. Second, alarms of some Old World monkeys have been argued to be semantic signals similar to human words. Third, learning is thought to play a role in the development of alarm-call use and response in one species of Old World monkey. Finally, alarms can be used in a 'deceptive' manner to access food that other individuals have monopolized. The goal of this study was to test hypotheses related to these aspects of alarm calling in a New World primate, the tufted capuchin monkey (Cebus apella). Behavioral observations and field experiments were conducted over 19 months in Iguazú National Park, Argentina. Experiments involved: 1) predator models used to mimic natural predator detections; 2) playbacks of recordings of capuchin alarms; and 3) feeding platforms used to manipulate the amount and distribution of a high value resource. Analyses of the data are ongoing and are expected to be completed in October 2007. However, it is clear that the data collected will allow the original goals of the project to be met.
Wheeler, Brandon C., and K. Hammerschmidt. 2013. Proximate Factors Underpinning Receiver Responses to Deceptive False Alarm Call in the Wild Tufted Capuchin Monkeys: Is It Counterdeception? American Journal of Primatology 75(7):715-725
Wheeler, Brandon C. 2010. Production and perception of situationally variable alarm calls in wild tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus paella nigritus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 64: 989-1000.
Wheeler, Brandon C. 2010. Decrease in Alarm Call Response Among Tufted Capuchins in Competitive Feeding Contexts: Possible Evidence for Counterdecption. International Journal of Primatology 31: 665-675.
Wheeler, Brandon C. 2009. Monkeys Crying Wolf? Tufted Capuchin Monkeys Use Anti-Predator Calls to Usurp Resources from Conspecifics. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences 276:3013-3018.
Wheeler, Brandon. 2008. Selfish or Altruistic? An Analysis of Alarm Call Function in Wild Capuchin Monkeys, Cebus paella nigritus. Animal Behavior 76:1465-1475.
Koga, Yukiko, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Modernity and Urban Space in the Cities of Manchuria,' supervised by Dr. Marilyn J. Ivy
YUKIKO KOGA, while a student at Columbia University in New York, New York, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on modernity and urban space in the cities of Manchuria, under the supervision of Dr. Marilyn J. Ivy. This research into China's post-coloniality and Japan's post-imperiality-erased or silenced during the countries' respective postwar eras-took place in Harbin, Changchun, and Dalian, three major cities in northeast China, as well as in Japan, the former metropole of 'Manchukuo.' In each city, Koga examined the aftereffects of colonial modernity in the construction of post-1945 China and Japan. The focus of the research in Harbin was the intricate play between memories of the colonial past and those of the Cultural Revolution, both of which were triggered by the (re)presentation of colonial-era structures through a recent government decision to renovate and protect them. The main findings in Changchun concerned the ways in which local Chinese and Japanese visitors experienced and interpreted the architectural remainders of 'Manchukuo'-specifically, Japanese visitors' reactions to their encounters with these historical artifacts, Chinese locals' views of them, and the content of history education at schools in Changchun. The research in Dalian highlighted the Chinese and Japanese encounter in the present as a result of their deepening economic relations in a city where 60 percent of foreign investment is Japanese. What it meant to work for Japanese corporations in a city that had once experienced Japanese occupation was explored through interviews, in conjunction with an examination of how the Dalian city government located and presented the presence of the Japanese within the image and future of the city.