Halverson, Colin Michael Egenberger, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Asymmetrical Meaning in Patient--Provider Interaction,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
Preliminary abstract: This linguistic anthropological study will investigate how patients and medical experts work together in the process of healthcare decision-making. Current standards in American bioethics put patient understanding at the heart of the practice. Recent studies have also suggested that the success of a medical intervention hinges on the patient's comprehension of his or her role in continuing treatment. However, significant differences in the education and background of patients and experts complicate attempts at realizing these ideals. Yet both parties have much at stake -- financially, medically, and professionally -- in the success of these interactions. Professional encounters are thus sites of communication in which the incomplete sharedness of meaning must be recognized, ameliorated, and lived with. I will work with doctors, patients, and other specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in order to investigate this tension. By focusing on the asymmetry of meaning, I will examine implications for the medical ideal of an 'informed and autonomous' patient. I will also expand classical theories of meaning and communication that emphasize the ways in which presumptions of shared knowledge succeed while downplaying the social and medical implications of the inherent incompleteness of such processes.
Zia, Ather, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal
ATHER ZIA, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal. Since 1989 Kashmir has been engulfed in an anti-India armed militancy. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men have disappeared in the Indian counter-insurgency actions. Kashmiri women have assumed the task of caring for families in the absence of men. They have organized to search for those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance after being arrested by the Indian army. The research explores why some Kashmiri women become activists, what factors sustain their political struggle, and how their work as women redefines notions of activism, and public engagement in a primarily Islamic social context. The resulting dissertation focuses on understanding the questions of agency, affect, ethics, and emotion, memorialization, and mourning, in this kin-based activism.
Macias, Marisa Elena, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Functional Integration of the Hominin Forelimb,' supervised by Dr. Steven E. Churchill
Preliminary abstract: Over the last six million years of hominin evolution, humans transitioned from a tree-dwelling arboreal lifestyle to a bipedal, terrestrial one. As such, the forelimb transformed from a climbing and suspensory apparatus to a tool-making and tool-using one. The exact nature and timing of this transition, however, remains unclear. Australopithecus predates the genus Homo by at least two million years; whether suspensory and climbing behavior were also important remains unclear due to conflicting interpretations of the biomechanical and behavioral significance of isolated aspects of forelimb anatomy. My study evaluates the degree to which three species of Australopithecus have a forelimb organized for climbing and suspension. This will allow an evaluation of the role of arboreal locomotion during the transition to bipedalism. The results will enhance our ability to discriminate among various adaptive scenarios. This project includes a novel modeling approach that views the forelimb as a functionally integrated structure and is explicit in viewing isolated aspects of anatomy as contributing to the function of the entire forelimb during locomotion. The aims are 1) to explore relationships among phylogeny, body size across primates, 2) to evaluate muscular leverage, habitual range of motion, and capability for transmission of loads, and 3) test hypotheses of Australopith forelimb functional organization. Geometric morphometrics and biomechanical modeling are used to evaluate the predictions for humans, apes, suspensory monkeys, and quadrupedal monkeys, as well as to analyze Australopithecus afarensis, africanus, sediba, and Homo erectus.
Brinkworth, Jessica F., City U. of New York - Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Evolution of the Human Immune System: Landscape Specific Pathogen Exposure and Human AIDS,' supervised by Dr. Ekaterina Pechenkina
JESSICA F. BRINKWORTH, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'The Evolution of the Human Immune System: Landscape Specific Pathogen Exposure and Human AIDS,' supervised by Dr. Ekaterina Pechenkina. To better understand human origins and the evolution of the human immunity this study examined the role of pathogens, encountered as hominin landscape use and diet departed from apes, in the evolution of human lineage. Specifically this project examines the functional divergence of innate immune cell receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), to explain the disparate immune responses of humans and other catarrhines to infectious pathogens, including immunodeficiency viruses. Through whole blood ex vivo experiments, this study assessed differences in human, chimpanzee, and baboon TLR2-mediated response to pathogens specific to hominin evolutionary environments. Preliminary results indicate that human immune function has strongly diverged from chimpanzees and baboons over the last 23-29 million years. Despite sharing a 98.6% genomic identity with chimpanzees, humans show dampened immune responses to all tested pathogens. Humans and baboons express very different innate immune responses to TLR2-detected pathogens with which they are assumed to share a long history on African grasslands. Analysis is ongoing, but suggests that: 1) human, chimpanzee, and baboon TLR function has diverged; and 2) the divergence of human innate immunity cannot be explained solely on the basis of geographical environment and pathogen exposure, but may be the outcome of more complex evolutionary interactions.
Brinkworth, Jessica. 2012. Innate Immune Responses to TLRS and TLR4 Agonists Differ between Baboons, Chimpanzees and Humans. Journal of Medical Primatology 41(6): 388-393.
Rendle, Katharine Alice Sheets, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Uncertainty: Risk, Responsibility, and the Unsettled Facts of the HPV Vaccine,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts
KATHERINE A.S. RENDLE, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Negotiating Uncertainty: Risk, Responsibility, and the Unsettled Facts of the HPV Vaccine,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts. Using the promotion and uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a lens, this dissertation project explored how temporality and risk are at work in everyday life. Drawing from ethnographic field research in the San Francisco Bay Area, it explored how different actors including parents and health professionals in the United States are defining the 'right time' for children to be vaccinated. At the core of these temporal debates are contested claims over when -- and through what specific encounters -- the individual body becomes at risk for HPV exposure. In order to identify a target age for HPV vaccination, medical guidelines translate this individual moment into a collective moment. However, for many of the parents interviewed, the right time to vaccinate is perceived to be much later than the recommended age. To defend their desire to delay vaccination, parents often invoke claims to experiential evidence validated by a sense of knowing their child and his or her sexual and emotional development. Entangled within these claims are temporal assessments of risk, whereby parents weigh their child's (perceived) present risk of HPV exposure against the unknown risks of the vaccine itself.
Gibbings, Sheri Lynn, U. of Toronto, ON, Canada - To aid research on 'Building a Street, Building a Nation: Architecture, Urban Space, and National Belonging on Malioboro Street in Yogyakarta, Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Tania Murray Li
SHERI GIBBINGS, then a student at University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, received funding in October 2006 to investigate 'Building a Street, Building a Nation: Architecture, Urban Space and National Belonging on Malioboro Street in Yogyakarta, Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Tania Li. This research examines street vendors and their relationship to the state in three sites of conflict, which are differently invested with meaning. Research activities included participant observation, interviews, and archival research among street vendors, their organizations, as well with government officials. Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out for sixteen months between 2006 and 2008. Findings reveal that the street vendors, on one hand, stand for failed modernity but on the other hand, they comment upon and critique the fantasy of modernity and development that pervades city planning. Street vendors have also become increasingly a site of government concern, which has made them the object of an increasing number of projects to control, discipline, and monitor their activities. Findings indicate that street vendors are involved in a larger set of contestations: political battles over urban planning; debates over modernity; and the struggle to solidify budding radical politics.
Weichselbraun, Anna Maria, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Regulating the Nuclear: The Textual Production of Technical Independence at the International Atomic Energy Agency,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Maco
Preliminary abstract: The proposed study is an ethnography of the communicative practices through which civil servants at the International Atomic Energy Agency seek to establish and maintain the organization's legitimacy as the sole arbiter in the regulation of global nuclear technology. This project asks how, against accusations of politicization and regulatory capture, various actors at the Agency work to display and communicate 'technical independence'--the unbiased technical competence and legal judgment by which the IAEA's missions can be made globally acceptable--to a vast international audience. The results of this study aim to expand anthropological knowledge in four domains: (1) the study of bureaucracy and documents, (2) historical and social scientific studies of knowledge and expertise, (3) analyses of legal and political language, and (4) understandings of a changing nuclear age. This project's careful attention to language as embedded in a range of other semiotic (sign) systems can offer a novel perspective on how the nuclear order with its laws and knowledge is constituted and contested. The research is based on 14 months of participant-observation, interviews, and archival work at the public information, legal, and training divisions of the IAEA and will be completed by rigorous linguistic anthropological analyses of the actors' interactional, ritual, and documentary practices.
Lameira, Adriano Reis, U. of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands - To aid research on 'Cultural and Non-Cultural Variation in Acoustic Repertoire and Referential Knowledge in Wild Orangutans,' supervised by Dr. Elisabeth Sterck
ADRIANO REIS LAMEIRA, then a student at University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Cultural and Non-Cultural Variation in Acoustic Repertoire and Referential Knowledge in Wild Orangutans,' supervised by Dr. Elisabeth Sterck. The evolutionary puzzle of human language has fascinated scientists for centuries. Where variation between languages, dialects, accents, is an important part of human culture, there is little information on the variation between populations in the acoustic repertoire of our closest relatives. Such research could potentially clarify whether these variations in human speech are unique to our evolutionary lineage, or whether they differ solely in a matter of degree from our closest relatives (thus that they likely derive from, albeit less complex, similar ape traits). Extensive audio recordings and descriptions of the acoustic repertoire of wild orangutans were collected at four different populations (two in Sumatra, two in Borneo; the last two islands in the world inhabited by the red ape). Results indicate that some forms of geographic variation in orangutan acoustic repertoire are linguistically comparable to dialects. In addition, this variation between populations does not correspond to orangutan (sub) species or habitat differences, which could otherwise explain its emergence. Hence, in accordance with other theoretical and empirical evidence, orangutan dialects may, at least in some measure, emerge in function of social factors, as it happens in humans. Thus, some speech traits seem to be rooted in ape acoustic repertoire.
Lameira, Adriano, M.E. Hardus, B. Kowalsky, et al. 2013. Orangutan (Pongo spp.) whistling and implications for the emergence of an open-ended call repertoire: A replication and extension. Acoustical Society of America 134(3):2326-2335.
Lameira, Adriano, M.E. Hardus, K.J.J.M. Nouwen, et al. 2013. Population-Specific Use of the Same Tool-Assisted Alarm call between Two Wild Orangutan Populations (Pongopygmaeus wurmbii) Indicates Functional Arbitrariness. PLOS ONE 8(7):1-7.
Lameira, Adriano. 2010. Review of Geographic Variation in Terrestrial Mammalian Acoustic Signals: Human Speech Variation in the Comparative Perspective. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 8 (4) 309-332.
Bauder, Jennifer Marie, Binghamton U., Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Porous Skull Lesions in the Prehistoric Illinois River Valley: Diagnosis and Implications,' supervised by Dr. Dawnie Wolfe Steadman
JENNIFER M. BAUDER, then a student at Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Porous Skull Lesions in the Prehistoric Illinois River Valley: Diagnosis and Implications,' supervised by Dr. Dawnie W. Steadman. The funded project is a paleopathological study of non-specific porous lesions of the skull in skeletal samples representing prehistoric populations from two subregions of the Illinois River Valley. The samples derive from cultural phases that span the transition in subsistence patterns from hunting and gathering to intensive maize agriculture. The project has four main goals: 1) document the presence of porous skull lesions in these populations; 2) assess a differential diagnosis of anemia and scurvy using a combination of macroscopic examination of lesion appearance and patterning and two radiographic techniques (x-ray and CT scan); 3) determine if a proposed association between two likely etiologies of porous skull lesions -- anemia and scurvy -- is justified in skeletal samples by quantifying the co-occurrence of the diseases; and 4) examine the effects of the agricultural transition on survivorship experiences with anemia and scurvy. To achieve these goals nearly 3300 individuals were examined from skeletal collections curated in New York (Binghamton University), Pennsylvania (The Pennsylvania State University), Illinois (Illinois State Museum and Dickson Mounds Museum) and Indiana (Indiana University). Results are still forthcoming but preliminary analyses show the presence of both anemia and scurvy in many of the prehistoric samples studied and demonstrate the value of radiography in diagnosing bone lesions.
Peters, Alicia Wood, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Interpretation, Mediation, and Implementation of U.S. Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy: Women, NGOs, and the State,' supervised by Dr. Carole Susan Vance
ALICIA W. PETERS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in November 2006 to aid research on 'Interpretation, Mediation and Implementation of U.S. Anti-trafficking Law and Policy: Women, NGOs and the State,' supervised by Dr. Carole S. Vance. The project is an ethnographic study of the implementation of U.S. anti-trafficking policy in the New York metropolitan area. This study uses ethnographic methods to analyze the implementation of anti-trafficking law and policy on the ground, utilizing multi-sited methods and recognizing that state policy is enacted by a variety of officials with diverse interpretive systems about sexuality, gender, and national purity. Specifically, this study focuses on the diverse meanings and implications of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and its reauthorizations by exploring a series of simultaneous narratives and discourses on trafficking: the official and dominant discourse produced via federal law, policy, reports, and speeches; the interpretations of federal and local officials; the experiential narratives of trafficked persons; and the accounts produced by NGOs serving as interpreters, advocates, liaisons, and mediators between trafficked persons and the state. The primary methods employed in the research were participant observation at an NGO providing services to victims of trafficking; in-depth interviews with service providers, law enforcement and government officials, and survivors of trafficking; and archival and policy analysis of legislative action, speeches, and reports related to trafficking.