Gupta, Hemangini, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'After-Work: Class, Gender and Public Culture in Neoliberal Bangalore, India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Freeman
HEMANGINI GUPTA, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'After-Work: Class, Gender and Public Culture in Neoliberal Bangalore, India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Freeman. This project examines how the turn to neoliberal market privatization is produced and shaped by local understandings of class and gender in India. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted for fifteen months in Bangalore, India's 'Information Technology' capital, now an emergent center of flexible start-up businesses. Drawing from participant-observation and in-depth interviews at diverse sites of the new economy, and immersive fieldwork at a particular entrepreneurial site, this project shows how widespread neoliberal approaches to global business premised on notions of risk and flexibility are interpreted and experienced through everyday understandings of gender, class, and caste. The project traces how professionalizing women embody and creatively employ neoliberal approaches to labor by drawing on an analysis of their labor practices, urban circulation, and after-work lives. While middle-class women in India have typically marked their class belonging by remaining in the domestic sphere, the country's turn to neoliberal market privatization in the 1990s produced a large new middle class of professionals. The project shows how employment in the new entrepreneurial economy infuses a spirit of neoliberal risk-taking into everyday life-across labor and leisure-challenging what it has historically meant to be a middle-class woman in India. In turn local and shifting understandings of class and gender norms in this postcolonial context offer an understanding of neoliberalism very different from the advanced economies in which it has typically been analyzed.
Rodriguez, Juan Luis, Southern Illinois U., Carbondale, IL - To aid research on 'Rhetorical Strategies and Gift Circulation in the Politics of The Orinoco Delta, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan David Hill
JUAN LUIS RODRIGUEZ, then a student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Rhetorical Strategies and Gift Circulation in the Politics of the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan D. Hill. This study analyses political discursive strategies and gift circulation in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela. This is a semiotic and discourse-centered study on how the Warao indigenous population interacts with political representatives from the Venezuelan government. This study is based on a yearlong fieldwork focusing on political speeches and observing how political gifts are circulated. Research focused on public political events in which politicians, governmental representatives, and communal council's members perform public political discourses. During this year, the grantee followed the constitutional referendum of December 2007 and the organization of the 2008 regional election in the Orinoco Delta, as well as the development of the Morichito communal council in the Lower Delta. This helped in evaluating how gift circulation and political discourse intersect as semiotic strategies. The purpose of this research is to further advance the discourse-centered approaches to cultures developed in South America by addressing the ways in which discursive sign vehicles interact with other semiotic forms, especially political gifts. This type of analysis is central to understand recent political processes occurring among the Warao, as well as the general political climate of Venezuela since 1998 (the rising of President Hugo Chavez Frias).
Weigler, Elizabeth A., U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'The Lives We Tell: Sikh Identity and Collective Memories of the Great War in Britain,' supervised by Dr. Mary Hancock
Preliminary abstract: 2014 marked the beginning of the four-year World War One Centenary. To commemorate, Great Britain has planned a wide variety of remembrance projects, which have served as catalysts for collective reassertions of British identity. Over 500 of these commemorative projects have been proposed by independent religiously- and ethnically-grounded organizations; the government has solicited and funded their participation with the aim of representing minority perspectives in the master narrative of the Great War in Britain. My research focuses on one such organization--a Sikh heritage group who represents one of Britain's largest ethnoreligious minority communities and has received significant support in soliciting 'new histories' from community members. The investigation will follow the experiences of Sikh volunteers as they are recruited by the organization, create and refine their historical narratives, and subsequently reengage with their familial histories via synthesized materials such as coffee table books and exhibits. In this new space, the assumptions, motivations, and perceptions of participating Sikh individuals come into explicit dialogue with wider public discourses of British colonial history, its legacies, and their current status as British citizens and South Asian ethnoreligious subjects. This research explores the salience of a Sikh-specific historical consciousness--an individual's relationship with and use of the past--in the construction and maintenance of diasporic identities. Findings will address unanswered questions about diasporic identity maintenance and expression; individual agency, generational transmission, and the negotiation of authority in collective memorial processes; and methodologies for collaboration in the field of public history.
Bond, David W., New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Hydrocarbon Frontiers: Experts and the Social Life of Facts at a Caribbean Refinery,' supervised by Dr. Ann Laura Stoler
DAVID BOND, then a student at New School for Social Research, New York, New York, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Hydrocarbon Frontiers: Experts and the Social Life of Facts at a Caribbean Refinery,' supervised by Dr. Ann Stoler. This project is an ethnographic analysis of the composition of hydrocarbons and the environment at the HOVENSA refinery in the US Virgin Islands. Taking the substance of oil as an ethnographic question, this research documents the making (and unmaking) of what counts as crude oil in practices and policies of environmental protection. As one of the most technologically sophisticated systems, HOVENSA is a strategic site for observing the role of experts in fabricating new forms of hydrocarbon facts and the political effects of such a process. This research pushes the anthropology of fact production into a critical engagement with the political economy of facts.
Haanstad, Eric J., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
ERIC J. HAANSTAD, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Research pursued an ethnographic examination of the Thai police. To provide historical contextualization for the project, the grantee used archival sources to gather police histories, Thai-language works on police-related topics, and interviews with retired Thai police officers. This portion of the research is expected to result in the flrst extensive English language history of the Thai police. Using an 'incident-based' methodology, fieldwork focused on three major police social-order campaigns: a three-month drug suppression campaign, a three-month 'War on Dark Influence,' and the massive security preparations for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Bangkok. These campaigns culminated in a national public spectacle in December declaring a 'drug- free Thailand.' Ethnographic data was drawn from a wide variety of sources including more than a hundred interviews (with Thai police officers, DEA agents, taxi drivers, hospital administrators and the director of the Thai Forensic Science Institute); Thai TV news coverage of coundess police raids; anti-drug music recordings of classically-trained police singers; and issues of 'Top Cop' magazines with glossy centerfolds of SWAT teams and automatic weaponry. Using this data, research shows how social control is part of a local cultural-historical context and how the police are key performers/ symbols in the construction of order by the state.
Fiske, Amelia Morel, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'The Making of Harm in the Ecuadorian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Wiener
AMELIA M. FISKE, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Making of Harm in the Ecuadorian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Wiener. In 1972, the U.S.-based Texaco Corporation began oil production in the upper Ecuadorian Amazon. For 20 years, the company extracted oil unhindered by regulations designed to protect the health of oil workers or the environment, resulting in widespread environmental destruction and human suffering. The resulting contamination and relationship between oil and health have been widely disputed in the 18-year Aguinda v. Texaco lawsuit, as well as in ongoing conflicts around oil. Since Texaco, oil production has expanded with operations by the state company PetroEcuador, as well as dozens of foreign companies. Harm from oil, in the forms of contaminated water, toxic gas emissions, continual oil spills, health problems, and social division, remains a pressing concern for people in the Amazon today. This project follows contemporary interventions into the question of harm, paying attention to how harm is defined and formed by practices of measurement, documentation, and presentation. This project makes 'harm' the subject of an ethnographic investigation in order to raise questions about the consequences of extractive activity, and how these forms of evaluation may themselves be changing the way life is lived in the Amazon today.
Bogart, Stephanie Lynn, Iowa State U., Ames, IA - To aid research on 'Insectivory and Savanna Apes: Tool Use and Diet of Fongoli Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. Jill Daphne Pruetz
STEPHANIE LYNN BOGART, then a student at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Insectivory and Savanna Apes: Tool Use and Diet of Fongoli Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. Jill Daphne Pruetz. This research examined the ecology and behavior of Fongoli chimpanzees in southeastern Senegal from August 2006 to August 2008. Ecological data are essential to gain knowledge of the types of habitat at Fongoli, the availability of food resources, and the underlying ecological context of tool use and foraging. Fongoli is a mosaic habitat composed of grassland (47%), plateau (21%), woodland (16%), bamboo (10%), field (4%), forest ecotone (1%), and gallery forest (<1%) with a total rainfall of 674mm during this study. The only closed habitats available for chimpanzees within their 63km2 range are forest ecotone and gallery forest. Feeding trees are denser in these closed habitats; however, the Fongoli chimpanzees do not seem to lack fruit resources. Fongoli does not contain colobus monkeys, known to be the major prey species at other chimpanzee sites. The Fongoli chimpanzees consume termites all year, which is uncommon. This study explores the insectivorous diet and its potential as a nutritive resource for the Fongoli chimpanzees. Approximately 900 hours of behavioral data were collected in conjunction with 15 hours of video. Data obtained from observations and ecology will provide a qualitative and quantitative understanding of Fongoli's environment and its impact on the chimpanzees.
Bogart, Stephanie L., and Jill D. Pruetz. 2011. Insectivory of Savanna Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Fongoli, Senegal. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 145(1):11-20.
Bogart, S.L., J.D. Preutz, L.K. Ormiston, J.L. Russell, A. Meguerditchian, and W.D. Hopkins. 2012. Termite Fishing Laterality in the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus): Further Evidence of a Left Hand Preference. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 149(4):591-598.
Kessler, Chloe A., George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Waste-to-Energy: Toxicity and Historicity in South Baltimore City,' supervised by Dr. Joel C. Kuipers
Preliminary abstract: South Baltimore City has been a site of national sacrifice since the 1800s, from quarantining lepers during immigration's 'great wave' to supporting nuclear deterrence with its Cold War chemical holdings. Today, it is the planned site of the nation's largest incinerator. While politicians support the project as an 'acceptable risk' on the path toward energy independence, residents respond in protest. Drawing on themes of toxicity (the biochemical effects of prolonged exposure) and historicity (cycles of suffering imposed by government programs), they fight ideologies of sacrifice by invoking their cumulative effects. Beginning with the fight against the incinerator, my project interrogates the effects of prolonged environmental harm and the modes of historical consciousness that inform collective action, by (1) tracing histories of risk management in south Baltimore, (2) exploring this history's reappropriation today, and (3) analyzing how residents portray the incinerator's construction as a morally punctuated event. In the process, my research transcends the single-issue focus characterizing the anthropology of risk by attending to multiple modes of risk management, adds to work on eventfulness by contributing the concept of 'moral punctuation,' and builds on studies of citizenship by positioning 'sacrifice' as a metaphor for the reciprocal bond between citizens and states.
Maddux, Scott David, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Assessing the Reliability of Infraorbital Variables in Phylogenetic Analyses of Later Homo,' supervised by Dr. Robert Gary Franciscus
SCOTT DAVID MADDUX, then a student at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Assessing the Reliability of Infraorbital Variables in Phylogenetic Analyses of Later Homo,' supervised by Dr. Robert Gary Franciscus. Infraorbital morphology is commonly included in discussions of phylogenetic relationships within Homo, factoring prominently in debates regarding the evolutionary distinctiveness of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis, and cited as a key diagnostic feature of the controversial taxon H. antecessor. However, methodological limitations in assessing infraorbital morphology have resulted in debate regarding the reliability of infraorbital characters in phylogenetic analyses. Consequently, there is currently a need to accurately quantify infraorbital morphology to permit detailed phylogenetic evaluation. Critical to this evaluation is the need to identify possible character intercorrelation and allometric scaling, as these factors are known to substantially reduce phylogenetic utility. This research provides accurate quantification of commonly cited infraorbital features (i.e., infraorbital surface topography, infraorbital orientation and zygomaticoalveolar crest curvature) in a large sample of Pleistocene (n=167) and Holocene (n=357) Homo, through the use of geometric morphometric methodologies specifically designed to quantify complex curvilinear anatomical structures. Preliminary results indicate statistically significant intercorrelations amongst infraorbital characters, and between these characters and facial size. These results indicate the infraorbital region is likely an integrated complex, whose morphology is, to some degree, influenced by overall facial size. Consequently, the use of these infraorbital features as independent phylogenetic traits is discouraged.
Lamont, Mark, A.S., U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Demographic Transition and Crisis in the Age-Class and Generational System of the Meru, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Charles Jedrej
MARK A. S. LAMONT, while a student at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on demographic transition and crisis in the age-class and generational system of the Meru people in Kenya, under the supervision of Dr. Charles Jedrej. Conducting fieldwork among the Tigania Meru of northeastern highland Kenya, Lamont investigated a generational system in transition. He placed particular emphasis on contemporary and past crises in age-class formation. Critical to the research was the theoretical observation that 'family planning' and 'politics' were integral to such social systems, and Lamont explored the possibility that the erosion of indigenous polities such as that of the Tigania Meru had provoked Kenya's spectacular population growth since the mid-1940s. He questioned how age classes remained viable in the context of contemporary state politics and found that in key political and social arenas, the Tigania maintained their capacity to organize power relations through age-class formation, although each generation responded to the system's internal crises through innovations specific to its own historicity. Lamont's work suggested that such systems respond to and augment demographic processes, although their political basis may be undermined by the state, mainly through the implementation of policies that encourage the emergence of family systems conforming to the needs of agrarian capitalism.