Dowdy, Sean Michael, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'How 'Strangers' Account: Cosmoeconomics in Contemporary Assam, India,' supervised by Dr. John D. Kelly
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates how, why, and in what ways emergent relations of 'strangerhood' and the forces mobilized in coincidence with them have become sources of prosperity in Assam--a state in India's northeastern periphery beleaguered by violence associated with ethnic personhood. Following recent descriptions of Assam's political and economic turbulence as 'durable disorder,' this project asks how resilient misfortune might also elicit counteragents of fortune. To explore this question ethnographically, this project sets out to describe and analyze Assam's 'parallel economy,' a local theory of the informal economy where economic dynamics are (1) marked by relations between strangers, and (2) driven by impersonal forces of prosperity (e.g. life-giving power, good fortune, deferential honor). Adopting a heuristic of 'cosmoeconomics,' this project investigates how such relations and forces are accessed, accounted for, and mobilized toward new cosmological horizons. Focusing on trans-ethnic events of exchange and value-creation, and how accounts of them are reckoned, this project seeks to open up the study of India's Northeast beyond the politics of ethnic personhood. Doing so, it also seeks to theorize the causal, logical, and conditional relationships between cosmology and economic life, especially by attending to how accounting repertoires might attune microcosmic parts with macrocosmic wholes.
Tilche, Alice, U. of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Broken Frames? Adivasi Museums, Representation and Marginality in Contemporary India,' supervised by Dr. Edward Simpson
ALICE TILCHE, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Broken Frames? Adivasi Museums, Representation and Marginality in Contemporary India,' supervised by Dr. Edward Simpson. This research focused on Adivasis' ('Tribal') struggle for identity and recognition in contemporary India. It particularly examined the development of an Adivasi Museum of Voice in rural Gujarat, and its role in transforming historically rooted forms of marginalization. Adivasi identity emerged as extremely fragmented, at the core of contested projects of modernity, development, and nation building. Interrelated processes of dispossession, resistance to extractive industries, and enrollment within a 'Hindu Nation' were turning Adivasi areas into sites of intensifying conflict and political concern. In this context, the Museum of Voice aimed to generate an Adivasi counter-culture as a tool to redefine terms of inclusion. While young Adivasis were its curators, the museum was also centered within wider transnational networks of trade, social movements, and indigenous people. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork as participant and collaborator within this nexus, the research accounted for the daily work of cultural/political negotiation, and the complex dilemmas of representations involved in museum work. It examined how, while building something new, Adivasis continuously contended with the objectification of others as 'exotic Tribals,' as well as with 'internal' hierarchies and diverse aspiration for change within the community. In this last aspect, the research considered the creation of this new cultural space as a moment of contestation, where different projects of 'modernity' came together.
Janzen, Anneke, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Mobility and Herd Management among Early Pastoralists in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Diane Gifford-Gonzalez
Preliminary abstract: African pastoralism is unique in that it developed earlier than farming, and spread throughout the continent, appearing in East Africa around 3000 years ago and continuing to adapt to changes in the social and ecological landscape until the present. The proposed project examines mobility and herd management strategies of early pastoralists in East Africa. Stable isotope analysis of carbon, oxygen, and strontium, will provide detailed information about seasonal movements across the landscape as well as livestock exchange. Herd demographic profiles will also lend insight into the economic strategies employed by herders. This collections-based project will include nine archaeological sites, representing both fully pastoral and mixed economies. Pastoralism was not adopted uniformly across East Africa, and foraging populations coexisted with herders over the last three millennia. Sites with both domestic and wild animals hint at interactions between food producers and foragers, and this project aims to examine those social interactions in more detail.
Nayar, Anita, U. of Sussex, Brighton, UK - To aid research on 'The Social and Ecological Consequences of the Commercialization of Ayurveda, India's Foremost Indigenous Plant-Based Medicine,' supervised by Dr. James R. Fairhead
ANITA NAYAR, then a student at the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on 'The Social and Ecological Consequences of the Commercialization of Ayurveda, India's Foremost Indigenous Plant-Based Medicine,' supervised by Dr. James R. Fairhead. This research explored the subject as a process shaped by the momentum of growing consumer demand from within India and emerging markets in North America, the Gulf States, and Europe. Emphasis was given to the implications of these changing consumption patterns and related production process for the herb-gathering communities and the natural resource base upon which this transnational market economy depends. Specifically what is the impact of these processes on the social structure and political economy of herb-gathering communities? What are the implications for their access, control, and conservation of forest resources and related knowledge systems? How has it affected people's changing conceptualization of medicinal plants and their relation to them? These questions framed an anthropological study in several herb-gathering communities, the majority of which were adivasi (indigenous peoples), residing in or near the forest. The researcher accompanied adivasis during their forest work, walking from four to ten kilometers a day trekking through thorny forest, climbing hillsides, searching and digging for medicinal plants, helping them collect and sell their goods. The trade routes of several 'middlemen' traders were also studied, which involved travelling with the traded goods, following transactions at storage and transport depots, and tracing the various buyers involved. After 16 months of fieldwork the researcher emerged with an understanding of the political economy of medicinal plants, particularly how structural and systemic inequalities around the labor and knowledge of medicinal plant collectors have evolved and are being reproduced by state and private forces.
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.
Sood, Anubha, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Women's Help-Seeking Pathways: Global Policy, the State and Mental Health Practices in India,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca J. Lester
ANUBHA SOOD, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Women's Help-Seeking Pathways: Global Policy, the State and Mental Health Practices in India,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca J. Lester. This research project investigated the help-seeking pathways of women experiencing mental distress in urban North India. In India's medically plural landscape (which includes myriad treatment options), mystical-spiritual healing practices based on ideas of supernatural affliction are believed to hold special expertise for treating mental disorders, and are especially popular among women. However, the Indian state endorses biomedical psychiatry, a less commonly sought option among women, as the only legitimate mental health system for the country and denounces magico-religious healing as superstitious and inimical to the women seeking such treatment. The study investigated what distinct appeal these two systems of mental health care held for women and what might women's engagements with these systems reveal about how state discourses shape women's health concerns. The research was conducted among women, their families and the psychiatrists/healers in a public health psychiatric facility in Delhi and a popular Hindu healing temple in the neighboring state of Rajasthan. The two field settings were carefully chosen based on an overlapping population of attendees similar in socio-demographic and socioeconomic profile visiting the two sites. The project was carried out over the period of July-December 2009 and involved participant observation and person-centered interviewing, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing as the primary methods of research.
Hein, Emily Carter, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Out of the Archive: Coptic Language Ideologies in Berlin, Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
EMILY JANE HEIN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Out of the Archive: Coptic Language Ideologies in Berlin, Germany,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. This project examined the role of the sacred language of Coptic in creating an imagined community for Copts in Berlin, Germany. It explored ideas about Coptic and its relationship to social phenomena (known as language ideologies) as they emerge in textual practices between the Coptic Orthodox Christian community and the academic Coptology community in Germany. Using the techniques of participant observation, interviews, and recording spontaneous conversation, the grantee focused on the three sites where these communities are becoming interconnected: the church, the university, and the monastery. Research findings indicate that it is the act of speaking in structured ways -- independent of particular codes such as Coptic -- that is a defining element of imagined community for Copts in the diaspora. This focus on the pragmatics of language may undermine projects of Coptic language maintenance or revival, but facilitates the creation of the Christian ecumene as a larger religious diaspora in which Copts claim membership. The research findings confirm the importance of focusing on the role of religion, and particularly religious language, in creating new transnational communities.
Meade, Melissa R., Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'In the Shadow of 'King Coal': Migration and Violence in Shenandoah, PA,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Morris
Preliminary abstract: In the midst of the upheavals of deindustrialization, Spanish-speaking immigrants are migrating to small towns across the US. In one such town, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez Zavala was beaten to death in 2008 by a gang of white teenagers who were exonerated of all serious charges in a local court. Since the killing of Ramirez, Shenandoah and the Greater Anthracite Coal Region have occupied a contentious position in the public imaginary as a symbol of racialized violence directed at Spanish-speaking immigrants and also as a white working-class threat to the symbolic power of liberal, middle-class values and regimes of representation. This research contributes to the scholarship on migration, ethnic relations, and violence in deindustrialized regions by addressing four areas of concern to larger anthropological debates: Firstly, through the lens of the Ram¨ªrez killing and related media coverage, to understand the restructuring of the community vis-¨¤-vis the in-migration of Spanish-speaking immigrants and the out-migration of local youth; secondly, to explore how area residents address conflicts about migrant newcomers, class, and community revival amidst media and elite framing of the economically disenfranchised in terms of discourses of diversity, tolerance and bootstrapping; thirdly, to study how the structural violence of the political economy of the region limits and makes possible resident participation in larger (mediated) societal discourses; fourthly, to understand the over-determined relationships between this structural violence and violent events like the Ramirez killing.
Callahan, Mollie, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Medical Discourse and Ethnobotanical Expertise Among Bolivian Kallawaya Healers,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
MOLLIE CALLAHAN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in August 2004 to aid research on 'Medicl discourse and Ethnobotanical Expertise among Bolivian Kallawaya Healers,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. This project examines how local distinctions between Kallawaya medical experts and non-experts in Bolivia are maintained in daily interaction and related to power and economic relations in a wider world in the wake of their recognition by UNESCO as a 'Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.' Toward this end, the researcher employed a combination of ethnographic, interview, and linguistic methodologies over a 12-month period while living in Curva, Bolivia. Primary attention focused on the social and linguistic dynamics of how Kallawaya medical expertise is defined, reproduced, defended, and differentiated within the context of their participation in exclusive professional organizations and projects. Preliminary findings show that debates over authenticity and access to medical plants and knowledge have come to the fore as Kallawayas vie for prestige and access to material resources resulting from the UNESCO nomination. Consequently, processes of internal differentiation among Kallawayas are equally, if not more, important than the distinctions they draw between themselves and others and are tied to many of the same economic and political phenomena.
Schacht, Ryan Nicholas, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Gender Roles, Mate Choice, and Adult Sex Ratios: A Comparison in the Rupununi, Guyana,' supervised by Dr. Monique Borgerhoff Mulder
RYAN NICHOLAS SCHACHT, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Gender Roles, Mate Choice, and Adult Sex Ratios: A Comparison in the Rupununi, Guyana,' supervised by Dr. Monique Borgerhoff Mulder. This project examines factors, both social and environmental, that affect the formation of human gender roles. Human partner preference studies within evolutionary psychology have been overwhelmingly based on samples drawn from undergraduate populations and questionnaire responses. Consequently, this research has generated little understanding of how variation in gender-differentiated behavior arises from developmental factors and features of social structure and culture because of a virtual neglect of the broader social context. In order to understand the sources of variation in mate choice, studies of individual preferences, decisions, and behavior must be embedded within the demographic, economic, and cultural context that shapes every decision an individual makes. This project proposed an empirically based evolutionary analysis of gender differences in reproductive strategies, mate choosiness, parental investment, and conjugal bonds. Guyana, South America, provided an exciting laboratory for examining the factors associated with gender differences in mating and marriage patterns. The research seeks to analyze causes of variation in these gender differences by injecting social, economic, and demographic factors back into evolutionary psychology. testing hypotheses for how features of social arena -- specifically the sex ratio of reproductive aged individuals in the community -- affect reproductive behavior, mate choo