Stamos, Peter, Andrew, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Hominin Locomotion from a Developmental Perspective: A Comparative Analysis of the Dikika Child's Knee,' supervised by Dr. Timothy D. Weaver
Preliminary abstract: Walking upright is a hallmark of our lineage, and learning how and why this unique behavior evolved is of utmost importance for understanding human origins. In this study, we will look at the evolution of bipedal locomotion from a developmental and comparative perspective by studying how the knee joints of apes and humans grow in response to the stresses and strains of locomotion. With this understanding, we will then analyze the knee joints of the oldest juvenile skeleton of a human ancestor ever discovered, the 3.3 million-year-old Dikika Child. This will allow us to investigate when our ancestors came out of the trees and planted their feet firmly on the ground, and at what age ancient children learned to walk.
Hsieh, Jennifer Chia-Lynn, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Sound and Noise in the City: Public Sensibilities and Technocratic Translation in Taipei's Aural Cityscape,' supervised by Dr. Miyako Inoue
Preliminary abstract: For the last 30 years, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency has implemented noise control standards in efforts to reduce the noise level on the island. While their efforts have succeeded in lowering the decibel levels around the island, citizens perceive Taiwan as noisier than ever. This paradox illustrates that sound in the form of noise is a contentious topic and reflects political claims about one's self-identification as a modern, Taiwanese subject. I focus on the problem of noise in Taipei as a uniquely urban discourse. Through city efforts toward urban re-development and the influx of new migrants from rural Taiwan and Southeast Asia, Taipei is fast becoming an even more densely-populated, diverse space for a number of urban subjects. I argue that the governance of noise creates a new paradigm in the delineation of urban space that restructures the urban experience through ways of hearing. By situating an ethnographic project within both government agencies and individual communities in Taipei, I draw attention to the imbricate nature between the technocratic system that produces a set of noise control standards and the everyday practices of individuals who either react, circumvent, perpetuate, or manipulate such standards toward their own diverse set of interests.
Mojaddedi, Fatima, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The War Bubble: Kabul's Shifting Warscape and Afghan-American Community,' supervised by Dr. Rosalind Carmel Morris
FATIMA MOJADDEDI, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'The War Bubble: Kabul's Shifting Warscape and Afghan-American Community, ' supervised by Dr. Rosalind C. Morris. This dissertation is based on multi-site ethnographic fieldwork in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Kabul, Afghanistan. The research situates socio-cultural and economic transformations in Kabul within a trans-national framework that takes as its starting point the assertion that culture and economy are the primary mediums of warfare. The grantee examines the socio-cultural ramifications of the current war and Afghanistan's integration into an international war economy that demands a commodification of land, language, and culture alongside a devastating counterinsurgency, illustrating how an international web of social and economic relations shape both the city of Kabul and its massive green zone. Moreover, the dissertation illustrates a crucial transition from an urban economy of war to one of shared fantasies based on a future mining industry. This is inextricable from how the future is being re-imagined among both Afghans and Afghan-Americans as the notion of invisible treasure is fantasized as existing underground, shifting the site of surplus value from a tumultuous green zone economy and speculative real estate market to its new subterranean home, buttressing the belief that peace can only occur alongside an extractive industry and illustrating the crucial link between new forms of war profiteering and older logics of imperial violence.
Cohen, Adrienne Jordan, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Postsocialist Movement: Performance, Political Economy and Transmigration between Guinea and France,' supervised by Dr. Michael McGovern
ADRIENNE COHEN, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received a grant in 2012 to aid research on 'Postsocialist Movement: Performance, Political Economy and Transmigration between Guinea and the United States,' supervised by Dr. Michael McGovern. This study addresses the connection between expressive culture and political-economic change in Guinea, West Africa. In Guinea, Sékou Touré's socialist state (1958-84) subsidized the modernization of dance and percussion in the service of nationalist politics. When socialism ended with Touré's death, the new regime under Lansana Conté drastically reduced government arts patronage. Performing artists, abandoned by the state, formed private troupes and began to emigrate in the 1990s. This project engages two generations of dancers and percussionists from Guinea: one trained during the socialist period, and the other trained after 1984. It explores how socialist concerns and themes are both sustained and contested in the present, and how performing arts illuminate changing notions of personhood in Guinea today. In Conakry, emerging expressive forms are the subject of heated intergenerational debates concerning the ethical and political principles embodied in performance. By studying Guinean performance repertoires and their attendant debates, this project assesses the work of expressive culture in negotiating and articulating socialist legacies within a postsocialist world order.
Schroeder, Kari Britt, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Evaluating Models of Population Structure for Native North America,' supervised by Dr. David Glenn Smith
KARI BRITT SCHROEDER, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Evaluating Models of Population Structure for Native North America,' supervised by Dr. David Glenn Smith. Recent anthropological investigations of the settlement of the Americas have compared the observed distribution of mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome variation to that expected under certain hypotheses. While this approach has contributed considerably to our understanding of American prehistory, it has two limitations. First, mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA reflect only a small portion of the ancestry of an individual or a population. Second, specific models of population structure are often implicit in inferences made from the observed distribution of genetic variation, yet the population structure of the Americas has not been well characterized. This study addresses both of these limitations by evaluating the fit of two major models of population structure, isolation by distance, and population fissions, to data from 143 individuals from eleven geographically and culturally diverse Native North American and Western Beringian populations, each genotyped for 404 short tandem repeat polymorphisms. This study will provide significant insight into the processes by which North America was settled and will enable the refinement of future investigations of the peopling of the North America by determining which hypotheses of prehistory may be successfully addressed with genetic data.
Haro, Angelia, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Developing Utopias: An Ethnography of Millennium Villages,' supervised by Dr. Charlie Plot
Preliminary Abstract: I examine how future-oriented social phenomena operate in new global development practices and cultures organized by the Millennium Development Goals and the promise of the end of global poverty by 2015. I take the Millennium Villages Project, as the most visible Millennium Development initiative, for my research domain. The twelve rural communities in Africa, chosen by the UN and its partners, are intended to demonstrate the feasibility of the Millennium Development promise of the global eradication of poverty. The present proposal will support two phases of ethnographic research: A case study of the Sauri MVP in Kenya and an examination of the translocal dimensions of actors in the MVP-associated institutions in New York. My research objective is to observe the specific practices, ways of thinking and social formations through which different actors attempt to transform present conditions to fit or transform the Millennium Development vision. As simultaneously locally-situated and also translocal constructions, the Villages provide ideal ethnographic sites in which I might discern how a global utopian visions are imported and exported in actual development contexts; how local communities and individuals struggle over the situated coordinates of present possibility as they attempt to actualize it in the contingent, power-saturated present; and how social identities form along axes of competing possibilities and hopes.
Maraesa, Aminata, New York U., New York, NY- To aid research on 'Globalizing Birth: The Transnational Networks of Belizean Midwives,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp
AMINATA MARAESA, then a student at New York University, received funding in September 2005 to aid ethnographic research on the role of traditional birth attendants in the context of international development discourse and local Belizean public health initiatives, under the supervision of Dr. Rayna Rapp. Research was conducted in southern Belize from January through October 2006. Through an analysis of an NGO-initiated midwifery training project, the grantee examined globalized healthcare initiatives experienced at the local level. It is hoped that the research findings will illuminate the problems of humanitarian intervention and the dilemmas of sustainability and empowerment at the crossroads of cultural practice and competing forms of authorized knowledge. Similarly the project seeks to broaden the existing work on midwives by including the voices of pregnant women to examine how public health policy informs local choices of pregnant women and the consequences of those practices and choices that contradict the medical discourses of risk and maternal/child health and safety. The grantee will analyze how culture informs medical decisions and clinical realities, the influences of structural factors such as economics and accessibility, and how globalized biomedical definitions of pregnancy being interpreted at the local level. Global healthcare initiatives cannot be understood without taking into account local cultural practices and understandings of gender and personhood which complicate linear developmental narratives. As public health officials, village level midwives, and pregnant women navigate high mortality rates and international standards, the magnitude of dilemmas-local and global-surrounding pregnancy and childbirth in rural southern Belize is a central focus of the research.
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.
Rock, Joeva S., American U., Washington, DC - To aid research on ''Our Stomachs are Being Colonized!' Constructions and Practices of Food Sovereignty in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. William Leap
Preliminary abstract: My research asks: how do food sovereignty NGOs negotiate between government discourses and the meanings and uses of food in the communities within which they work? Recent economic and climatic shifts have placed incredible pressure on Ghana's foodways and farmers. To address such challenges, Ghanaian activists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have advocated for food sovereignty, a framework that concerns people's rights to produce, consume and market healthy, 'culturally appropriate' foods through local, sustainable agricultural practices. Beginning in 2012, food sovereignty activists and NGOs mobilized in opposition to industrial agricultural schemes such as the US Feed the Future initiative, which use expensive, environmentally-unfriendly technologies (e.g. high nitrate fertilizers and GMOs). Such programs often posit food as a commodity for production and consumption, an approach which scholars and activists alike have argued overlooks the cultural components and social meanings attached to food. In Ghana, these meanings vary across geography and ethnicity. Here, food becomes a marker of resistance, and stands at the nexus of international economic and development institutions, debates of sovereignty, global order, and socio-cultural preservation. Thus, my research approaches food sovereignty advocacy vertically, and simultaneously considers the way food sovereignty NGOs navigate between the communities in which they work and the state structures within which they are situated.
Goldfarb, Kathryn Elissa, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'National-Cultural Ideologies and Medical-Legal Practices: Infertility, Adoption, and Japanese Public Policy,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar
KATHRYN E. GOLDFARB, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'National-Cultural Ideologies and Medical-Legal Practices: Infertility, Adoption, and Japanese Public Policy,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar. Only 9% of the 40,000 children in Japanese state care live with foster parents, and there are less than 500 annual adoptions in which an adult adopts an unrelated and unknown child. Many people claim that fostering and adoption will never be common practices because Japanese people prioritize blood relationships in families. This research is an effort to separate ideologies surrounding blood relationships from factors within the child welfare system that shape family practices, and to understand, on a systemic level, the relationships among people, institutions, and legal structures that shape contemporary family practices in situations where 'family' cannot be taken for granted. This project is a multi-sited ethnographic study based on participant-observation and interviews with people involved in three distinct constructions of family: couples that pursue infertility treatment; families with adopted or foster children; and people involved in institutional care and these care recipients. The grantee argues that cultural ideologies valorizing blood relationships are institutionalized within the child welfare system itself, particularly in the ways that notions of 'parental rights' effectively prevent children's placement in foster or adoptive care. Rather than solidifying kinship, it is posited that blood relationships can be a very real source of danger and dissolution.