Davis, Christina Parks, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Language Practices and Ideologies of Difference in Sri Lanka' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
CHRISTINA P. DAVIS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Language Practices and Ideologies of Difference in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. A former British colony, Sri Lanka is an extraordinary diverse, multilingual island-nation. For over 25 years, Sri Lanka has been ravaged by an ethnic conflict, between the Sinhalese majority Sri Lankan government, and a Tamil separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic research, this project explores multilingual language practices and ideologies of social difference among ethnic minority (Tamil and Muslim) adolescents in two educational institutions in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Two major questions were addressed: 1) how are social divisions -- based on ethnicity, religion, and class -- represented to students in institutional policies and curriculum involving language, such as the medium of instruction, and the teaching of correct or appropriate speech? And 2) how do the students in their own interactions in school and non-school settings engage with, negotiate, and create their own configurations of these groupings? This research contributes to the ethnography of education, studies of interactions in institutional settings, and to understandings of ethnic conflict.
Sum, Chun Yi, Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'The New Vanguard of Civil Society: Morality and Civic Consciousness among College Students in China,' supervised by Dr. Robert P. Weller
CHUN YI SUM, then a student at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'The New Vanguard of Civil Society: Morality and Civic Consciousness among College Students in China,' supervised by Dr. Robert P. Weller. How do campus organizations affect the cultivation of moral personhood and civic consciousness among Chinese college students? How do expressions of individuality, civility, and morality in student organizations illuminate the nature and development of governance and civil society in Communist China? Analyzing students' motivations of participation and their experiences in volunteering and organizational activities in an elite university in southern China, this dissertation examines how extra-curricular interest groups mediate students' identities and relationships with their peers, the society at large, and various levels of school and state authorities. In this informal, voluntary, and less supervised sphere of tertiary education, frequent contestations and negotiations of individuality and social boundaries have driven young people to reflect critically on their roles and responsibilities in the transforming political economy and moral communities. This research argues that associational experience in the Chinese university has unwittingly disempowered and disillusioned well-intentioned youth from enthusiastic anticipation of, and active engagement in, civic affairs and social initiatives. The exposures to campus politics and social injustices have promoted a sense of inadequacy and helplessness, rather than preparing participants for social integrations as the study's interlocutors have initially hoped. This project examines the manifestations of individualism and civility among China's future elites, and discusses peculiarities and development of China's civil and uncivil society in the midst of new opportunities and challenges presented by changing imaginations in national and global modernities.
Horvath, Ildiko, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Rethinking the Linkages Between the Middle and the Upper Palaeolithic: A View from the Eastern Carpathians,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Bisson
ILDIKO HORVATH, then a student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, received funding in June 2004 to aid research on 'Rethinking the Linkages between the Middle and the Upper Palaeolithic: A View from the Eastern Carpathians,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Bisson. Technological, morphological, and use-wear analysis was undertaken on late Middle and early Upper Palaeolithic collections of lithic artifacts from Mitoc-Malu Galben, Mitoc Valea Izvorului, and Ripiceni-Izvor in the Middle Prut River Valley of northeastern Romania. Lithic tools, debitage, and cores from these sites were analyzed using the same suite of attributes in order to reveal behavioral differences and/or similarities that manifested in this region across time and space. This research has also built on low-magnification microscopic use-wear analysis to study the role played by bifacially shaped leaf points in the inventory of late Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic groups, and the employment of simple-but-specially designed artifacts with hafting alterations. This research contributes to the understanding of behavioral trends, particularly in lithic technology and tool use that manifested across the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in the Middle Prut Basin, and helps build a more integral understanding of the earliest Eastern European Upper Palaeolithic.
Chart, Hilary Rebecca, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Becoming Business People: Emergent and Contested Forms of Entrepreneurship in Urban Botswana,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Junko Yanagisako
Preliminary abstract: In Botswana's capital city, it seems everyone is 'in business,' and the acronym for small, medium, and microenterprises--SMMEs--has become an everyday word. Men, women, youth, elders, wealthy professionals, and the poor and unemployed alike describe their entrepreneurial activities with enthusiasm. Yet preliminary research (2009, 2010) suggests that far from uniting people, common claims of entrepreneurship are based on tremendously diverse practices that are fiercely contested. There is much debate over what counts as real business, who can legitimately claim to be an 'entrepreneur,' and what sorts of practices--including the illicit and occult--may fuel or undermine economic success. These debates invoke class, gender, nationality and generation in complex ways. This 18-month ethnographic project aims to answer the following question: How are business and entrepreneurship emerging as cultural productions in Botswana today, and to what effects in people's lives, on social fields, and on the urban landscape? My project is organized around three groups of actors in the capital city of Gaborone: 1) staff and clients at SMME promotion agencies; 2) those doing business in a single urban corridor, including street venders, informal service advertisers, wealthy business 'hobbyists' and shop owners alike; and finally 3) teachers and students in youth-centered entrepreneurship programs. I understand entrepreneurship to be a matter of being as well as doing, and expand 'doing business' to include all those practices that support claims of entrepreneurship. This opens possibilities for recognizing 'entrepreneurship' as a historically specific and contested cultural production that means and does things far beyond what is typically described as economic.
Shapiro, Darshana Fay, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'The Functional Anatomy of Trabecular Bone in the Ilia of Living and Fossil Primates,' supervised by Dr. Robert S. Scott
Preliminary abstract: Understanding locomotion in the past is critical for the interpretation of the hominid fossil record. This issue has recently reemerged in the debate about the locomotor and positional behavior, and thus the phylogenetic position, of Ardipithecus ramidus, but has been of primary anthropological importance since Dart's description of Australopithecus africanus as a biped, linking that trait to the human lineage. Reconstructions of the locomotor regimes of fossil primates have largely relied on analyses of external pelvic morphology, comparing the anatomy of the fossils to that of living primates. Advances in non-destructive imaging have provided another approach to reconstructing loading history, via the internal trabecular architecture of certain skeletal elements. The proposed research seeks to answer the question: Is the internal trabecular architecture of the primate ilium diagnostic of specific locomotor regime? Or, put another way, what locomotor behaviors cause specific trabecular patterns? A series of hypotheses regarding the causal relationship between locomotor mode and trabecular architecture in extant primates will be tested via high resolution x-ray computed tomography. The pairing of trabecular patterns with locomotor regimes in the living comparative sample will then enable the testing of locomotor hypotheses for the fossil primates Rudapithecus hungaricus and Australopithecus afarensis.
Hanna, Bridget Corbett, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Illness in North India: Medicine, Risk, and Experience,' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman
BRIDGET C. HANNA, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Illness in North India: Medicine, Risk, and Experience,' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman. The grantee conducted research in north India looking at the effect of controversies over toxic chemical exposure on health experience and health care. The project was based in New Delhi and Bhopal, India, and focused on discourses of health and healing that have followed in the wake of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster. The grantee looked at the experiential, legal, and epidemiological history of attempts to concretize and make sense of the long-term effects of the exposure of half the city to methyl-isocyanate. With archival research, and through extended conversations with patients, doctors, researchers, bureaucrats, and activists, the grantee mapped usage of health care by survivors, and tried to understand the dynamics that structured the provision of health care to the affected group. The project asked: How is environmental illness causality survivor, the healer, and the state? What effect do these perceptions have on the lived experience of the individual, the family, and the city? What are the roles of state and non-state actors in articulating medical frameworks in Bhopal? And what are the implications of the culture of medical anxiety and obfuscation that has characterized the aftermath?
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.
Boyette, Adam Howell, Washington State U., Vancouver, WA - To aid research on 'The Learning of Food Sharing Norms among Aka Foragers and Ngandu Farmers of the Central African Republic,' supervised by Dr. Barry Stephen Hewlett
ADAM HOWELL BOYETTE, then a student at Washington State University, Vancouver, Washington, received a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'The Learning of Food Sharing Norms among Aka Foragers and Ngandu Farmers of the Central African Republic,' supervised by Dr. Barry Stephen Hewlett. The aim of this project was to characterize the cultural transmission of sharing among children from early through late childhood. Detailed observational methods were used to record the daily lives of 50 Aka hunter-gather children and 50 Ngandu farmer children in the Central African Republic. Settings, activities, and the identities of those in proximity to each child were systematically recorded, along with resource exchanges and learning or teaching involving the focal child. Ethnographic surveys of adults and children complemented these observational data by eliciting local perspectives on sharing and child development. These rich data will allow conclusions to be drawn about the social foundations of cooperation. By comparing the developmental trajectory of sharing and the contexts of learning in an egalitarian and a hierarchical culture questions of cultural differences in moral education and child development can be asked, and the roles of child culture and pedagogy in cultural transmission can be examined. In summary, it seems pedagogy has a minimal role in the transmission of sharing norms but cultural variation in patterns of negative reinforcement appears key. Child culture is rich in Aka and Ngandu communities and plays an important role in practice and the formation of habitus.
Rothschild, Amy Caroline, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Suffering in Post-Conflict East Timor: Memory, Nationalism and Human Rights,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Postero
AMY C. ROTHSCHILD, then a student at University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Suffering in Post-Conflict East Timor: Memory, Nationalism and Human Rights,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Postero. The grantee conducted approximately one and one half years of ethnographic dissertation research in East Timor. The research examined how Timorese -- the State, different non-State groups (including human rights NGOs) and individuals -- are publically 'remembering' the brutal Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which lasted from 1975 to 1999 and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of East Timorese. The research took place both inside the capital, Dili, as well as in more rural areas, particularly around the village of Kraras, where a series of massacres occurred in 1983. Primary methodologies included participant observation as well unstructured and semi-structured interviews with victims, veterans, human rights workers, 'memory activists,' and state officials. A primary analytic focus was on how a nationalist understanding or framework of the past, with its vocabulary of heroes and martyrs and its future-oriented focus on nation-state building, overlapped with or clashed against a more internationalist/human rights understanding or framework of the past, with its vocabulary of victims and perpetrators and its more backwards looking calls for justice.