Moinde-Fockler, Nancy Nthenya, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Effects of Land Use Practices on the Socioecology of Olive Baboons,' supervised by Dr. Ryne Arthur Palombit
NANCY N. MOINDE-FOCKLER, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Effects of Land Use Practices on the Socioecology of Olive Baboons,' supervised by Dr. Ryne Palombit. This study examines a group of olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis) occupying two different land-use systems (pastoralism and commercial ranching) in Laikipia District, Kenya. The study evaluates the short-term behavioral responses of these baboons to anthropogenically altered landscapes. These changes in social behavior are used to test predictions of socioecological models about how variations in resource availability influence social evolution generally. The study also incorporates the human cultural-ecological dimension into primatological research by evaluating how different human cultural land-use practices influence the relationships that humans have with baboons. The study additionally tests Wildlife Value Orientation models' predictions about patterns in human-baboon interactions due to cultural beliefs and practices associated with different land-use practices. By combining these two theoretical approaches directly, this project contributes to the practicalities of solving issues for the continued coexistence between humans and baboons, as well as other species. First, examining the baboon's response to environmental changes will provide insights on how they adapt to anthropogenic changes in their habitats. Second, understanding how local people view and interact with baboons and other wildlife provides a means of evaluating whether local communities can be encouraged to make land-use decisions that facilitate human-baboon coexistence.
Daniels, Brian I., U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Preserving Native American Culture by Bureaucratic Means,' supervised by Dr. Robert Preucel
BRIAN I. DANIELS, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Preserving Native American Culture by Bureaucratic Means,' supervised by Dr. Robert Preucel. This doctoral dissertation research investigated the relationship between bureaucratic practices in neoliberal, multicultural democracy and the use of indigenous culture to assert rights-based claims. Through a fourteen-month ethnographic and archival study of Klamath River Native American tribes in northern California, this project examined how cultural evidence enables novel forms of political debate and strategic organization. By tracing the venues where indigenous people assert legal claims, it has documented the many ways in which cultural evidence becomes valued. With nine Native American communities, all of whom are engaged in heritage work with different government bureaucracies, the Klamath River watershed provided a field site that was diverse in its institutional and indigenous constituencies and significant for its history of legal challenges to cultural heritage policy. This research demonstrated the central importance of estate probate and land tenure to indigenous consciousness, and identified how documentary paperwork reshapes ways of knowing culture and history, and what it means to possess a specific identity. It also uncovered evidence that some Native Americans in the study area hold active rights to a defunct reservation, which, because of this investigation, has become a focus of future community development and revitalization.
Samet, Robert Nathan, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Writing Crime: Journalism, Insecurity, and Narratives of Violence in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Junko Yanagisako
ROBERT N. SAMET, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on Writing Crime: Journalism, Insecurity, and Narratives of Violence in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Yanagisako. The overarching objective of the dissertation research is to describe the social processes through which violent events are framed as journalistic narratives by focusing on the everyday practices of crime reporters in Caracas. While there is a wealth of social scientific material that refers to news coverage of crime and violence, there have been surprisingly few attempts to understand the processes of cultural production from the inside out. This project set out to accomplish four specific goals: 1) examine the culture of crime reporters; 2) describe the key factors shaping the day-to-day practices of journalists who cover the crime beat; 3) explain what influences the selection and composition of images and stories of crime; and 4) show the larger context in which these images and stories circulate. Together, these strands of inquiry will provide a nuanced understanding of how journalist and journalism have helped to shape 'the politics of security' in Venezuela during the Hugo Chavez era.
Hayat, Maira, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Bureaucracies of Care, Infrastructures of Crime: Water Economies in Postcolonial Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kaushik Sundar Rajan
Preliminary abstract: Through ethnographic examination of water theft, I propose to study state-citizen relations, bureaucratic care, conceptions of property, and of the licit in Pakistan. I approach water theft not only in the usual register of law and crime via case law, but also as practice--ways of navigating water infrastructures and flows--and in everyday discourse: allegations, impressions, and rumors. I hypothesize that it is in these micro-practices and the discourses driving, and deriving from them that state sovereignty; citizenship; perceptions of the (im)propriety of property; and the (il)licit are constituted. Contrary to popular perceptions in Pakistan that a growing informal groundwater economy and proliferating water theft represent yet another instance of state and societal failure, I ask if water theft may be better understood as re-writing the social contract. My primary field-site is a part rural, part urban town in the Punjab province, Pakistan's agricultural hub, and home to its densest irrigation infrastructure; it is known among many irrigation bureaucrats as a town with rampant water theft. I will study water infrastructures and the public canal irrigation network here, and conduct ethnographic research at the provincial Irrigation department.
Wu, Ifan, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Doing Qigong in Malaysia: Religious Healing and the Production of Chinese Identities,' supervised by Dr. Steven Sangren
Preliminary abstract: Qigong, an ancient Chinese healing practice, has become increasingly popular among the female Chinese minority in Malaysia. Grounded on the belief that cosmic energy is polluted and stagnant and therefore 'blocks' one's physical energy, qigong heals by allowing practitioners to clear 'blockage,' a diagnosis that covers everything from a stiff neck to frustrations with the pursuit of personal success. As a reliever of individuals' dissatisfactions, qigong may bear traces of social anxieties suffered under culturally repressive regulations and economic structures associated with, on the one hand, Chinese patriliny and, on the other, the New Economic Policy, which prioritizes the Muslim Malay bourgeoisie's social welfare while reifying ethnic and class boundaries. To track how expressions of distress and qigong solutions are related to practitioners' social experiences and interactions, I will conduct one year of fieldwork in Penang. In describing how, based on gender roles, class, and ethnicity, practitioners address and work through their somatic frustrations and existential quandaries by using diverse knowledge systems that are transmitted across cultural contexts, my research will examine how individual practitioners, indirectly expressing their internalized political and social frustrations during qigong practices, produce desires and identities that simultaneously accommodate and resist patriliny and the state's agenda.
Marsh, Katharine Ruth, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Spiritual Care on the Move: Ethics of Care, Migrant Integration, and African Pentecostalism in the United Kingdom,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Jordan Smith
KATHARINE R. MARSH, then a graduate student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was granted funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Spiritual Care on the Move: Ethics of Care, Migrant Integration and African Pentecostalism in the United Kingdom,' supervised by Dr. Daniel J. Smith. The research project explored the effects of Pentecostal Christianity on the integration of African migrants in the United Kingdom (UK). The project investigated the relationship between Pentecostal practice and experiences of belonging, encounters with the UK state, and relationships with other migrant and non-migrant groups. It involved twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in a multi-ethnic but predominately African and African-Caribbean Pentecostal church in a medium-sized city in the southeast of England. It was found that African migrants are often initially attracted to Pentecostalism by the social capital and networks that churches offer, and due to experiences of not-belonging in mainstream UK churches. Over time, church members learn cognitive, behavioral and linguistic techniques that help cultivate a sense of moral worth and value. This increased confidence helps migrants cope with experiences of disempowerment and exclusion, leading to a greater material and moral engagement with the UK state. The research also examined the exchange of money, material objects and emotional support within church, as well as different understandings of culture and cultural difference among members. These practices were explored in terms of their effects on sentiments of trust and belonging with both co-believers in church and unbelievers outside church.
Chao, Sophie Marie Helene, Macquarie U., Macquarie, Australia - To aid research on 'Agribusiness Land Grabs and Transforming Indigenous Foodways: Towards a Theory of Hunger and Satiety in West Papua,' supervised by Dr. Jaap Timmer
Preliminary abstract: This research explores the relation between the ontological and material uncertainty experienced by the indigenous Malind peoples of Merauke Regency (West Papua, Indonesia) in the context of large-scale mono-culture plantation development projects, and changing practices and values related to traditional and new foods. By exploring how food is imbued with significance drawn from local cosmologies, Christianity, millenarian beliefs, witchcraft and State discourses and practices, the research will analyse how food and consumption relate to dynamic concepts of morality, place-making, memory and gender, in ways that reveal the creative absorbability of Malind culture in the context of material, environmental, cultural and physical precariousness. Food choices among the Malind may appear imposed in the light of State and private sector-led transformations, which appear beyond the Malinds' control. However, this fieldwork will elucidate how what one eats among the Malind is in fact a political act -- one of the few that can be made in an increasingly diminished space for individual and collective agency. This research contributes to the small but growing anthropological literature on food by combining theories of gustemology and synaesthesia with a gastro-politics analysis of food practices. Situated in the particularly relevant yet under-studied region of West Papua, the research will contribute to anthropological theories of practice and agency by complementing the traditional macro-level analysis of political resistance in West Papua, with a focus on subtle, daily acts of resistance through local communities' food production and consumption choices.
Reid, David Aaron, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Roads, Waystations, and Llama Caravans: The Political-Economy of Wari State Expansion in Southern Peru,' supervised by Dr. Patrick R. Williams
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the role of infrastructure (i.e. the built networks of communication, travel, and commerce) in the expansion of one of the earliest state-level societies in the Americas: the Wari of the Andean highlands, whose material culture and customs spread across much of Peru during the Middle Horizon (A.D. 600-1000). Despite considerable research of Wari administrative centers in provincial settings, the mechanisms underlying Wari expansionism remain poorly problematized. This research takes a multi-scalar approach to examine a network of Middle Horizon roads and waystations that served as the conduits of Wari influence between the Ocoña and Majes Valleys of southern Peru. Archaeological excavations at three road waystations will examine how colonial entanglements between state and local societies coproduced new social contexts in a state periphery and borderland. Innovative compositional analyses of archaeological materials will provide data on processes of craft production and inter-regional trade/exchange in association with GIS-based spatial analyses. As such, this project utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the intersection of political and economic processes related to caravan-based mercantilism, formal state infrastructure, and expansionary strategies of empire.
Greenfield, Dana Emily, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on 'Crossing the 'Valley of Death': Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Public University,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams
DANA E. GREENFIELD, then a graduate student at University of California, San Francisco, California, was awarded a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Crossing the 'Valley of Death:' Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Public University,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams. The project was subsequently retitled 'Homo experimentus: Digital Health, Technologies of the Quantified Self, and Emergence of New Experimental Subjects.' The Quantified Self (QS) movement emerged as a user-group in late 2000s in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the intersection of a personal computing counterculture and the rise of digital health technologies, most notably wearable devices and applications that enable biometric self-tracking. These networks and communities are populated by a diverse group of actors, who gain meaning from personal data in different ways. For some, self-quantification is about challenging official modes of clinical accounting, enabling patient empowerment and self-care. For others, personal data represents a medical and technological frontier (a 'high-definition human') where much is to be learned about human biological particularity, leading to the promise of precision medicine. This project investigates the implications and impact of the rise of practices, technologies, and forms of life that encourage self-tracking of health parameters and the domestication of clinical technologies for the home. Homo experimentus emerges out of these various sites as a kind of person and a kind of patient who lives life in experiment, with an eye towards continuous improvement and innovation.
Walker, Alexis Kalilah, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'After Privatization: Economic Sciences, Development Banks, and Global Health in Guyana,' supervised by Dr. Saida Hodzic
Preliminary abstract: Development banks had almost no involvement in the field of international health just a few decades ago, but today they wield immense power over the lives of millions of people by shaping global health priorities and implementing health programs. In the context of neoliberal governance, 'innovative finance,' and the shift from international to global health, key actors and approaches in this field have shifted, and what counts as relevant expertise in global health has also been called into question. The proposed research examines relationships of power and knowledge in the health work of development banks--examining what comes to count as relevant knowledge, who gets to use it, and with what social and political consequences. It does so by bringing together ethnographic research of two development bank-coordinated projects in Guyana with interview and archival research at the headquarters of the banks that finance and oversee these projects: the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. This research investigates the construction of authority across networks of sites and people involved in the health work of development banks. The focus of the proposed study is to examine how actors use knowledge and methods from economics and finance in bank health work, and whether other forms of expertise--such as clinical experience or expertise in local health systems--are being sidelined in the process. In doing so, I am examining relationships among knowledge and the power to govern health amidst contemporary configurations of global health and neoliberal governance.