Sadre-Orafai, Stephanie Neda, New York U., New York, NY- To aid research on 'Producing Racial and Ethnic Types: Language, Perception & Embodied Differences in New York's Fashion Industry,' supervised by Dr. Bambi B. Schieffelin
STEPHANIE SADRE-ORAFAI, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in June 2006 to aid research on 'Producing Racial and Ethnic Types: Language, Perception, and Embodied Differences in the New York Fashion Industry,' supervised by Dr. Bambi Schieffelin. The project explores the production of commercial racial iconography through an analysis of the model-casting process in the New York fashion industry. Identifying casting interactions as interrelated and co-constructed productions of media, persons, perceptual experiences, and categories of difference, the researcher examined the visual technologies, linguistic techniques, and embodied practices used by casting professionals and models to create, delimit, and blur commercial categories and types. Drawn from interviews, ethnographic research, and recordings at a leading New York casting agency, a high fashion women's modeling agency, and an international photo production company, the research provides a unique insight on the production of people as media by highlighting the ways in which the casting professionals and models attend to and modulate taken-for-granted features of social interactions and performances. The dissertation will explore casting both as a situated practice within the New York fashion industry and as a metaphor for broader categorical thinking -- racial or otherwise -- in contemporary US.
Guarino, Maria Suzanne, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Musical Performance, Social Order, and Mystical Spirituality in Two North American Benedictine Monasteries,' supervised by Dr. Michelle Kisliuk
MARlA S. GUARINO, then a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'Musical Performance, Social Order, and Mystical Spirituality in Two North American Benedictine Monasteries,' supervised by Dr. Michelle Kisliuk. During one year of field research with Benedictine monks in Vermont and Quebec, the grantee examined the interface between musical performance, monastic social order, and mystical spiritual experience. Research points to a mutually constitutive relationship between these three processes, and asks how does musical performance structure a monastic community, and how does the structure of the community influence musical performance? Further, how does this relationship foster a specifically Benedictine spiritual experience and religious life? The grantee addressed these questions through a study of two North American monasteries: one embracing Latin Gregorian chant and hierarchical social order; the other embracing vernacular folk music and egalitarian social order. Findings suggest that, while musical and social processes are flexible, this does not point to flexibility in foundational Benedictine spiritual sensibilities. Instead, there are multiple paths that insiders recognize as pointing toward a singular Benedictine way of life. These paths are defined by the rich interaction of musical performance, social order, and mystical spirituality.
Yen, Adrian Lip Shing, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Psycho-pharmaceuticals and Traditional Medicine in Acholiland: Emerging Forms of Therapeutic Citizenship in Postwar Northern Uganda,' supervised by Dr. Alan Klima
ADRIAN LIP SHING YEN, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in July 2012 to aid research on 'Psycho-pharmaceuticals and Traditional Medicine in Acholiland: Emerging Forms of Therapeutic Citizenship in Postwar Northern Uganda,' supervised by Dr. Alan M. Klima. Situated in the Acholi region of northern Uganda, the research endeavored to understand the politics of post-conflict reconstruction in the region as they could be read through the expansion of psycho-pharmaceuticals in the treatment of 'war-related' mental health conditions like PTSD and depression. Practically, this entailed documenting the encounters between Acholi men and women, health workers, humanitarians, traditional healers, and psychotropic drugs, while paying close attention to how these encounters unfolded within a broader regional context of 'post-conflict' rehabilitation and development. The study revealed how the administration of psychotropic drugs increasingly became a proxy for other meaningful reconstruction initiatives in the region, and how, contrary to popular medical and political discourses about the recently ended Lord's Resistance Army war, mental and emotional problems for many-particularly what was understood as 'PTSD' or 'trauma'-were as much the consequence of a particular anxiety provoking discourse of development as they were of recent political violence.
Logan, Amanda Lee, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Practicing Change, Remembering Continuity: Incorporating Global Foods into Daily Routines in Banda, Ghana, AD 1000 - Present,' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli
AMANDA L. LOGAN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Practicing Change, Remembering Continuity: Incorporating Global Foods into Daily Routines in Banda, Ghana (AD 1000 to Present),' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli. This study examined how global pressures impacted daily life in West Africa through the lens of food and domestic architecture. Research focused on Banda, a region in west central Ghana that has seen sustained archaeological work that has documented shifts in political economy over the last 1000 years. Investigations focused on how people incorporated new crops into daily practice during each of these shifts, and whether or not dietary continuities and changes corresponded with changes in domestic architecture. People relied mostly on indigenous grains pearl millet and sorghum for much of the last millennium. Maize, a high yielding American crop, arrived quickly in Banda (c. 1660), but did not become a staple until the 1890s under conditions of political and economic duress associated with the shift to market economies and colonial rule. These data point to the political underpinnings of food insecurity, and suggest that in the Banda area such problems did not emerge until quite late. Shifts in house form and construction techniques also hint at shifts in standard of living as Banda moved from an important node in Niger trade to a periphery in the modern world system.
Boltokova, Daria, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on 'Betwixt and Between: Studying Processes of Language Hybridization among Sakha Youth,' supervised by Dr. Patrick Moore
Preliminary abstract: In my research, I am theorizing processes of language hybridization through an ethnographic study of generational differences in the linguistic practices of Sakha people residing in Russia's far northeast. Most accounts of linguistic hybridity in anthropology frame hybrid language use in terms of 'code-switching' and 'code-mixing' on the assumption that speakers remain fluent in the languages they combine. Less considered are the cumulative effects of prolonged switching and mixing on fluency itself, particularly across generations. I ask: When and how do processes of hybridization like mixing and switching lead to the emergence of novel hybrid language practices? To answer this question, first, I explore the social and political factors driving processes of language hybridization among Sakha youth and, second, document the growth of Sakha-Russian hybrid language forms in practice. For scholars studying the Sakha people, this research provides a more accurate picture of contemporary Sakha language practices. For anthropologists more generally, this research offers a more refined conceptual toolkit for theorizing processes of language hybridization in multilingual communities, both elsewhere in Russia and around the world.
Rakopoulos, Theodoros, U. of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Anti-Mafia Livelihoods: Work and Social Change in Sicilian Agrarian Cooperatives,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Goddard
THEODOROS RAKOPOULOS, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Anti-Mafia Livelihoods: Work and Social Change in Sicilian Agrarian Cooperatives,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Goddard. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork amongst people working in cooperatives that make use of assets the State confiscated from 'the mafia' in Alto Belice (western Sicily). Research focuses on the livelihoods of people connected to the 'antimafia' microoeconomy based in these cooperatives. Paying attention to local moralities of labor and politics, the grantee conducted participant observation in workers' everyday life to understand the range of accounts regarding 'antimafia' values, how they connect to social relations, and the extent to which they reflect or contradict legalistic discourses promoted within 'civil society.' Attentive to networks supporting this micro-economy, the project analyzes people's entanglements with the authorities (often patronage-based), discussing how State functionaries contribute to consolidating an 'antimafia gift-economy.' Specifically, research participants organize production relations across reciprocity chains connected to the State's 'gift:' the confiscated assets offered to them. The work presents an ethnographic account of responses to social changes triggered by State intervention in redistributing resources on claims to 'legality' basis. Investigating what mafiosi activity implies, the research contributes a dynamic, relational analysis of mafia/antimafia. Tracing people's discourses and experiences, the research locates 'mafia' in everyday activity and explores contradictions that confront individuals and collectives regarding claims to legality and commitments to moralities of kinship and friendship.
Galvez, Alyshia F., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'In the Name of Guadalupe: Religion, Politics and Citizenship among Mexicans in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie
ALYSHIA F. GALVEZ, while a student at New York University in New York, New York, received funding in September 2002 to aid research on religion, politics, and citizenship among Mexicans in New York City, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie. Galvez sought to determine the role of devotional organizations and faith-based association in the production of a Mexican community in New York City and to examine the ways in which faith in the Virgin of Guadalupe was the foundation for an articulation of rights by Mexican migrants. Through fieldwork in parish-based devotional organizations dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and the city-wide Mexican migrants' organization, Asociación Tepeyac, Galvez studied the ways in which devotion contributed to the formation of an imagined migrant community and the articulation of a discourse of rights and dignity. Religion has commonly been assumed to be an arena of stasis, but Galvez found that, on the contrary, it was a vector of change, not only in modes of social organization but also in notions of personhood. It contributed to the production of an understanding of self and community with certain attendant rights, dignity, and privileges, even while members of the community lacked access to juridical categories of citizenship and, as undocumented persons, were virtually persona non grata in the U.S. nation-state. Her work contributes to understandings of religion in the transnational experience of migration.
Walker, Michael M., Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Commons or Enclosures? Negotiating Access to Wetlands in Manica Province, Mozambique,' supervised by Dr. William Derman
MICHAEL M. WALKER, then a student at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, was awarded a grant in July 2005 to aid research on 'Commons or Enclosures? Negotiating Access to Wetlands in Manica Province, Mozambique,' supervised by Dr. William Derman. This research examines smallholders' access to, and use of, wetland resources in Sussundenga, Mozambique. It takes an historical perspective on how access to land and water resources has changed under various forms of land tenure in Sussundenga district over the last 50 years. The legacies of land dispossession by Portuguese settlers in the 1950s, the creation of a communal village by the ruling party, FRELIMO, in the 1970s, and migration and displacement resulting from the civil war in the 1980s created a context of competing and overlapping claims to land. Consequently smallholders negotiate multiple terrains of authority, including local government officials, traditional authorities, and agricultural extension offices as well as negotiate with friends, neighbors, and family members to gain access to wetland resources, known locally as matoro, which are critical for dry season agricultural production. This research highlights that despite interventions in agriculture by the colonial and post-colonial state and development organizations, traditional authorities, such as chiefs, continue to play an important role in legitimizing access to land and water resources. Furthermore, this research concludes that while the enclosure of land, water, and wetland resources in Sussundenga is taking place, predominantly in areas with a history of competing claims to land, other more flexible patterns of access to land and water resources often through kin networks ,and traditional leaders coexists with more exclusionary practices.
Kohut, Lauren Elizabeth, Vanderbilt U., Nashville, TN - To aid research on 'The Political Landscape of War: Late Pre-Hispanic Fortifications in the Colca Valley, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Steven A. Wernke
LAUREN E. KOHUT, then a student at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, was awarded a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'The Political Landscape of War: Late Pre-Hispanic Fortifications in the Colca Valley, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Steven A. Wernke. The Late Intermediate Period (LIP; 1000-1400 CE) in the highland Andes of Peru has been defined as a time of heightened conflict and political fragmentation. Prior archaeological research on this period has focused on regional-scale surveys, which indeed show a largely fragmented political landscape. But while this characterization may be relevant at a regional scale, it overlooks the more local patterns of integration and affiliation that formed the basis of daily life for communities during the LIP. This research combines micro-regional survey of fortifications, systematic surface collection, and targeted excavation of a single fortified settlement to examine the meso and local scale interactions that have been absent from prior research on conflict during this period. Spatial analysis of defensive settlement patterns in the valley suggests local groups formed local alliance clusters that may have been integrated into a valley-wide alliance network. In addition to serving the defensive needs of individuals in the valley, fortifications provided a new context for community formation that existed in spite of, or more likely because of, regional fragmentation.
Baig, Noman, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Capital-extraction: Esoteric Islam, Counter-terrorist Surveillance, and Corporate Finance in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Ali
Preliminary abstract: Since the early 1990s, Pakistan's economic policies have been geared towards integrating unregulated money circulation with global financial networks by privatizing banks, developing capital markets, micro-credit lending, and attracting foreign exchange (Nasim 1992). However, after 9/11, under the rubric of security and counter-terrorism, the Pakistani state has further intensified its efforts to discipline vernacular financial practices, particularly the informal money transfer system, generating tensions among local merchants and impacting laborers sending remittance to their country of origin. Against this backdrop, I will conduct an ethnographic study of Bolton Market (in Karachi, Pakistan) to investigate the confluences and cultural-political consequences arising from esoteric Islamic practices, the state's counter-terrorist surveillance, and emerging corporate finance. Moreover, my central argument is that there is a close convergence between the state's counter-terrorist efforts and the way it promotes corporate interests in Pakistan. Conventionally, Pakistan is studied through the over-exhaustive tropes of terrorism, violence, and ethnicity. This research will offer theoretical analysis of emerging cultural forms shaped by competing financial models. Although grounded in Pakistan, my research speaks to a growing body of anthropological work on occult economies, finance, and security as they relate to market forces, globalization, and neoliberalism.