Platzer, David Lawrence

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Johns Hopkins U.
Status: 
Active Grant
Approve Date: 
April 8, 2016
Project Title: 
Platzer, David L., Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Value of Autism: Labor and the Production of Autistic Adulthood,' supervised by Dr. Anand Pandian

Preliminary abstract: This study focuses on the creation of jobs for autistic adults, conceived of as a form of social welfare. Based in the metropolitan San Francisco Bay Area, it centers on concentric networks of parent advocates, social service providers, social enterprises, and corporate human resources initiatives. These networks have developed programs that seek to address the problem of an aging autistic populace -- 85% to 93% of whom are currently unemployed -- by incubating opportunities for sustainable labor. These jobs range from minimum-wage car washing positions for those on the lower end of the autism spectrum to software testing, hardware maintenance, and better compensated forms of technological work for those on the higher end. This research investigates how the promotion of waged labor, and its accordant emphasis on the production of economic value, intersects with the personal, communal, and ethical values which autistic individuals (and their families) themselves consider valuable or to which they themselves aspire. How might neoliberal imperatives for market solutions to the problems of social welfare, and the assertion of economic autonomy as the measure of mature adulthood, shape these programs and the ethical and social values they promote? Through interviews, participant observation, and discourse analysis this research will investigate the relationship between the neoliberal insistence on the market as the medium of welfare with (and against) the personal values, diverse aspirations, and neurological limits of autistic adults themselves. What, in short, is at stake for young autistic adults who are increasingly encouraged to organize their future, and understand their social 'worth,' though the production of economic value?

Grant Year: 
2016
Award Amount: 
$20,000

Gastrow, Claudia

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Chicago, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 18, 2010
Project Title: 
Gastrow, Claudia, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Grounding Citizenship: The Politics of Property in Post-conflict Luanda,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff

CLAUDIA GASTROW, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Grounding Citizenship: The Politics of Property in Post-Conflict Luanda,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff. Since the end of the Angolan civil war (1975-2002), the Angolan state and private concerns have invested significant resources in the redevelopment of the capital, Luanda. The remaking of the city has involved a strategy of relocating thousands of informal settlement residents to new state housing areas on the periphery of the city. The mobilization of formal planning mechanisms after years of the state seemingly leaving residents to occupy and build according to their own wishes has come into conflict with established means of urban expansion, forcing residents to rethink strategies for gaining access to housing and land. This research tracks how housing has acted as a means for the residents to assess their relationship to the state over the last thirty years. More particularly, it looks at how, over the last decade, demolition and rehousing have impacted urban residents' notions of citizenship. Based on interviews and participant observations in Luanda's informal settlements, and with housing rights groups, victims of demolitions, state representatives, and historical research in Luanda's archives, this research connects micro-level discussions about housing, and acts of housing construction, to larger national and state discourses about the meaning of democracy and social inclusion in Angola.

Grant Year: 
2010
Award Amount: 
$16,781

Thompson, Niobe S.

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Cambridge, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
August 13, 2002
Project Title: 
Thompson, Niobe S., Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Belonging in the North: Migrant Experiences and Identity in Northeast Siberia,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky

NIOBE S. THOMPSON, while a student at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, received funding in August 2002 to aid research on migrant experiences and identity in northeastern Siberia, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. In the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug (Chukotka) of northeastern Russia and in regions of central Russia, Thompson conducted fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork on non-native senses of belonging. The research was intended to explore the negotiation of identity in a traditionally migrant, transient population, an issue with implications for the future of communities in the Russian Far North and the success of planned programs of northern depopulation and resettlement. The coincidence between Thompson's project and a major program of modernization initiated in 2001 by a new administration under the leadership of wealthy governor-oligarch Roman Abramovich was intentional, because the challenge of an outsider-led program of change was expected to galvanize local identity in unexpected ways. Research findings revealed that a strongly localist sense of belonging and a rejection of mainstream Soviet and Russian life had characterized the settler community since its emergence, and that authority and entitlement through 'northern experience' were key features of local discourse. The challenges of outsider-led modernization to the established population met discourses of resistance long cultivated in Chukotka and endangered its long-term sustainability.

Grant Year: 
2002
Award Amount: 
$12,200

Koch, Insa Lee

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Oxford U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 13, 2009
Project Title: 
Koch, Insa Lee, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on ''Anti-Social Behaviour': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner

INSA LEE KOCH, then a student at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on ''Anti-Social Behavior': Law and Order in the British Working Class,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. This research investigated the role of the state in the life of white working class people on a post-industrial council estate in England. As geographically demarcated areas of government-built housing, often characterized by a strong involvement of state authorities and high degrees of welfare dependency, council estates can be seen as primary instances of state-building projects. Based upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted on one of Britain's largest council estates, this research investigated how its local people come to imagine and make use of the state in their everyday lives. It found that people often treat the state as a personalized resource to rely upon to upset, modify, and generate intimate social relationships that otherwise exist beyond the domain of official state intervention. In a context characterized by intra-community divisions and enmities, an array of state actors -- such as the police, social services and council officers -- then become potential allies to mobilize in one's pursuit of reputation, recognition and justice. Looking at the state, not as a distinct entity on its own, but as an intimate extension of people's social lives, this research offered insights into the sociality of British working-class communities, as well as into broader anthropological discussions of the state, citizenship, and democratic politics.

Grant Year: 
2009
Award Amount: 
$7,610

Belmar Pantelis, Carolina Andrea

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Buenos Aires, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 3, 2010
Project Title: 
Belmar Pantelis, Carolina Andrea, U. of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina - To aid research on 'Plant Exploitation amoung Steppe Hunter Gatherers: An Approach from Plant Microfossils, Baño Nuevo 1 Cave Site,' supervised by Dr. Cristian Favier Dubois

CAROLINA BELMAR PANTELIS, then a student at University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Plant Exploitation among Steppe Hunter Gatherers: An Approach from Plant Microfossils, Baño Nuevo 1 Cave Site,' supervised by Dr. Cristian Favier Dubois. This project was oriented to study the plant remains at a Patagonian steppe hunter-gatherer site, Baño Nuevo (11,480-3000 AP, Aisén, Chile), which is a type of evidence not commonly used in hunter-gatherer investigations. In order to determine what plants are being exploited at Baño Nuevo, our studies focused on plant microfossils present in stone tool residues and fruits and seeds recovered from the Early, Middle and Late Holocene Occupations defined for the site. The archaeological seeds and fruits demonstrate the exploitation of local plants -- shrubs with edible fruits and herbaceaous plants -- that are recurrent during the three periods of occupation. Residue analysis show the use of a diverse set of stone tools for the procurement and/or processing of plant resources, indicating the multifunctionality of these instruments. There is also a constant in the plants that were identified for each occupation, which corresponds to local herbaceaous plants. Tus we were able to identify plant remains for the three Holocene occupations of Baño Nuevo, indicating a tendency to exploit local plants near to the site, as well as the presence of a plant from humid environments signaling access to these areas and, thus, mobility or exchange.

Publication credit:

Belmar, Carolina, and Verónica Lema (eds.) 2015. Avances y Desafíos Metodológicos en Arqueobotánica: Miradas Consensuadas y Diálogos Compartidos desde Sudamérica. Monografías Arqueológicas, Facultad de Patrimonio Cultural y Educación, Universidad SEK: Chile.

Grant Year: 
2010
Award Amount: 
$14,050

Osterhoudt, Sarah Rae

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Yale U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 14, 2009
Project Title: 
Osterhoudt, Sarah Rae, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Vanilla for the Ancestors: Landscapes, Trade, and the Cultivation of Place in Madagascar,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove

SARAH R. OSTERHOUDT, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Vanilla for the Ancestors: Landscapes, Trade, and the Cultivation of Place in Madagascar,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove. The grantee is an environmental anthropologist working with small-scale vanilla, clove, rice and coffee farmers in the Mananara Nord region of Northeastern Madagascar. The project investigates the dynamic material, cultural, historical and ideological layers of agrarian landscapes, especially as related to commodity production and trade. Research notes how the agroforestry fields of Malagasy farmers emerge as places of overlap where products, meanings, and knowledges are actively circulated. Individuals draw from their everyday interactions with managed fields to imagine and articulate their past histories, present conditions, and future aspirations. Whether it is using a clove tree to recount family lineages, experimenting with a new technique to plant vanilla vines, or harvesting leaves from a hasina plant to use in a traditional ceremony, farmers draw from their fields both material and ideological resources. Focusing on agroforestry fields -- as places where 'natural' forests, managed forests, and agricultural activities intersect -- also complicates the ethnographic divide between agriculture and forest environments and illustrates the mutually constitutive spaces of nature and culture.

Grant Year: 
2009
Award Amount: 
$8,290

Fehrer, Kendra Christen

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Brown U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 5, 2009
Project Title: 
Fehrer, Kendra C., Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Decentralizing Democracy: Urban Participation in Chavez's Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Kay B. Warren

KENDRA C. FEHRER, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded a grant in May 2009 to aid research on 'Decentralizing Democracy: Urban Participation in Chavez's Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Kay B. Warren. Research investigated the interaction of local citizenship practices with national development policy, and more specifically how citizens participate in a government program designed to foster grassroots democracy. Over the last several decades, political anthropologists studying the state have viewed participatory state programs as techniques of governance, mechanisms of constructing a 'governable subject' amenable to the state agenda. At the same time, development studies scholars have documented emerging participatory programs as institutionalized mechanisms of 'deepening democracy,' providing communities opportunities to expand the range and substance of their claims as citizens. Through twelve months of ethnographic research in a working class community in peri-urban Venezuela, the grantee explored the uneven, partial, and contested interaction of local practices with participatory development programs. Findings indicate that participatory programs -- as sights of negotiation and contestation over public resources -- were altering the mechanisms and meanings of citizen's participation. Specifically, they are circumscribing new practices and categories of citizenship closely tied to consumption of consumer goods, performance of public policy, and proximity to party structures. In a politically and geographically peripheral community far from the national capital, these practices are being contested and negotiated by community members seeking to create their own historical memory, livelihoods, and aspirations.

Grant Year: 
2009
Award Amount: 
$13,440

Sopranzetti, Claudio

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Harvard U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
April 28, 2009
Project Title: 
Sopranzetti, Claudio, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Constituting Mobilities: Ice-cubes, Newspapers, and Motor-taxis in Bangkok's CBD,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld

CLAUDIO SOPRANZETTI, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Constituting Mobilities: Ice-cubes, Newspapers, and Motor-taxis in Bangkok's CBD,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld. Driven by the on-going political turmoil in Thailand, this research focused on understanding the local organization of the motor-taxis' drivers and its political relevance, both inside networks of migrants workers and for the city as a whole. Sharing the sidewalks with street-vendors, police officers, illegal lottery providers, and costumers from a variety of classes, as well as regional and geographical proveniences, the drivers negotiate their presence and roles in the city through spatial and social mobility that proliferates in the interstitial spaces between cars, classes, urban and rural life. In these spaces the motor-taxi drivers function as connectors -- both physically and metaphorically -- between different networks and in so doing collaborate in constituting the city as an entity and in spreading its images and discourses to rural areas.

Grant Year: 
2009
Award Amount: 
$12,870

Johnsen, Scott A.

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Virginia, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
July 20, 2001
Project Title: 
Johnsen, Scott A., U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Ritual and Reform: Bali-Hinduism in the Indonesian Nation-State,' supervised by Dr. Peter A. Metcalf

SCOTT A. JOHNSEN, while a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in July 2001 to aid research on Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Peter A. Metcalf. Johnsen's goal was to determine how the practices and interpretations of Balinese rituals might be changing as Bali shifted from a hierarchical, 'Indic' model of social organization to a model oriented toward inclusion and egalitarian values in the Indonesian nation-state. He conducted eighteen months of research based in the city of Bangli, the capital of the regency of the same name and the home of formerly influential court families. He collected data through a combination of participant observation of city temple rituals and life-cycle rituals, interviews with ritual participants and religious and political authorities, and study of the mass media. Two main issues were pursued: the nature and influence of the construct 'Balinese Hinduism' as promulgated by the National Hindu Council, local authorities, laymen, and school authorities and the ways in which local government had both adopted and transformed many of the ritual duties formerly thought to be the prerogatives of royal families. Johnsen gathered data on the use of the concept 'one god' in Balinese Hinduism and on the frequently heard idea that Balinese had only recently come to understand their religion. He obtained views of social rank and its place in contemporary Bali by interviewing participants in intercaste marriages and in funerals of upper-caste persons attended by lower caste persons. Interviews with members of former royal families and government authorities and attendance at government-sponsored rituals enabled Johnsen to understand how local government conceived of itself as the heir to the duties of the former royal families.

Grant Year: 
2001
Award Amount: 
$19,351

An, Linh My

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
California, Los Angeles, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 3, 2010
Project Title: 
An, Linh My, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Mental Illness among Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Douglas Wood Hollan

LINH MY AN, then a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, too aid research on 'Mental Illness among Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Douglas Wood Hollan. This study investigated the responses to mental illness in Chinese immigrant families in New York City. More specifically, it examined how cultural notions of self, emotional experience, behavioral rules, mental illness, kinship structure, and morality of caring interact with economic and social processes to influence the way females caregivers deal with relatives who are schizophrenic. The overwhelming majority of previous studies of families and mental illnesses focus only on negative aspects of caregiving or the subjective experience of the patient. This previous work has underemphasized and underexplored how families interact to construct shared perspectives of mental illness, normalcy, and recovery. In contrast, this research utilized ethnographic observations and interviews to understand how meaning is constructed in everyday family interactions. It is hoped that study results will complement and extend current understanding of mental illness among immigrant groups who experienced renegotiation of familial and gender roles in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Grant Year: 
2010
Award Amount: 
$14,968