Nalley, Thierra Kennec, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Suspensory Locomotion and the Neck: Analysis of Cervical Vertebrae in Living Primates and Fossil Hominins,' supervised by Dr. William H. Kimbel
THIERRA K. NALLEY, then a student at Arizona State University, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Suspensory Locomotion and the Neck: Analysis of Cervical Vertebrae in Living Primates and Fossil Hominins,' supervised by Dr. William H. Kimbel. This project examines the functional morphology of cervical vertebrae (i.e., the bony neck) of extant primates, with the goal of using the cervical spine to test hypotheses regarding positional behaviors in early hominins. Three biomechanical models guided the study's extant component: the suspensory, postural, and head-balancing models. Broadly, results were equivocal and no specific predictions were supported across all vertebral levels for both sexes. However, some patterns did emerge from the results. Specifically, analyses demonstrated that the suspensory and postural models received more support in the lower half of the cervical spine (C4-e7) compared to the upper (CI-e3). Results also revealed that the head-balancing model received the strongest support; in contrast to the suspensory or postural models, this evidence was concentrated in the upper half of the cervical spine. Fossil analyses revealed that early hominins, including Homo erectus, were clearly distinct from modern humans. Univariate analyses found that fossil morphology could generally not be distinguished from other anthropoid taxa, but multivariate analyses of overall cervical shape demonstrated that fossil taxa were most similar to extant apes. Overall, these results suggest that modern human cervical morphology did not appear in the hominin fossil record until late into the Pleistocene.
Danusiri, Aryo, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Sufi Bikers and Arab Saints: Islam, Media, and Mobility in Urban Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Mary Steedly
Preliminary abstract: A striking new phenomenon in Indonesia since the fall of Suharto (1998) is the heightened public visibility of different Islamic groups, which vie with each other in the national capital, Jakarta, and elsewhere for attention. This project focuses on the Sufi-inspired voluntary study groups led by scholars of Arab Hadrami descent. The groups' weekly multimedia performances, which started in 2003, unfold in Jakarta's streets, taking advantage of the perpetual traffic jams by engaging passers-by and halted cars. These motorcades move across and around Jakarta's streets, parks, and other public places, attracting ten of thousands of young adherents. The followers of this movement are highly mobile, using motorbikes and Internet and mobile communication technologies. Remarkably, these weekly events celebrate the Maulid or birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, which until recently, was an annual event sponsored by the State as well as celebrated through a range of vernacular religious rituals. I examine the link between mobility and the formation of (1) an emerging Islamic public; (2) religiously coded public spaces; (3) and urban vernacular networks. I ask the following questions in this project: how do these practices of circulation shape religious experience and address the political interests of the participants? What tactics do study groups utilize to navigate the spatial, social, and political landscapes of Jakarta? What kind of local, national and transnational networks do they have to support this strategy of preaching? By focusing on the mobility of mawlid's people, media, and commodities, I am reinstating the centrality of media and the materiality of religious practices in the process of community making -- something that has been overlooked in the study of religion and media.
Skrabut, Kristin Joy, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Only the 'Truly Needy' Need Apply: Exploring Formal/Focal Intersections in Peru's Fight Against Poverty,' supervised by Dr. Kay B. Warren
DR. STEPHEN WALTER SILLIMAN, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, received a grant in October 2010, to aid research on 'Beyond Change and Continuity: Native American Community Persistence in Colonial New England.' Funding supported an archaeological project on the impacts of colonialism on Native American communities in southern New England, specifically the Eastern Pequot's reservation (established in 1683) in southeastern Connecticut. The project was oriented toward tackling a larger conceptual issue: the problem of discussing Native American societies in colonial periods as either changing or staying the same, rather than understanding how they did both (or neither) on trajectories of 'persistence.' The project had two goals: 1) to search for elusive 17th-century sites from the founding decades of the reservation; and 2) to excavate a newly identified late 18th-century household to understand variations during that period. Despite intensive searching with shovel test-pits in a never-before-tested section of the reservation, no sites sought in the first objective were located. The second objective was met with great success. A late 18th-century Eastern Pequot house site was located, mapped, and excavated, producing approximately 4,500 artifacts, 3,500 animal bones, and 14 kg of shellfish remains associated with what was once a wooden house with window glass, nailed frames, rock chimney, cellar, and trash pits. Its results have contributed significantly to the interpretation of Native American reservation history and cultural persistence in the face of economic, material, and political pressures.
Hewlett, Christopher Erik, U. of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Mobility, Sociality, and Perceptions of Time among the Amahuaca of Lowland Peru,' supervised by Dr. Peter Gow
CHRISTOPHER ERIK HEWLETT, then a student at the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Mobility, Sociality, and Perceptions of Time among the Amahuaca of Lowland Peru,' supervised by Dr. Peter Gow. This project focuses on how movement produces particular forms of social life and informs perceptions of time among the Amahuaca of lowland Peru. Prior to the establishment of large permanent communities, Amahuaca lived in small mobile clusters comprised of closely related family members spread out along small rivers. Thus, Amahuaca kinship and how it relates to changing socio-political forms are central to research aims. Research findings indicate that social and spatial distance from centers of state or centralized power is related to how kinship relations are understood and realized. This relation is not, however, a simple matter of acculturation. The influence or idea of centralized power as one social force is at odds with Amahuaca notions of personal autonomy and close kinship. Amahuaca view socio-political cohesion as necessary for 'advancing,' but deny the centralization of power out of fear of its potential to threaten their autonomy. The varying understandings of kinship, social life, and mobility currently found among the Amahuaca are primarily a result of the struggle to reconcile these dichotomous forms of power. Furthermore, both forms of power have their own rhythms and create different temporal realities. These temporal forms crosscut one another in complex and sometimes contradictory ways.
Mechlinski, Timothy M., U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'How Do They Get There?: Networks, Strategies, and Politics of Border Crossings in West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Kum-Kum Bhavnani
TIMOTHY M. MECHLINSKI, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, received funding in June 2005 to aid research on on 'How Do They Get There?: Networks, Strategies, and Politics of Border Crossings in West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Kum-Kum Bhavnani. The main ethnographic observation that informs this study was collected during the more than 10,000 miles of travel, in various types of passenger transportation vehicles, including converted pick-up trucks, station wagons, mini-buses, and larger buses, across West Africa. While traveling across 23 international borders, as some countries require multiple types of entry and exit control at their international borders (some combination of police, gendarmes, and customs) observation was conducted at 82 security controls at international borders. In addition to this observations were made at 87 internal controls across Mali, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso, for a total of 169 mobility control checkpoints. In addition, 29 interviews in French, Dyula, and English (and often in a combination of two languages) were conducted. Dyula, a local language, was employed in interviews in all four countries, allowing transportation workers to speak in the language they were most comfortable with. Interviews consisted of open ended questions about drivers' work experience, with specific questions about their relationships with their passengers and with security agents. Finally, in addition to the interviews participant observation at bus stations, and in public transportation vehicles while traveling also form part of the research conducted. Over the course of eleven months observations were made at bus stations and motor parks in Banfora and Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), Ouangolodougou and Korhogo (Côte d'Ivoire), Sikasso (Mali), and Sampa and Wenchi (Ghana). These allowed for the observation of the daily interactions between drivers and their passengers, amongst drivers, and between drivers and their union officials.
Chand, Vineeta, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Indian English Ownership, Status and Variation,' supervised by Dr. Janet Shibamoto Smith
VINEETA CHAND, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Indian English Ownership, Status and Variation,' supervised by Dr. Janet Shibamoto Smith. This research addressed the Indian English (IE) socio-cultural linguistic setting, examining the relationship between structural variation, identity, attitudes and personal history for New Delhi English bilinguals. Informed by the fields of sociolinguistics, anthropology, and South Asian studies, the research uses quantitative and qualitative analytic linguistic methodologies, in conjunction with close ethnographic observation, to address socio-cultural questions. Modern alternative multilingual settings raise important theoretical questions about applying variationist methods in new contexts, and interrelationships between language change, shifts in linguistic ideologies, and sociolinguistic identity. Drawing on 50-plus hours of informal conversations and ethnographic fieldwork, significant links were uncovered between linguistic practices, ideologies, and evolving historical backdrops, wherein gender, age, ethno-linguistic background, and domestic mobility are each foundational elements of individual urban identity, and collectively are significant for understanding systematic IE language practices. These findings challenge the assumption that oft-considered 'basic' social factors, widely used in variationist studies, are adequate to account for alternative, third-world settings, underscoring the importance of ethnographic and qualitative data for interpreting language practices. This project also examined processes and results of globalization and localization, demonstrating that IE's development as a distinct English dialect is intertwined with the emergence of a locally valuable, urban Indian identity.
Samli, Sherife Ayla, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Containing the Future: The Hope Chest in Contemporary Urban Turkey,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion
AYLA SAMLI, then a student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Containing the Future: The Hope Chest in Contemporary Urban Turkey,' supervised by Dr. James D. Faubion. This research investigated the hope chest, or çeyiz, as an indicator of changes in women's status in Istanbul, Turkey. A time-honored tradition central to wedding preparations, the hope chest has undergone extreme changes recently, reflecting larger changes in family structure, women's education, and love relationships. This research explored the changing çeyiz as a commodity, a family keepsake, a national symbol, and as a transitional object accompanying the bride into her new home. To understand the çeyiz and its manifold implications, research was undertaken at merchant centers, handiwork courses, wedding-related stores, and in family homes. Intergenerational interviews among families and interviews with brides and grooms explored the hope chest as a negotiated object -- something created and accumulated through bargaining. Implicit to the hope chest was a discussion how young women and their mothers had different expectations regarding women's roles. The data suggests that education, above all other factors, critically shapes women's attitudes toward their hope chests, their expected gender roles in marriage, and their negotiating power in both household purchases and wedding arrangements.
Haas, Bridget Marie, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Producing Subjects in the U.S. Political Asylum Process,' supervised by Dr. Janis H. Jenkins
BRIDGET MARIE HAAS, then a student at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Producing Subjects in the U.S. Political Asylum Process,' supervised by Dr. Janis H. Jenkins. This research investigated the U.S. political asylum process, focusing on the experiences of Cameroonian asylum seekers in the urban Midwest. Recent changes in immigration law and policies have made the asylum process more challenging and asylum claimants often find themselves in protracted situations of uncertainty. The contemporary climate surrounding immigration has provided the grantee an important opportunity to ethnographically examine how discourses of human rights and trauma, on the one hand, and discourses of national security, on the other, come to be enacted on a local level and impact individual lives. Data collection included unstructured, open-ended interviews with asylum claimants; semi-structured interviews with staff members of a human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists asylum seekers; semi-structured interviews with asylum officers and immigration attorneys; participant observation among asylum seekers within their daily lives; and observation in various institutional settings (immigration offices, immigration court). By collecting data in both institutional and social contexts, the grantee documented a) the discourses and practices that institutional bodies (NGO workers, immigration attorneys and officials) draw upon to render the asylum seeker a knowable subject, and b) asylum claimants' responses to institutionally produced identities and the salience of alternate identities and subjectivities.
Zadnik, Laurel, U. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada - To aid research on 'Converting to Mormonism in Madang, Papua New Guinea: Self, Kinship, and Community,' supervised by Dr. Sandra C. Bamford
LAUREL ZADNIK, then a student at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, received funding in August 2004 to aid research on 'Converting to Mormonism in Madang, Papua New Guinea: Self, Kinship, and Community,' supervised by Dr. Sandra C. Bamford. Field research was carried out from October 2004 to October 2005 and explored the sociocultural implications of the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or 'LDS' Church) in Papua New Guinea. The project focused on the multiple ways that LDS Church members in Papua New Guinea have altered their discourses and practices of self, kinship and community. The data collected from this project will be used to contribute to debates on religious conversion processes, as well as 'modernity' and globalization issues.