Trever, Lisa Senchyshyn, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Agency of Images: Mural Painting and Architectural Sculpture on the North Coast of Peru,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Bitting Foster Cummins
LISA S. TREVER, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'The Agency of Images: Muralo Painting and Architectural Sculpture on the North Coast of Peru,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Bitting Foster Cummins. Archaeological and art historical research was carried out at Panamarca, the southernmost Moche (c. 200-800 CE) urban and ceremonial center on the Peruvian north coast. This project was designed to investigate and document the architectural and archaeological contexts of mural paintings known at the site since the 1950s. This fieldwork was successful in re-identifying, excavating, documenting, and conserving all previously known paintings, although some had suffered severe deterioration over time. The project also uncovered several new mural paintings and associated contexts. The corpus of known Moche mural paintings has thus been dramatically expanded. This fieldwork provides the foundation for a dissertation that will advance ancient Andean studies further into spatial analysis of image and architecture, including the phenomenological analysis of how these figurative paintings may have been seen, approached, and experienced within their built environment and how physical evidence of damage, libations, interment, reopening, and later dedicatory acts may demonstrate the ancient reception and memory of these monumental images. The mural paintings of Panamarca were not passive reflections of Moche thought but rather effective participants in ritual performance and in the construction of social memory and political presence on the southern Moche frontier.
Kudlu, Chithprabha, Washington U., University City, MO - To aid research on 'Journey from Plant to Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Commodity Chains in Kerala,' supervised by Dr. Glenn Davis Stone
CHITHPRABHA KUDLU, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'Journey from Plant to Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Commodity Chains in Kerala,' supervised by Dr. Glenn Stone. The study investigates current developments in commodification of Ayurvedic medicine in Kerala, India, and their effects on knowledge and livelihood of actors in the commodity chain for Ayurvedic herbs. Fieldwork has allowed identification of key nodes in the commodity chain and has revealed changes ranging from the routine to the transformative. On one hand, increased commodification has caused predictable shifts in the nature of knowledge contributions and livelihood outcomes for actors at the manufacturing, consuming, and practitioner nodes. On the other, developments associated with globalization, health tourism, and changing demands of domestic consumers have contributed to a dynamic new climate of commodification. The entry of non-traditional stakeholders is causing new paths and diversion for Ayurvedic commodities, sometimes threatening commodity boundaries and causing conflict between the old and new value systems. The industry's interest in globalizing Ayurveda has also brought in pressures of regulation and standardization that sometimes conflict with traditional practices. Although the dynamisms do not extend to the upstream supply, chain which continues to depend on a gathering economy, fledgling developments in farming and industrial cluster projects portend future potentials and constraints. The study examines the responses of various respondents in this context with special attention to changes in the roles and contributions of nodal actors; changes in power relationships between different stakeholders; changes in consumption patterns; and changes in the medicine commodity itself.
Beyin, Amanuel Yosief, State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid 'Paleolithic Investigation on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea,' supervised by Dr. John J. Shea
Beyin, Amanuel. 2009. Late Stone Age Shell Middens on the Red Coast of Eritrea. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 4:108-124.
Beyin, Amanuel. 2010. Use-wear analysis of obsidian artifacts from Later Stone Age shell midden sites on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea, with experimental results. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 1543-1556.
Fish, Allison Elizabeth, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Owning Transnational Yoga: Intellectual and Cultural Property Claims to a Traditional Practice,' supervised by Dr. William Michael Maurer
ALLISON E. FISH, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Owning Transnational Yoga: Intellectual and Cultural Property Claims to a Traditional Practice,' supervised by Dr. William Maurer. Research related to this project took place primarily in Bangalore, Dehli, and California. What the grantee terms 'transnational yoga' is an example of the rapid transformation that forms of traditional cultural knowledge undergo as they are increasingly offered in commoditized form to consumers in affluent and cosmopolitan markets. The research takes two US federal district court cases, Bikram v. Schreiber-Morrison et al. and Open Source Yoga Unity v. Bikram as a starting point. These suits served as the catalyst triggering open conflict concerning the proprietary nature of yogic knowledge. In researching the resulting dispute, the grantee attends to two sets of reactions. The first is that of the Indian state, which is concerned with what it perceives to be the on-going piracy of its national-cultural heritage. The study focuses upon the state's own claim to yoga and its attempt to protect this claim through the construction of a traditional knowledge digital library. Secondly, the research examines the reactions of select yoga organizations, which have also adopted intellectual property claims. In tracing these relationships the grantee shows how not only yoga, but also other cultural objects (such as intellectual property) are contested and reconfigured. In doing this, the project contributes to a re-examination of the tradition-modernity binary.
Staudt, Smiti Nathan, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Ingenuity in the Oasis: An Examination of Early Bronze Age Agricultural Communities in Oman,' supervised by Dr. Rita Wright
Preliminary abstract: This project will investigate the socio-economic foundations of oasis communities during the Early Bronze Age (EBA) (ca. 3100BCE -- 2000BCE) in southeastern Arabia. These relatively small-scale communities demonstrate strategic organizational and subsistence choices in extreme environments and climates that led to the establishment of widespread oasis agriculture communities across the landscape. This project will operate as a contextualized study of settlement patterning and plant cultivation and usage amongst EBA oasis communities in southeastern Arabia through the integration of geospatial, ethnoarchaeological, and archaeobotanical analyses. Decision-making strategies of EBA inhabitants will be contextualized and analyzed using niche construction frameworks that focus on humans as agents of cultural change. This project will examine how EBA communities organized themselves, practiced plant cultivation, strategized decision-making, and, thus, contributed to the maintenance and spread of oasis agriculture communities, which provided the socio-economic foundations for development of complexity in southeastern Arabia.
Junge, Marvin B., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Gender, Sexuality and Citizenship: Emergent Masculinities in Porto Alegre, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft
MARVIN B. JUNGE, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, received an award in December 2001 to aid ethnographic research on emergent masculinities in Porto Alegre, Brazil, under the supervision of Dr. Bruce M. Knauft. During eighteen months' residence in one Porto Alegre slum (vila), Junge employed semistructured interviews, participant observation, community organization attendance, and other research methods to examine the relationship between gender and politics in the everyday-life discourse and practice of neighborhood residents. Specifically, he considered how the experience of the social world in gendered terms converged with understandings of the ways in which self and community were related, particularly understandings conveyed in the government and social movement discourses of rights, citizenship, and grassroots participation that distinguished Porto Alegre's sociopolitical landscape. Junge examined the ways in which awareness of one's relationship to a broader collectivity (incited in political discourse) influenced and was influenced by one's understanding of self and others in gendered terms. By considering different kinds of encounters with political discourse, ranging from direct participation in a social movement organization to 'passive' encounters in daily life, he aimed to shed light on the circulation of political discourse and its complex refractions of and by prevailing gender logics in an era characterized by increasingly heterogeneous representations of gender and sexuality and innovative models of participatory democracy.
Arnavas, Ms. Chiara, London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'What is in a Land Right?,' supervised by Dr. Laura Bear
Preliminary abstract: The aim of my project is to advance the anthropology of citizenship through a study of a social movement for land rights among a peri-urban migrant community in Rajarhat, in the north-eastern periphery of Kolkata, India. This community of East Bengali origins has been dispossessed from houses and land to make way for a new modern high-tech township for commercial and residential use. By exploring the emergence of an anti-dispossession movement among this community, my research will explore concepts of rights within this movement, how they emerge and their consequences for engagements with the state. My research will focus on idioms of rights, practices of claim-making, and self-representations among the community. Using theoretical insights from recent work in the anthropology of politics and citizenship in neoliberalism, I will examine how rights to land are a contested and historically constituted social field. Moreover, I hope to show how, for refugees, land entitlements from the state can foster connections to the site of resettlement, which can become a place of refuge, of belonging, of political and social engagement. Therefore, focusing on this community's struggle against dispossession, I will examine to what extent citizen's concepts of land rights challenge the stability and inequality of neo-liberal notions of rights.
Naidu, Prashanthan, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Placing Smell: Sensing Hydrocarbon Encroachment on the Timorese Coast,' supervised by Dr. Stuart Kirsch
Preliminary abstract: How can the constitution of place be better understood through a more carefully honed attention to the sense of smell? This project investigates the relationship between the sense of smell and perceptions of place among the Mambai of East Timor, especially in relation to recent land expropriation. Since 2009, the East Timorese state and the hydrocarbon industry have encroached upon Mambai land for oil and gas extraction. The industry justifies its territorial expansion into Mambai land through the use of visually oriented technologies such as maps, property documents, and geographic information systems (GIS), that render perceptible the intangible profits available to the industry. Extractive activities also pollute the atmosphere and environment, thereby disrupting Mambai peoples' sense of place, which is primarily conceived through smell. Through eighteen months of ethnographic research in Betano district, I explore the significance of olfaction in Mambai perception of place. In my research I examine how olfactory pollution alters the local smellscape for the Mambai, and affects subsistence activities, and the way they relate to their territory. Through a triangulation of methods that include smell diaries, participant observation, and shadowing industry personnel, I will assess how the use of senses informs the ways that Mambai and the industry conceive of place. This project thus contributes to an anthropology of the senses by showing how places are imagined, lived, and contested.