McLachlan, Amy Leia, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Cultivating Futures: Botanical Economies and Knowledge Ecologies in Migrant Colombian Amazonia,' supervised by Dr. Joseph P. Masco
Preliminary abstract: The life histories and life projects of contemporary Uitoto communities are intimately tied to the social lives of sacred and increasingly commodified Uitoto plants. The Uitoto, an indigenous group from the central Colombian Amazon, describe and interact with the nourishing, medicinal, and magical plants that populate their 'chagras' (swidden gardens) as divine and powerful persons, social actors who provide the foundations of human life, thought, and agency. At the same time, many of those plant species are being taken up in global narcotic and pharmaceutical economies as sources of profit and healing, and in national scientific and activist practices, according to radically different logics. Sacred Uitoto plants are increasingly at the center of emergent sites of knowledge production and circulation in which indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge traditions are being translated into national, capitalist, and scientific regimes of value. In this context, an ethnography of Uitoto migrant cultivators and the plants that connect them to one another and to multiple intersecting political and economic regimes, offers a particularly useful vantage onto both the structural transformations that have shaped the Colombian political and economic landscape over the past century, and the intimate negotiations of life and loss that characterize the lives of Colombians 'desplazados' (displaced persons) today. This project proposes that in their efforts to nurture sacred plants and ethnobotanical knowledge traditions, Uitoto migrants are not only working to maintain material and cultural connections to their pasts and points of origin, but are actively reworking their relations to one another, the state, and the global economies with which they are increasingly entangled.
Johari, Radhika, York U, Toronto, Canada -To aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani
RADHIKA JOHARI, then a student at York University, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani. This doctoral research critically examined how environmental perceptions and practices have been shaped at the interface of past and current paradigms of conservation and resource-based livelihoods development within the recently concluded Indo-German Changar Eco-Development Project in Himachal, India. Adopting a multi-sited ethnographic approach, it has contextualized these articulations of environment and enterprise building within a wider framework of historical and current resource rights and property regimes. It has demonstrated how an increasingly influential paradigm of neoliberal market-centered development has structured project interventions, and how in turn these interventions have been refracted by a deeply entrenched and intersecting politics of knowledge, identity and place. The research identified and explored these points of refraction, for example, within project discourses and practices of knowledge production and valuation and in plantation and livelihoods development strategies. In doing so, it revealed how environmental and entrepreneurial knowledges and practices have intersected with existing social, economic, and political relations, as well as property relations, in ways that have significantly shaped perceptions, norms, and practices around environmental resources. In sum, the research provides a grounded critique of prevailing efforts to converge conservation and resource-based livelihoods and the reasons for their disjunctures in practice.
Smith, Ricky Wayne Aldon, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Assessing the Epigenetic Effects of Social Inequalities, Malnutrition, and Violence in the Pre-Hispanic Americas,' supervised by Dr. Deborah Bolnick
Preliminary abstract: In socially stratified populations, some individuals often bear disproportionately large burdens of adversity in ways that are mediated by status, gender, and ethnic differences. Thus, harmful experiences such as violence and malnutrition can affect some people more than others, and social inequalities can become manifested as biological inequalities in a society. Bioarchaeological studies of ancient populations provide a valuable window into these processes because violence and malnutrition leave marks on human remains that can be identified in the archaeological record. In addition to visible effects on flesh and bone, violence and malnutrition can also have effects at the molecular level. These harmful experiences can cause chemical modifications to DNA known as cytosine methylation, stable changes in DNA structure that can result from social and environmental conditions. This study will utilize recent developments in the emerging field of paleoepigenetics to reconstruct cytosine methylation patterns in ancient DNA. Through a comparative analysis of individuals buried at two archaeological sites in the pre-Hispanic Americas -- La Plata in the American Southwest, and the Wari ruin of Conchopata in the central Peruvian Andes -- this research will explore whether patterns of cytosine methylation can be used to detect the effects of violence and malnutrition that characterized daily life at these ancient sites. Further, this project will assess whether patterns of cytosine methylation reflect social inequalities in two ancient societies.
Kim, Kiho, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'New Vineyards in Old Villages: Modernity and Temporality in China's Wine Industry,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar
KIHO KIM, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'New Vineyards in Old Villages: Modernity and Temporality in China's Wine Industry,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar. In China, the wine industry is a state-sponsored project invested in gaining global recognition for the nation's cultural competitiveness, and presented as a catalyst for extending the efficiency of industrial agriculture in rural areas. Local governments provide wine companies with favorable terms in taxation and land contracts, and large-scale vineyards are expanding into vast areas of rural farmland on which villagers used to retain individual land-use rights and plant grain and vegetables. The ethnographic research of China's wine industry illuminates differing discourses of quality on products and humans, and demonstrates how they contend and negotiate with each other to claim legitimate paths of development. In Shandong Province, wine companies project a model of industrial agriculture and labor management while claiming the farming practices of Chinese villagers as inefficient or 'backwards' (luohou). Local officials and winery managers often blame the personal quality (suzhi) of local farmers for the low quality of wine grapes. In conclusion, the state project of the wine industry frames villagers into the 'old, inefficient' minds accustomed to memories of collective production and quantity-oriented production, and aims at advocating the realization of 'a new countryside' (xin nongcun) and 'new peasants' (xin nongmin) in rural villages.
Zorbas, Konstantinos, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Interactions Between Shamans and Clients in a Siberian City,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
KONSTANTINOS ZORBAS, while a student at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, was awarded a grant in March 2003 to aid research on interactions between shamans and clients in a Siberian city, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. Zorbas studied episodes of illness and performances of shamanic healing in the city Kyzyl, Republic of Tyva, Russia. Focusing principally on healing interactions between shamans and their clients, he found that occurrences of psychosomatic suffering were effectively managed by being explained as results of witchcraft or curses practiced by an enemy. Follow-up evaluations of patients' post-treatment conditions led to the conclusion that shamanic healing entailed therapeutic effects, even for clients who reported prior recourse to professional medical treatment with partial or no positive results. The efficacy of shamanic healing was seen to lie in the use of certain literal and metaphoric elements of ritual language that engaged both shaman and patient in a process of recollecting and restructuring traumatic memories. Similarities in the responses elicited from shamans and patients regarding their experiences of the therapeutic process suggested that the experience of healing was embodied through culturally mediated sensory modes of attention to the performance. Zorbas concluded that the meaning the experience of illness held for the patient derived from a psychologically embedded preoccupation with cursing and its implications. Shamanic healing went beyond the limits of the consultation to evoke an overall transformation in the patient's awareness of self.
Hampel, Amir, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Changing Selves in a Transforming Society: How Shy Chinese Learn the Virtues of Self Assertion,' supervised by Dr. Richard Allan Shweder
AMIR HAMPEL, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Changing Selves in a Transforming Society: How Shy Chinese Learn the Virtues of Self Assertion,' supervised by Dr. Richard A. Shweder. Over the past few years, psychological discourses have permeated popular media and daily life in China. The current research has discovered that psychologists and other actors use psychology to critique Chinese culture's perceived effacing of the individual, while establishing communication and self-actualization as important values. These values are influencing how young Chinese people evaluate themselves, and are leading many of them on projects to remodel their personalities and their lives. Participation in personal growth seminars in Beijing and analysis of self-help literature has revealed much about who people wish to become. Many ambitious young professionals are eager to use the tools of self-help to develop confident, resolute, and extroverted personalities. These characteristics are presented as effective tools for achieving material success, but they are also felt to signal health and potent vitality. In a middle class exploring widening horizons, under the pressures of intensely competitive labor and marriage markets, the longing to be a stronger person fuses with a desire to realize one's dreams. By cultivating the confident and extroverted personalities they idealize, people hope to attract attention and financial opportunity; at the same time, they are also searching for a way past psychological limitations, to personal fulfillment and self-actualization.
Ford, Randall Thomas, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'The Role of Female Mate Choice in Mantled Howling Monkey Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth Earl Glander
RANDALL FORD, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'The Role of Female Mate Choice in Mantled Howling Monkey Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Kenneth Glander. As part of a larger project, this study looked at genetic paternity to compare the results with mating behavior observed in Alouatta palliata. Blood samples were collected on Whatman FTA cards and sent to Therion International for analysis. Of the 8 microsatellite loci attempted, only 4 were polymorphic in this sample. Paternity exclusion allowed assignment of paternity in only 2 of 16 cases. One infant was assigned to a male from a neighboring group, and the other was assigned to the study group's alpha male at the time of conception. Two other cases allowed the assignment of a probable sire based on a rare allele shared with one male, the alpha male at the time of conception. These results are consistent with behavioral observations in which the alpha male appeared to monopolize females when they were most attractive to males. However, the paternity exclusion was limited by the small number of polymorphic loci. Also, there were three cases in which the presumed mother (based on observation, lactation, and interbirth intervals) was excluded as the possible dam. Additional study is necessary to determine the validity of these genetic data and develop more primers that can be used to assign genetic paternity.
Chaparro-Buitrago, Julie, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'The Promise of Empowerment: Memories, Conflict, and the Cases of Forced Sterilization in Peru (1996-2000),' supervised by Dr. Thomas Leatherman
Preliminary abstract: This project explores the relationship between reproductive violence and collective memory in Peru through an ethnographic study of forced sterilizations that occurred between 1996 and 2000. I interrogate how they have become a site of contestation over what is remembered, what is visible, and what is or not legible. Through ethnographic research 'follow[ing] the conflict' (Marcus 1995) I will collect data about this conflict from women's organizations (AMAEF-Cuzco and FECMA-Vilcahuaman), NGOs (DEMUS -Estudio para la defensa de los derechos de la mujer- a feminist NGO in Lima) and state institutions, specifically the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. My project contributes to anthropological scholarship twofold: it will expand our understanding of how reproductive violence is produced as a site where multiple and contradictory projects of visibility and legibility converge. I will look at the social relations that created the conditions of possibility for these different registers to occur. My work illuminates our understanding of how memories of a violent act that curtailed women's biological reproduction are waved into women's efforts of 'social regeneration and transformation' (Cole 2001: 22). How biological and social reproduction are intertwined in women's efforts to make this event visible and reproduce their social relations, communal lives, and familiar relations
Stamatopoulou-Robbins, Sophia Chloe, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'West Bank Waste: Governance and Garbage in Two Post-Oslo Municipalities,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod
SOPHIA STAMATOPOULOU-ROBBINS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'West Bank Waste: Governance and Garbage in Two Post-Oslo Municipalities,' supervised by Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod. This project investigates the politics of waste management in the West Bank. By exploring a spectrum of waste sites and circulations -- from land-filling to cross-boundary sewage flows and the growing Palestinian-Israeli trade in used clothes and scrap metal -- it analyzes the effects of geographical separation, 'state-building' efforts, and continued occupation in the absence of a Palestinian state. Waste is inseparable from the question of value. It also plays on the movement between visible and invisible. To historicize and to observe its routes of circulation, the discourses to which it gives rise and the management practices to which it is subject is therefore crucial to understanding shifts in value, visibility, and the emergence of categories through which people live their lives. With the early 1990s began an era of separation between West Bank Palestinians and Israeli citizens that is now an organizing principle of life in the area. Among the effects of this separation were two major, linked developments: 1) The division between an 'Israeli market' and, in the West Bank, a 'Palestinian market;' and 2) The treatment of Israel and the West Bank as two distinct 'environments,' the protection of which the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA), respectively, are held responsible. Through twelve months of participant observation, interviews and archival research this project examines the makeover of sewage from a public health issue to a natural resource, of household waste from fertilizer to source of public debt and the emergence of spaces within the 'Palestinian market' for the trade in what Israelis discard across the Green Line. These transformations of value intersect with the emergence of important categories such as the 'shared environment' and the 'responsible citizen,' while at times rendering invisible processes such as colonization and the growing differentiation between responsibility and authority. This study thus aims to intervene, among other things, in debates about the implications of separation and the post1994 'transfer of authority' to the PA, over parts of the occupied territories, for Palestinians' everyday lives.