Parks, Maria Shannon, Texas A&M U., College Station, TX - To aid research on 'Testing the Subsistence Model for the Adoption of Ceramic Technology among Coastal Foragers of Southeastern Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lori Ellen Wright
MARIA SHANNON PARKS, then a student at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Testing the Subsistence Model for the Adoption of Ceramic Technology among Coastal Foragers of Southeastern Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright. This study tests two competing models for the adoption of ceramic technology among fisher-huntergatherers off the Atlantic coast of southeastern Brazil (5000 to 600 BP). The subsistence model argues that the adoption of pottery among hunter-gatherers signals a change in diet and/or food processing techniques. Conversely, the prestige model claims that pottery is introduced for social feasting, and as serving vessels for an elite segment of the populace. To test whether a significant change in diet occurred after the introduction of pottery at coastal sites in southeastern Brazil, a stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of skeletal remains from pre-ceramic and ceramic occupations was conducted. Preliminary results indicate no significant difference in mean diet between the pre-ceramic and ceramic occupations. Results also show that prehistoric groups from both time periods relied heavily on marine protein and plant foods from the nearby Atlantic Forest for their subsistence. At this time, these results lend greater support for the prestige model of the adoption of ceramic technology among hunter-gatherer populations.
Embuldeniya, Gayathri Eugenie, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Producing the Homeland from Elsewhere: The Changing Place-making Practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock
GAYA EMBULDENIYA, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Producing the Homeland from Elsewhere: The Changing Place-Making Practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto,' supervised by Dr. Mary E. Hancock. The research investigated how immigrants remember, recreate, and transform place, by producing it in a new locale. In particular, this research investigated the place-making practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto, and how these commitments to both village and desired nation-state (uur and Tamil Eelam) have changed over time. The concept of 'place' structures Tamil identities in multiple ways: village associations reproduce old village networks in Toronto; place as the desired nation-state of Tamil Eelam is of importance to many; and Tamil settlement has itself coalesced around certain neighborhoods of Toronto and Scarborough. However, place-making practices have also changed over time and across generations, the most recent shift being heralded by the Tamil protests that took place over six months in Toronto, as the end of Sri Lanka's 25-year old civil war drew near. The significance of this research lies in the ethnographic data it provides on how place may be transported and reproduced in a new socio-political and geographic locale. It contributes to scholarship on space, place, and memory, by suggesting that place-making practices must also be localized in time, and understood as inflected by temporal socio-political events.
Tallman, Melissa Christine, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Postcranial Variation in Plio-Pleistocene Hominins of Africa,' supervised by Dr. Eric Delson
MELISSA TALLMAN, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received an award in April 2006 to aid research on 'Postcranial Variation in Plio-Pleistocene Hominins of Africa,' supervised by Dr. Eric Delson. One of the most interesting questions regarding human origins is the acquisition of bipedal posture, which is related to the degree of locomotor mosaicism present in Plio-Pleistocene hominins. This study is a comprehensive analysis including both unassociated and associated fossil postcranial remains. It addresses a series of important questions regarding human evolution in Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene including: 1) if there are postcranial difference that are characteristic of specific Plio-Pleistocene hominin species; and 2) what those differences indicate about types of locomotion that would have been used. Data were collected using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics (3D-GM). In 3D-GM, data is collected as a group of x,y,z, coordinate points (landmarks). The greatest advantages of 3D-GM as opposed to traditional linear measurements are that information is retained about the relationships among measurements in three-dimensional space, and shape changes can be visualized. Data were collected on all fossil humeri, radii, ulnae, femora, and tibiae dating from 3.5 - 1.5 Ma. These data will be compared to a number of extant samples, including: modern humans (four different populations), gorillas (G. g. gorilla and G. g. graueri), chimpanzees (P. t. schweinfurthii and P.t. troglodytes), and bonobos ( P. paniscus).
Johnson, Amanda Caroline, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Twitter and the Body Parodic: Global Circulation of a Speech Genre,' supervised by Dr. Graham Jones
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the global circulation of Twitter parody accounts as a genre of social critique, asking how parody and the parodic voice are collaboratively created by the users and architects of Twitter. For while parodists animate accounts and, with interlocutors, co-create characters, the platform's architects shape expressive parameters through policies, affordances, and ideologies. As the Twitter platform expands, it increasingly comes into contact with a variety of legal regimes, censorship apparatuses, and cultural expectations that challenge the Twitter corporation's core values. No expressive form epitomizes such conflict more strongly than Twitter parody accounts, particularly those that 'animate' (Goffman 1981) the voices of political figures. Parody accounts serve as a flash point for legal issues of author's rights, impersonation, and defamation, with national and international dimensions. This project thus also examines shifting concepts of political participation and sovereignty. How do new communication resources spark negotiation of community affiliation and social power, and how do media actors navigate within and beyond traditional legal frameworks? To investigate these questions, this project combines organizational ethnography within Twitter itself--spanning the company's domestic and international operations--with comparative linguistic anthropological research on Twitter parodists and parody accounts that target regional politics in the United States, the Arab world, and Japan. It thus offers an alternative approach to both the media producer/consumer dyad and the online/offline binary, instead considering the Twitter participation ecology as a whole.
Navarro, Tamisha D., Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on ''Culture' vs. 'Progress': Economic Development in the United States Virgin Islands,' supervised by Dr. Charles Piot
TAMISHA D. NAVARRO, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on ''Culture' vs. 'Progress': Economic Development in the United States Virgin Islands,' supervised by Dr. Charles Piot. In the fall of 2008, the financial sector of the US economy was in trouble. As a result of the failure of several major investment banks, a possible rescue package of Wall Street by the federal government became a topic of much discussion. In the U.S. Virgin Islands -- and particularly on the island of St. Croix -- this issue had particular resonance as a result of the 1991 establishment of the Economic Development Commission (EDC), a development initiative that closely linked the economic fate of this tiny island to developments on Wall Street. The EDC focused on attracting capital investment to the USVI by offering significant tax exemptions to companies, primarily investment firms, willing to locate to these islands. Since its inception, the EDC has provoked struggles among local senators, the USVI regional legislature, the US federal government, international businessmen and their wives, and the community of St. Croix at large. The research explores the various effects of the EDC by focusing on the new divisions that have emerged within St. Croix between 'EDC people' and US Virgin Islanders. These are divisions organized along the axes of race, class, gender, and notions of belonging in ways that recall an earlier history of colonial exploitation within the Caribbean but that also articulate with the new exigencies of today's global moment.
Dattatreyan, Ethiraj Gabriel, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Central Peripheries: Migrant Youth, Popular Culture, and the Making of 'World Class' Delhi,' supervised by Dr. John L. Jackson Jr.
Preliminary abstract: India's economic liberalization has spurred a tremendous influx of migrants to India's city centers, from near and far, in search of new livelihoods (Fernandes, 2006; Searle, 2010). Delhi, for instance, has nearly tripled in population since the early 1990s due to in-migration (censusindia.gov, 2011). These migrants, like migrants around the world, strive to adapt to their new surroundings by producing themselves in ways which make them socially, economically, and politically viable (Glick-Schiller et al, 2006; Vertovec, 2011). My project examines how recent international and intranational immigrant youth -- Nepalis, Sikkimese, Assamese, and Nigerians -- who have come to Delhi to partake in its economic possibilities and, in some cases, to escape political uncertainty, are utilizing globally circulating popular cultural forms to make themselves visible in a moment when the city strives to recast its image as a world class destination for roaming capital (Roy, 2011). I focus on one super diverse (Blommaert, 2012; Vertovec, 2007) unauthorized settlement community in South Delhi to explore the citizenship making claims of immigrant youth who, to date, have been virtually invisible in academic and popular narratives of the city. Specifically, I follow 30 ethnically diverse young people from this settlement community as they engage with hip hop, a popular cultural form originating in Black American communities in the 1970s (Chang, 2005; Morgan, 2009). As hip hop's music and its practices gain popularity amongst youth in Delhi from across a wide spectrum of class and ethnic positions, I will trace how these migrant youth utilizing its styles and its globally reaching networks to fashion themselves and, perhaps, their settlement community as part of a world class urbanity in the making.
Smith, Abigail Chipps, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Mobility and Urbanism: The Place of Mobile Pastoralists in Mali's Iron Age Cities,' supervised by Dr. Fiona B. Marshall
ABIGAIL C. SMITH, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Mobility and Urbanism: The Place of Mobile Pastoralists in Mali's Iron Age Cities,' supervised by Dr. Fiona B. Marshall. This project investigates the relationship between mobile pastoral groups and urban populations in the past, focusing on the site of Jenné-jeno and its surrounding landscape. The project draws on four months of extensive excavation at two archaeological sites, Tato à Sanouna and Thiel, near the modern town of Djenné in Mali's Inland Niger Delta. Multiple lines of evidence are used to identify past modes of life in these sites and at the well-known ancient city of Jenné-jeno between about 200 to 1500 CE, particularly the interrelationship between sedentary urbanism, subsistence specialization, and mobile pastoralism. As the first large-scale excavation of smaller, outlying sites in the area, this project increases our understanding of the extent and variability of local human settlement. Additionally, the project's focus on subsistence and specialization provides empirical data about the trajectories of West African pastoralism and agriculture. This information enables discussion of the role of pastoral populations in the Jenné-jeno urban system and impacts our understanding of Jenné-jeno's trade relationships and political organization. Given the unique trajectories of African food production when compared to other world areas, this project is an important contribution to our understanding of variability in global pastoral strategies and mobile-sedentary interactions.
Hillewaert, Sarah Marleen, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Language, Space, and Identity: Linguistic Practices among Youth in Lamu, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
SARAH M. HILLEWAERT, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Language, Space, and Identity: Linguistic Practices among Youth in Lamu, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. Investigating linguistic practices among youth of Lamu Island (Kenya), this research set out to provide new understandings of the complex relation between language and agency, exploring how everyday linguistic and semiotic practices can be constitutive in redefinitions of identities. A two-year research period on Lamu Island revealed how youth actively exploit and redefine the linkage between stylistic variation and social identities, statuses, and value systems to monitor social relations in a context of rapid change. Data collection revealed a linguistic complexity on Lamu Island, inextricably tied up with the island's historical social stratification. Over six Swahili dialects spoken by different ethnic groups reflect social identities that coincide with spatial divisions on the island. As economic, political and social changes come to undermine these historical social structures, linguistic practices become crucial in monitoring social relations. While spatial divisions remain, youth actively exploit changes in mobility (i.e. movement through the town, across spatial divides) as well as linguistic and semiotic practices to defy ascribed social identities. Switching and mixing of dialects, combined with changes in occupation of social space demonstrate how youth endeavor to challenge historically established ideologies. As changes in mobility proved to play a crucial role in this challenging of social identities, the researcher was forced to investigate the impact of different notions of mobility (i.e. the actual movement through space but also use of cell phone, satellite tv) on notions of identity and language practices. Analysis also indicates that an important gender aspect needs to be included in the research's theoretical considerations, as the cultural restrictions in mobility have forced women, more so than man, to exploit linguistic practices in their attempts to redefine their position in Lamu Society.
Meharie, Anduamlak, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Development and Displacement in Peri-Urban Areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Impacts on Youth and Households,' supervised by Dr. Peter D. Little
ANDUAMLAK MEHARIE, then a student at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Development and Displacement in Peri-Urban Areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Impacts on Youth and Households,' supervised by Dr. Peter Little. The study examined the coping and adaptive strategies of displaced individuals and households in Yeka Tefo, a peri-urban farming community on the eastern part of Addis Ababa. The study examined how these strategies, on the one hand, reduce risks associated with displacement, and on the other, how these strategies affect intergenerational and other social relations within the community. More specifically, the study investigated whether the dislocation of peasants from their farms provides youth with independence from parental control over land, on-farm employment, and social obligations, so they can pursue other livelihood opportunities, such as education, wage employment, and entrepreneurship. The study further explored the impact of youth’s decisions on intra-household and intra-community relationships and livelihood security. The fieldwork lasted twelve months during which qualitative and quantitative data from two adjacent communities in the eastern side of Addis Ababa were collected.
Chart, Hilary Rebecca, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Becoming Business People: Emergent and Contested Forms of Entrepreneurship in Urban Botswana,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Junko Yanagisako
HILARY R. CHART, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Becoming Business People: In Pursuit of Entrepreneurship in Botswana,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Yanagisako. In Botswana's capital city, it seems everyone is 'in business' as men, women, youth, elders, wealthy professionals, and the poor and unemployed alike describe their entrepreneurial activities with enthusiasm. This is hardly surprising in the context of soaring unemployment and heavy government promotion of small business. Yet widespread claims of entrepreneurship are new here and based on tremendously diverse practices that are fiercely contested. There is much debate over what counts as 'real business,' who can legitimately claim to be an entrepreneur, and what practices-including the religious, illicit, and occult-may fuel or undermine success. These debates are enlivened by personal struggles and moral convictions and complexly invoke the politics of class, gender, ethnicity, and generation. Drawing on eighteen months of ethnographic research with state entrepreneurship promoters and their clients-teachers and students of business in primary, secondary, and tertiary classrooms, as well as diverse entrepreneurs operating in a single urban neighborhood-the research approaches business as more than a pre-defined set of economic activities. Amidst global trends of rising unemployment, flexibility, and insecurity, and the worldwide expansion of micro-enterprise initiatives, the dissertation explores how business emerges as a cultural production that profoundly makes (and re-makes) social fields, if not always money.