Arumugam Karunithy, Jeyanithe, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Violence, Trauma, and the Transformation of Personhood/Identity: Sri Lankan Tamils Making Refugee Claims in Canada,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Robert Spencer
JEYANITHE A. KARUNANITHY, then a student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, received a grant in December 2008 to aid research on 'Violence, Trauma and the Transformation of Personhood/Identity: Sri Lankan Tamils Making Refugee Claims in Canada,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Robert Spencer Tamil refugees have spread to all corners of the world as a result of the three decades of civil war and political violence, exacerbated by a 1983 pogrom in Sri Lanka. Tamil refugee claimants have been experiencing tightened immigration control since 9/11, as they hope to find 'refuge' in Canada, their preferred destination. Under the circumstances of refugee and asylum dilemma, this study is designed to explore the paradox of institutional practices of state, refugee law and psychiatric practices (e.g., the discourse and diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), by focusing on its impact upon the process of transformation of personhood. The fieldwork was conducted in the Tamil neighborhoods in Toronto, involving forty in-depth interviews with a group of refugee claimants of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. The data collected on the claimants' experiences of Canadian asylum and strategies of their identity (re)construction will be used to analyze the politics of recollection (memory), interpretation and narrations of the event by using the oral-histories as narrated by asylum-seekers themselves. In other words, the detailed narratives of refugee claimants (which are difficult to narrate and sometimes violate cultural norms), will be analyzed to understand the ways in which the state's practices -- marked by heavy 'bureaucratization' and 'medicalization' -- trigger suffering of refugees who are at the social margins created by the conditions of 'illegality' and 'deportability.'
Ayuandina, Sherria Puteri, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Restoring Virginity: Hymenoplasty, Value Negotiations, and Sexual Knowledge among Migrant Muslim Women in the Netherlands,' supervised by Dr. John R. Bowen
Preliminary abstract: In many societies, unmarried women must negotiate the tension between premarital sexual desires and social expectations to maintain virginity before marriage (Eich 2010, Buskens 1999, Parla 2001). With recent developments in medical technology and the rise of opportunities for premarital sexual behavior, young women who believe that they no longer possess an intact hymen can now undergo hymenoplasty surgery, which alters the hymen ring to minimize the aperture. While hymenoplasty draws its significance from socially-constructed values of virginity, there is a lack of ethnographic exploration of the phenomenon. Studies on hymenoplasty to date have been primarily conducted by medical researchers who focus on the surgical procedure and doctors' ethical dilemmas. They often assume that the desire for this surgery is evidence of women's oppression. Most ignore the social motivations of the female patients, the intergenerational networks among women of migrant background, and the 'migrant-native' dynamics between the patient and the doctors (Bhugra 1998, Parla 2001). I will investigate the complicated and contradictory social aspects of hymenoplasty as experienced and negotiated by Muslim women patients from migrant background in the Netherlands. The surgery will provide a site to observe the negotiation of sexual values surrounding female virginity between the young women and other members of the community of her background, between the patients, the family, and the doctors, as well as among the doctors themselves, and thereby explore the negotiation of values and of control of sexuality in a pluralistic setting.
Newman, Jessica Marie, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Abortion, Negotiation, and Activism in Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Marcia C. Inhorn
JESSICA M. NEWMAN, then a graduate student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Abortion, Negotiation, and Activism in Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Marcia C. Inhorn. This two-year dissertation fieldwork project was based in Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco. During the first year of fieldwork (2013-2014), the grantee lived and worked in Casablanca with single mothers collectives while beginning the process of obtaining institutional and ethical approvals to begin research in the maternity hospital in Rabat. It took a year from the time of receiving approval from the hospital in December 2013 to complete necessary review processes for the hospital-based phase of the project. An intervening political scandal surrounding abortion and the firing of one of the project's primary interlocutors delayed access to the hospital until February 2015. Despite this delay, the scandal incited a reopening of the national abortion debate, prompting a series of demonstrations, news articles, and an official debate with the patronage of the Ministry of Health. This greatly contributed to the project, and prompted many interlocutors to share their opinions regarding abortion. King Mohammed VI issued an official request for legal reform projects for the penal codes addressing abortion in March 2015. Thus, the two-phase structure of the project not only allowed the grantee to engage in productive research while managing bureaucratic requirements and obtaining official research permissions, but facilitated an ideal positioning in the capital and at the hospital when public discussions of abortion rekindled. Throughout both phases of the project a total of 109 participants were enrolled: 73 Darija-speaking, 31 French-speaking, and five English-speaking.
Doyle, James Alan, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Planned Monumentality and 'Planted' Settlements in the Preclassic Maya Lowlands,' supervised by Dr. Stephen D. Houston
JAMES ALAN DOYLE, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, received funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Planned Monumentality and 'Planted' Settlements in the Preclassic Maya Lowlands,' supervised by Dr. Stephen D. Houston. In this dissertation project, the grantee investigated the origins of ancient Maya civilization at the site of El Palmar, Petén, Guatemala, located in the southern Lowlands of the Yucatan Peninsula. Grant funding provided support for one year of field and laboratory research. The dissertation explores the relationship between early monumental architecture, settlement growth, and abandonment in the Preclassic Maya Lowlands. The dissertation will add to the growing body of literature on the emergence of social complexity in the New World, as well as societal 'collapses' and recovery in the Americas and in the global past.
Doyle, James A., Thomas G. Garrison, and Stephen D. Houston. 2012. Watchful Realms: Integrating GIS Analysis and Political History in the Southern Maya Lowlands. Antiquity 86(333):792-807.
Doyle, James A. 2012. Early Maya Geometric Planning Conventions at El Palmar, Guatemala. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(2): 793-798.
Shapero, Joshua Aprile, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Speaking Places: The Grammar of Space and the Sociality of Place among Central Quechua Speakers,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Mannheim
JOSHUA A. SHAPERO, then a graduate student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Speaking Places: The Grammar of Space and the Sociality of Place among Central Quechua Speakers,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Mannheim. This project examines patterns of spatial orientation in language and environmental practice in the Rio Negro watershed, in the north-central Peruvian Andes. The study integrated ethnographic, grammatical, and experimental methods to show how speakers of the endangered language, Ancash Quechua, engage their physical environment through language and practice, and how this is changing intergenerationally. Ancash Quechua speakers communicate spatial relations by means of allocentric Frames-of-Reference; in other words, systematically using place-names and local topography, as in 'Juan's house is toward Rio Sawan,' or 'the cup is on the uphill side of the table.' This habitual integration of environmental knowledge with the grammar serves as a mechanism mediating spatial orientation in language and cognition and the cultural patterns of environmental practice that constitute meaningful places, such as seasonal pasturing, the collection of medicinal herbs, and place-bound rituals of healing, divination, and sacrifice. The high grasslands called the puna or hallqa are central here. Pastoralism in this zone has persisted across successive periods of political fragmentation and violence in the last several millenia. This study shows that the persistence of complex patterns of practice such as hallqa pastoralism are not due simply to cultural, economic, or ecological determinants, but to a mutual relationship between environmental practice, language structure, and cognition.
Huang, Yu, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Cultivating 'Science-Savvy' Citizens: Empowerment and Risk in Shrimp Aquaculture Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ann Anagnost
YU HUANG, then a student at University of Washington, Seattle Washington, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Cultivating 'Science-Savvy' Citizens: Empowerment and Risk in Shrimp Aquaculture Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ann Anagnost. This research seeks to investigate how, in the context of China's economic reforms, aquaculture has become a site where the state engineers new forms of citizenship to fit the demands of the global economy, and how new forms of subjectivity around empowerment and risk emerge in tension with state projects. While slogans of 'scientific aquaculture' hailed farmers' pursuit of unprecedented high-yields in the 1990s, recently, the focus of science extension has shifted to the promotion of 'healthy aquaculture.' This research traces how scientific aquaculture was produced 'in action' as a result of friction between the state's neoliberal policies, scientists' social aspirations, and farmers' conceptualization of risks. Research sites include stationary sites such as a village dominated by small family farms and a large state-owned collective farm, as well as mobile sites such as science extension activities including fish veterinary training workshops and food safety inspection trips. In addition, the researcher rented a shrimp farm to conduct experimental shrimp farming. Evidence from this project will not only help facilitate more conversations between fishery managers and shrimp farmers, but it will collaborate with both experts and lay people to speculate on the possibilities of new forms of agency in a globalized economy.
Mika, Marissa Anne, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Experimental Infrastructures: Building Cancer Research in Uganda from 1950 to the Present,' supervised by Dr. Steven Feierman
MARISSA A. MIKA, then a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Experimental Infrastructures: Building Cancer Research in Uganda from 1950 to the Present,' supervised by Dr. Steven Feierman. This multi-sited ethnographic project examined the ways in which a new set of research initiatives on HIV-related malignancies are reshaping the landscape of oncology services at the Uganda Cancer Institute. The Institute, a historic site of cancer research and care established in the 1960s, is undergoing rapid changes as it shifts from being 'the place where you were sent to die' to a site of international research excellence. The research phase receiving support examined the ways in which a partnership between a cancer research organization in the United States and the Uganda Cancer Institute is dramatically reshaping the built infrastructure of care and research services. Focusing on the story of two buildings, the project examined the ways in which new facilities and partnerships are displacing and reshaping long established oncology practices that were fundamentally shaped by Uganda's history of crisis, namely civil war and the AIDS epidemic. The project explored the way partners understand the ethics of collaboration, the minutiae of constructing facilities despite vast distances, and the challenges of tearing down old, long established sites in the name of progress. This project examined the political stakes of oncology in the Global South.
Cumberland, Linda A., Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'A Grammar of Assiniboine,' supervised by Dr. Douglas R. Parks
LINDA A. CUMBERLAND, while a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, received funding in January 2001 to aid research on a grammar of Assiniboine, under the supervision of Dr. Douglas R. Parks. Cumberland conducted 12 months of research at several Assiniboine reserves in Saskatchewan, Canada, in order to write a grammar of this severely endangered member of the Siouan language family. Most of the research was conducted at Carry The Kettle reserve, near Regina, Saskatchewan, where the majority of Canada's 50 remaining native speakers of Assiniboine live. To create a temporary speech community where none existed, Cumberland created what she called 'language circles,' bringing together small groups of fluent speakers for a day and recording their conversation. This method of producing spontaneous speech yielded a wealth of forms and information that would have been unattainable in formal elicitation interviews. Portions of the dialogues were transcribed and analyzed, revealing grammatical particles previously unknown and pragmatic use of known forms in novel ways. Cumberland also conducted methodologically standard elicitation sessions in which she recorded a range of stories and songs, including a set of local histories of supernatural events. Data collected during this project were to be compared with data collected in the 1980s and 1990s by Douglas R. Parks (Indiana University) at Fort Belknap, Montana, to write a culturally informed grammar of Assiniboine that reflected regional variations.
Saavedra Espinosa, Mariana, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on '(Re)producing Successful Succession: Colombia's Family Business Project,' supervised by Dr. Annelise Riles
MARIANA SAAVEDRA ESPINOSA, then a graduate student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was awarded funding in April 2014 to aid research on '(Re)producing Successful Succession: Colombia's Family Business Project,' supervised by Dr. Annelise Riles. This project explored recent efforts by Colombian 'entrepreneurial elite families' to rationalize and professionalize their relationship with the businesses they own by means of expert recommended strategies. Through ethnographic methods that approached 'family business' contextually, the research studied its deliberate reconfiguration not only as an expert solution, but as a particular form of constituting relations of kin. Employing participant-observation, in-depth interviews, and archival research, the grantee inquired into the methods, ideas, and technologies involved in the shift in the status of 'family business' from problem to solution in the Colombian entrepreneurial imagination. The grantee worked in spaces where expert knowledge on family businesses is both shared and consumed, and where some of its recommendations are applied, in order to ask: how are different actors reconfiguring 'family business' as a viable and successful economic formation thus constituting and legitimating particular forms of social reproduction? The dissertation resulting from the research will provide an innovative approach to Colombian elites through close-up engagement with the design and implementation of strategies for succession and reproduction of family businesses, bringing into focus the practical and symbolic constitution of the perpetuation of status, as opposed to assuming it on utilitarian premises.