Starzmann, Maria Theresia, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Embodied Knowledge and Community Practice: Stone Tool Production at FistiKi Höyük,' supervised by Dr. Reinhard W. Bernbeck
MARIA STARZMANN, then a student at State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'Embodied Knowledge and Community Practice: Stone Tool Production at Fistikli Höyük,' supervised by Dr. Reinhard W. Bernbeck. Based on an intensive study of close to 14,000 lithic artifacts, it was the goal of this research project to analyze the technological organization of stone tool production at the 6thmillennium BCE site of Fistikli Höyük in southeastern Turkey. Funding supported the research phase when detailed data on individual pieces of lithic manufacturing debris and tools were recorded in order to document the technological practices involved in Halaf lithic production. Going beyond the established categories of formal artifact typologies, both metric and non-metric attributes (type of retouch, usewear, termination, etc.) have been recorded. The evaluation of these data involves analyses of debitage as well as tool standardization and possible forms of spatial segregation within the site and across occupational phases. Similar technological practices -- indicated by artifact standardization and spatial associations -- are understood as the result of shared embodied practices of craft production constitutive of 'communities of practice.' Results thus far indicate an expedient lithic technology with a high level of technological variety. After completion of this project, research results shall be shared with the wider academic community as well as the local public in southeastern Turkey in the form of a small museum exhibit.
Hickel, Jason Edward, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Producing Citizens: Migrant Labor, Trade Unions, and the Making of Political Subjectivity in South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Ira Bashkow
JASON HICKEL, then a student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'Producing Citizens: Migrant Labor, Trade Unions, and the Making of Political Subjectivity in South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Ira Bashkow. This dissertation explores the reasons for long-standing and extremely violent political conflict in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, between rural Zulus affiliated with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and urban Zulus affiliated with the African National Congress (ANC). This project views the conflict as a clash between two divergent moral orders whose parameters were produced by the colonial migrant labor system that separated and differentially structured rural homesteads and urban townships. The moral cosmology that rural Zulus espouse links principles of gender difference, hierarchy, and encompassment in the homestead to social fertility and good fortune. Through this paradigm they interpret the liberal-democratic policies of the ANC -- which equalize persons and dismantle differences -- as a threat to this order. To rural Zulus, 'democracy' promotes a sterile sameness that obliterates the conditions for social reproduction and induces all manner of misfortune, justifying a violently defensive response. This project endeavors to explain violent resistance to democratic policy by taking such resistance seriously within its own moral universe. This approach helps interrogate the Eurocentric categories of personhood and interest assumed in most accounts of post-colonial conflict in Africa, and seeks to increase understanding of how domestic moral values are central to events of political history.
Hickel, Jason. 2012. Social Engineering and Revolutionary Consciousness: Domestic Transformations in Colonial South Africa. History and Anthropology 23(3):301-322.
Mendoza-Zuany, Rosa G., U. of York, York, UK - To aid research on 'Dealing with Cultural Diversity in the Process Towards Autonomy in Oaxaca, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Rob Aitken
ROSA G. MENDOZA-ZUANY, then a student at York University, York, United Kingdom, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Dealing with Cultural Diversity in the Process Towards Autonomy in Oaxaca, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Rob Aitken. Fieldwork was focused on examining the role of dialogue in the ongoing process of building autonomy in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico, a region characterized by its cultural diversity. Data were gathered on social, economic, and political organization of two Zapotec communities that have experienced de facto autonomy and considerable re-appropriation of power. People's accounts of their experience of autonomy have shown that it has been practiced and built on the ground and not 'demanded' as a product of legal changes and political reorganization. The data showed how dialogue plays a crucial role in the accommodation and negotiation of interests, objectives, and actions within the communities and in their relations with the exterior. Special emphasis was placed on levels of dialogue practiced for decision-making and living-together processes within the communities and for interaction with neighbors, governmental bodies, and the outside world. In the middle of power relations, these communities negotiate their autonomy and power within their jurisdictions but emphasizing positive interactions with their interlocutors. Preliminary findings include the observations that cultural difference and indigenous identities are not stressed in the process toward autonomy but local identities rooted in origin and belonging to the communities. Focused on the process of building autonomy and re-appropriating power through dialogue, this research provides an insight into indigenous peoples' alternatives to confrontation and demands focused on de jure autonomy dependent on legal reforms and reorganization of political-administrative divisions in order to deal with diversity.
Carney, Joshua Luke, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Storms Through the Valley: Fact, Fiction and the US Image in Turkish Popular Media,' supervised by Dr. Ilana Miriam Gershon
JOSHUA L. CARNEY, then a student at University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Storms through the Valley: Fact, Fiction, and the US Image in Turkish Popular Media,' supervised by Dr. Ilana M. Gershon. Research examined the publics and discourses emerging around two immensely influential Turkish TV dramas ('dizi' in Turkish). The contemporary mafia drama, Valley of the Wolves, and the Ottoman costume drama, Magnificent Century, relate disparate periods and cater to very different audiences, but both have set the political and social agendas in Turkey due to the uneasy blend of fact and fiction in their plots. The project focuses on the increasing relevance of screen culture in the Turkish milieux through an ethnographic engagement with the publics generated by these shows, touching on conspiracy theory and nostalgia as strategies for coping in an era of multiple modernities, the creation and maintenance of gendered and national identities, and the political implications of the international distribution of these shows.
Schuster, Caroline Elizabeth, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Making Good Money: Microcredit, Commercial Financing, and Social Regulation in Paraguay's Tri-Border Area,' supervised by Dr. John Comaroff
CAROLINE ELIZABETH SCHUSTER, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Making Good Money: Microcredit, Commercial Financing, and Social Regulation in Paraguay's Tri-Border Area,' supervised by Dr. John Comaroff. This ethnographic dissertation research examines the challenges and possibilities of 'Living on Credit' in Ciudad del Este, a booming commercial center on Paraguay's triple-frontier with Argentina and Brazil. Paraguay's economic landscape is configured by extreme poverty and economic inequality as well as extensive economic liberalization. Microcredit-based development projects-small group-based loans collateralized through joint liability-sit at the intersection of free-market orthodoxies and social concerns for poverty and financial exclusion: twin tendencies that mark the contours of Ciudad del Este's commercial economy. The research finds that, even in a minimally regulated free trade zone, economic relationships are highly regulated in social practice through the exigencies of development aid, the logics and accountabilities of financial instruments, ideologies of gender and women's economic participation, and the economic priorities of people enmeshed in a dense web of obligations and redistributive networks. Through eighteen months of fieldwork at a Paraguayan microcredit non-government organization (2009-2010), the grantee tracked the cultural forms and theories of value that anchor the accounting practices and financial instruments of microfinance. The research highlights the fundamental dilemma of banking on social relationships while constantly managing and containing the unstable 'social unit' that threatens to exceed the narrow terms of the loan.
Gurung, Hari B., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Environmental Perception, Cognition, Concern and Behavior: An Anthropological Inquiry into Everyday American Environmentalism,' supervised by Dr. Robert E. Rhoades
HARI B. GURUNG, while a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia received funding in June 2003 to aid research on 'Environmental perception, cognition, concern, and behavior: An anthropological inquiry into everyday American environmentalism,' under the supervision of Dr. Robert E. Rhoades. Anthropology has seldom studied everyday environmentalism in contemporary post-industrial societies, such as the United States. This research studied differences in environmental perception, concern, and behavior, and correlation between concern and behaviors in Clarke, Laurens, and Bibb counties in Georgia as defined by a set of sociocultural variables. The variables comprised level of activism (laypersons, activist environmentalists, and non-activist environmentalists and science/environmental professionals), ethnicity, gender, age, education, income, years lived in county, political orientation, perceived nature of nature (benign, perverse/tolerant, capricious, and ephemeral), perceived human-nature relationships (orientalism/anthropocentrism, paternalism, and communalism), social network, perceived environmental problem (presence/absence), belief in science, personal competence, and social orientation (individualistic, egalitarian). Analyses indicated level of activism and gender differences in ecosystem, environmental state, and environmental protection orientations. Consumptive, aesthetic, and ecological were the primary environmental values held by the sample. Although environmental concern and behaviors varied significantly by level of activism, the sample expressed general environmental concern. Concern expressed and behaviors reported were invariant in the layperson sample. However, correlation between concern and behaviors was weak. Public policies to enhance public environmental knowledge are important to reduce discrepancy between concern and action. Future research into discrepancy in a social dilemma and cognitive dissonance theoretical framework is suggested. Contrary to the much publicized anti-ecological Christian ethics, research participants invoked their Christian belief positively to express environmental beliefs, values, and concern. Religion has received little attention in environmental research. Future research should examine its potentiality as an institution and a medium to achieve environmental sustainability and human survivability.
MacCourt, Anna Elisabeth, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Lord of the Universe ... Among Equals: The Challenges of Kingship in Late Early Historic and Early Medieval India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Sinopoli
Preliminary abstract: This project combines textual and archaeological research to study how kings in India (200-800 C.E.) mediated between varied and competing elite institutions, including religious institutions, other royal actors, and supra-regional powers. The complicated nature of this relationship, described in a variety of literary sources, is best viewed through the land granting system. Using the Gulf of Khambat as a case study, I will examine the presence (i.e. size and relative chronology) of elite institutions on the political landscape, in order to frame the land-granting system with material practices. Because kings give permanent, tax-free land grants to a variety of institutions, including those to which they do not religiously ascribe, textual sources that describe the sacrificial relationship between kings and brahmins do not adequately explain situations in which a Shaivite king would endow a large Buddhist university or monastery. However, approaches which take modern political models as a rubric for understanding these archaeological remains unjustifiably ignore the massive Sanskrit corpus (including not only treatises on politics, but plays, poetry and epics) that debates in detail the nature of elite relationships. My research looks to this corpus to provide the theory which structured political action, rather than assuming that modern concepts, such as feudalism, legitimation or sovereignty are applicable. By combining ancient theoretical discourses on politics and cosmology with empirical research on the Gulf of Khambat, I will challenge the assumed universality of Western political categories.
Blaisdell-Sloan, Kira, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'An Agent-Centered Approach to Contact and Colonialism in Northeastern Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Rosemary A. Joyce
KIRA BLAISDELL-SLOAN, while a student at the University of California in Berkeley, California, received an award in December 2002 to aid research on contact and colonialism in northeastern Honduras, under the supervision of Dr. Rosemary A. Joyce. Blaisdell-Sloan carried out excavations at the Postclassic to colonial period site of Rancho Ires in northern Honduras. Her goal was to record data with which to explore the changing nature of contact to colonial period life for the indigenous people of the Ulua Valley. Specifically, the project was designed to obtain data with which to examine the varied and changing strategies of cultural retention and identity creation employed by individuals and groups living at Rancho Ires as their traditional social and economic networks were disrupted and new ones formed. Blaisdell-Sloan addressed these topics from an agent-centered perspective, which placed a critical focus on the strategic choices that people (as individuals and groups) made as they interacted with colonial powers beyond their control. To gather the data needed to explore these issues, excavations were conducted in four households. Team members uncovered a variety of domestic deposits, which enabled both diachronic comparisons within a given household and comparisons between households at a single moment and over time. The data collected during this field season were particularly well suited for an analysis of architecture, diet, trade goods, and locally produced goods. In combination with data obtained from Rancho Ires in 1983 and 2001, analysis of the materials excavated there in 2003 was to serve as the basis of Blaisdell-Sloan's dissertation, which focused on an understanding of the diverse and changing nature of indigenous life in the face of increasing Spanish incursions.
Robbins, Jessica Choate, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
JESSICA C. ROBBINS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Making and Unnmaking Polish Persons: Aging and Memory in Postsocialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This research investigated how experiences and ideals of aging relate to changing formations of nation and state through the study of contemporary practices of memory in Wroc?aw and Pozna?, Poland. This research sought to understand how older persons become transformed through practices of memory in personal, familial, and national contexts (e.g., telling life histories, creating photo albums and other material evidence, or following public debates on pension reform). To understand how current interpretations and ramifications of the last century's large-scale changes matter in the lives of aging Poles, and how the oldest generations matter to the Polish nation and state, this research consisted of an ethnographic study of aging Poles' gendered practices of reminiscence in a variety of social, political, religious, and economic contexts (e.g.,a church-run rehabilitation hospital, a state-run home for the chronically ill, a day care center for people with Alzheimer's disease, and Universities of the Third Age). This research demonstrated that experiences and ideals of aging are deeply gendered, and that older people's practices of memory are intimately bound up with transformations of persons, collective memory, and nationalisms, and tied to national practices of remembering Poland's past and creating the proper future path of state and nation.
Garcia Sanchez, Inmaculada, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Multiple Worlds, Multiple Languages: The Lives of Moroccan Immigrant Children in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Elinor R. Ochs
INMACULADA GARCIA SANCHEZ, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Mulitple Worlds, Multiple Languages: The Lives of Moroccan Immigrant Children in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Elinor R. Ochs. The last two decades, with its unprecedented proportions of Muslim immigration into both rural and urban European centers, have witnessed the emergence of strong diasporic communities that are pushing the boundaries of traditional notions of democracy, citizenship and identity. In this context, in which the new 'politics of belonging' are shaking the very foundations of societal structures and institutions, understanding the socio-cultural and linguistic lifeworlds of immigrant children has become one of the most challenging dilemmas for policy-makers and social-scientists alike. This ethnographic and linguistic study investigates the lifeworlds of Moroccan immigrant children in Spain in relation to the extent to which these children are able to juggle languages and social practices to meet different situational expectations and are able to develop a healthy sense of social and personal identity against the backdrop of rising levels of tension against immigrants from North Africa and the Muslim world. During 2005- 2006, fieldwork was conducted in a south-western Spanish town with 37% of immigrant population overwhelmingly of Moroccan origin. The grantee documented the ecology of the lives of six focal Moroccan immigrant children (8 to 11 years-old), three males and three females. The data collection was conducted in two phases: 1) a nine-month period of participant observation and video documentation of daily interactional practices; and 2) a six-month period of collection of children's narratives of personal experience. Through an integrated examination of children's narratives of personal experience and of language socialization practices related to intergenerational use of Arabic and Spanish linked to home, peer group, and educational institutions, this dissertation research attempted to illuminate: 1) the ways in which the complex relationship between Moroccan immigrant children and their multiple languages and cultures is intertwined with the multifaceted identities they have to negotiate in different arenas of social interaction; and 2) to what extent Moroccan immigrant children perceive cultural discontinuities across different settings, and how, in turn, they attempt to manage discrepant expectations and distinct socio-cultural world views in actual social interactions.