Wiley, Katherine Ann, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'From Slavery to Success: Gendered Economic Strategies in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,' supervised by Dr. Beth Anne Buggenhagen
KATHERINE ANN WILEY, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'From Slavery to Success: Gendered Economic Strategies in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,' supervised by Dr. Beth Anne Buggenhagen. This project examined women's market work and economic activities including their participation in exchange circuits in Kankossa, a town in southern Mauritania. In recent decades increasing numbers of Mauritanian women have been joining the workforce, a situation that has been exacerbated by the global economic crisis, male migration, and high divorce rates. Given that in people's memories historically women ged (sat, stayed) in their tents and did not work outside of the home, this project asked how their increasing participation 'sitting and standing' (nged wa nguum, a term used for work) in the workplace is affecting what it means to be a woman and a man in Mauritania. It explored how women's increasing participation in work is shifting their roles in their families and society, examining how conceptions about gender and ethnicity are created, reinforced, and challenged through work in this context. It particularly focused on the Haratine (ex-slaves or descendants of slaves) to consider how increased access to work may be altering their social statuses. Ultimately, then, this project explored how women are made in Mauritania, particularly through the sphere of work.
Kramer, Elise Ann, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Mutual Minorityhood: The Rhetoric of Victimhood in the American Free Speech/Political Correctness Debate,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
ELISE A. KRAMER, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Mutual Minorityhood: The Rhetoric of Victimhood in the American Free Speech/Political Correctness Debate,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. It is a curious feature of contemporary American political debates that they tend to shade into arguments about censorship and freedom of speech. Moreover, these arguments often fit into a well-trod metapragmatic cycle: 'You're censoring me!' 'No, I'm not, and by saying I'm censoring you, you're censoring me.' Freedom of speech is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. The dissertation attempts to make sense of this apparent paradox by arguing that seemingly specific and localized arguments about censorship and silencing are actually one of the central organizing tools for a wide range of folk ideologies about power, language, representation, identity, and the shape of the social landscape. The project is based on nine months of ethnographic fieldwork at a state American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) affiliate in the Bible Belt, supplemented by interviews with high-level staff at various political nonprofits in Washington, DC. Through the analysis of the language that these activists used in political and apolitical interactions, the dissertation unpacks the extraordinarily complex notion of 'censorship' in the modern multicultural state and demonstrates that its stakes are not only far-reaching but central to American political life.
Anand, Nikhil, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Water: The Limits of the Commodity and its Neoliberal State,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta
NIKHIL ANAND, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Social Life of Water: The Limits of the Commodity and its Neoliberal State,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta. The research focuses on the political ecology of urban infrastructures, and the social and material relations that they entail. Through an ethnography of 'The Social Life of Water' in one of Mumbai's many informal settlements, the grantee follows the anxious arrangements that informal residents made to get water, and the tenuous ways in which they established themselves as deserving urban citizens. Through eighteen months of fieldwork, Nikhil situated himself in one of Mumbai's many informal settlements to learn of the diverse social arrangements that residents made to get water. He also worked with city water engineers to understand the ways in which state functionaries responded to the petitions of the poor. Through conversations, interviews, and site visits, he learned of the ways in which they see themselves and the work of water supply. This research urges an attention to the ways in which informal residents petition and request community volunteers to mobilize the city's water department to carry out public works. Mobilizing social relations, the poor have made some measured urban gains over the last two decades. Such political practices are not those of rights-bearing citizens, but instead of a very personal, compromised politics that have been enabled by representational democracy and its leaky state.
Peterson, Brandt G., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Indigenous Identity, Environmentalism, and Agrarian Politics in Post-War El Salvador,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Hale
BRANDT G. PETERSON, while a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in December 2001 to aid research on indigenous identity, environmentalism, and agrarian politics in postwar El Salvador, under the supervision of Dr. Charles R. Hale. Peterson examined the establishment of environmentalism and indigenous rights in post-civil war El Salvador as key organizing concepts in new discourses of development, democracy, and the nation. He explored the cultural and political processes at work in the discursive transformation of peasants-the revolutionary subjects at the center of the civil war-and the land over which they struggled into Indians and 'nature,' respectively. Focusing on the rural municipality of Tacuba, where social and physical landscapes had been shaped by histories of racism but where the presence of racial difference was denied in favor of a homogeneous mestizo identity, Peterson asked why people who were Indians by many contemporary juridical and anthropological definitions rejected that identity even when material benefits were at stake. One goal was to develop a language of difference that might take seriously the effects of racism in Tacuba without situating those for whom an antiracist politics would speak in the position of being either proper Indians or denying that racism was an issue. The Indian imagined in official multiculturalism is too easily displaced outside of the time and space of the nation, marginalizing anew those who cannot easily escape the nation. Peterson showed how social boundaries are inscribed in landscapes and suggested that 'nature' and Indians are linked not only in Western fantasies of primitivism but also in their susceptibility to this process of fetishistic displacement.
Eastman, Benjamin H., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'En Tres y Dos (Full Count): Baseball and Moral Authority in Contemporary Cuba,' supervised by Dr. John D. Kelly
BENJAMIN EASTMAN, then a student of University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in August 2003 to aid research on 'En Tres y Dos (Full Count): Baseball and Moral Authority in Contemporary Cuba,' supervised by Dr. John D. Kelly. This project was concerned with the role of baseball in the constitution and contestation of Cuban-ness (cubanidad) during the current 'special period' in Cuban socialism. With funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation the grantee has completed twelve months of ethnographic and archival research in Havana, Cuba. This research has been guided by two inter-related objectives: a study of how historically and currently the Cuban socialist state has deployed baseball as both a public spectacle and a set of embodied practices that perform an authoritative version of cubanidad; and research into how these state-sponsored efforts are popularly received, interpreted, and, at times, contested. Research activities were centered on the following areas: 1) developing an understanding of the current political, economic, and social contexts of late Cuban socialism, including the resurgence of tourism, the effects of remittances, and the ongoing struggles presented by the United States imposed trade embargo; 2) an overview of the Cuban state sports bureaucracy (INDER), ranging from local neighborhood youth teams to the Cuban Olympic Committee, the 43rd National Series, and the Cuban national baseball team; 3) research among baseball coaches, players, and fans, as well as their respective families, including a season-long chronicling of the Havana Industriales, one of two Havana-based Cuban National Series teams.
Wellman, Rose Edith, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Blood, Food, and Sociality in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon
ROSE EDITH WELLMAN, then a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Blood, Food, and Sociality in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon. This research investigates kinship and nation-making in post-revolutionary Iran. Drawing on ten months of ethnographic research in a small Iranian town and two months of popular media and archival research, it explores how Iranian kinship is created through the dynamic interaction of inheritable substances such as blood, acts of feeding and cooking, and Shi'i Islamic blessing -- here described as 'kindred Islamic spirit.' In addition, this research suggests that an understanding of Iranian kinship is critical to comprehending Iranian ideas about national sociality, which is similarly organized by the interaction of inheritable substance (e.g., martyr's blood), public and pious food sharing, and Islamic blessing. The researcher further addresses the hierarchical relationship of blood and food and the unique ability of each to channel blessing and shape moral kin and citizens. This research builds on recent theoretical and ethnographic work on the interrelationship between kinship and nation, and it provides a much-needed portrait of contemporary post-Revolutionary Iranian sociality.
Johnson, Jessica Ann, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'The Same-Sex Marriage Debate in Washington State,' supervised by Dr. Ann Anagnost
JESSICA ANN JOHNSON, then a student at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'The Same-Sex Marriage Debate in Washington State,' supervised by Dr. Ann Anagnost. The research questions central to this dissertation project on same-sex marriage politics in Washington State are: How are moral and family 'values' deployed by both sides of marriage equality debates? How is the 'culture war' constructed by the media and identity-based activism? What do representations of a partisan divide elide concerning relationships between cultural politics and neoliberal transformations in the U.S. political economy? This year-long ethnographic investigation troubles accounts of an incommensurable ideological conflict over the legalization of gay marriage. Fieldwork in Seattle, Washington entailed conversations with leaders and members of gay rights activist groups, conservative evangelical churches, and progressive religious organizations. Through visits to church services and seminars on topics pertaining to gender and sexuality, interviews with lawyers and activists on both 'sides' of the issue, and textual analysis of legal discourse in conversation with neoliberal reforms, this investigation examined how seemingly polarized communities are mutually constituted through negotiations of intimacy, nation, and citizenship. Finally, this study explored how an overlapping domain of political value shaping and shaped by marriage equality debates indexes links in practices of U.S. identity politics, shifts in neoliberal forms of governance, and domestic 'threats' to national security producing the 'war on terror.'
Nonaka, Angela M., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on ''Pasa Bai': Language Socialization of an Indigenous Sign Language in a Northeastern Thai Village,' supervised by Dr. Elinor R. Ochs
ANGELA M. NONAKA, while a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in December 2002 to aid research on '`Pasa Bai:' Language Socialization of an Indigenous Sign Language in a Northeastern Thai Village,' supervised by Dr. Elinor R. Ochs. Ban Khor is a rural Thai village with an unusually large deaf population and an indigenous sign language, pasa bai (language deaf/mute), which spontaneously arose in the community 60 to 80 years ago. Although it once thrived - developing rapidly, spreading widely among both hearing and deaf villagers, and socio-communicatively managing deafness in the community - Ban Khor Sign Language and the delicate sociolinguistic ecology surrounding it are now threatened by demographic shift, socioeconomic change, and language contact with the national sign language. This is unfortunate for many reasons. For example, pasa bai exhibits rare linguistic features that enhance understanding of language typologies and language universals. Moreover, villagers' response to widespread hereditary deafness expands anthropological understanding of subjects ranging from the definition of a ''speech' community' to the social construction of disability. Language endangerment and its extended implications for sociocultural diversity are growing concerns for anthropologists. Despite increasing awareness of the problem, indigenous sign languages and their attendant speech communities remain among the world's least studied and most vulnerable languages and cultures. The project was conducted during calendar year 2003 with three concurrent goals: 1) to document the existence of Ban Khor Sign Language and the Ban Khor speech community; 2) to trace the ethnographic particulars of the emergence, spread, and decline of the local sign language; and 3) to develop a case study examining indigenous sign language endangerment in relation to language socialization practices, language ideologies, and cultural ecology.
Nonaka, Angela. 2004. The Forgotten Endangered Languages: Lessons on the Importance of Remembering from Thailand?s Ban Khor Sign Language. Language in Society 33(5):737-767.
Czarnecki, Jill M., Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Using Human Polyomavirus JC as a Novel Molecular Marker of Ancient Migration in Oceania, ' supervised by Dr. Jonathan S. Friedlaender
JILL M. CZARNECKI, while a student at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in February 2002 to aid research on the use of human polyomavirus JC as a molecular marker of ancient migration in Oceania, under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan S. Friedlaender. Oceania has been extensively studied in an attempt to better understand the peopling of the region. The disciplines that have dominated these studies include archaeology, linguistics, and human genetics. Despite the large body of data that has been amassed, two issues are still debated: the relationship between Aboriginal Australians and New Guinea highlanders and the nature of Polynesian colonization. Novel approaches are needed in order to resolve these debates. Human polyomavirus JC (JCV) has proved useful as a virologic marker of human migration, because of its geographically correlated strain variation and apparent stability over many millennia. In an attempt to clarify the events leading to the peopling of Oceania, Czarnecki generated JCV genotype distribution data from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and used JCV sequence data to compare PNG to worldwide strains phylogenetically. She collected samples from coastal and highland provinces representing thirty-three villages and both Austronesian and non-Austronesian speakers. JCV DNA was extracted from more than four hundred urine samples. Of these, 229 were JCV positive and were partially sequenced in order to establish viral genotype. Eleven of these samples were sequenced in their entirety for phylogenetic analysis. The phylogenetic and genotype distribution data offer insights into the number and nature of human migrations into Oceania and proved JCV to be a useful tool for understanding ancient human migration.
Stenzel, Kristine S., U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid 'A Reference Grammar of Wanano,' supervised by Dr. Jule Gomez de Garcia
KRISTINE S. STENZEL, while a student at University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received funding in June 2002 to aid 'A Reference Grammar of Wanano,' supervised by Dr. Jule Gomez de Garcia. This dissertation fieldwork research on Wanano was conducted between September 2002 and May 2003. The goals of this research are to produce a descriptive reference grammar of Wanano and to aid Wanano speakers to develop a user's grammar and other resource materials for their language preservation projects. Through this fieldwork, the Wanano language database has grown to over 1000 lexical and phrasal entries, 11 oral texts, 73 written texts, and videotaped conversations. Data reveal significant differences between Wanano and other Tukano languages in important areas of phonology, morphology and syntax. Data collected are being used both for linguistic analysis and as a resource for the Wanano in their language preservation efforts. Two of Stenzel's fieldwork trips - September 2002 and May 2003 - entailed travel to the Wanano community of Caruru Cachoeira. Realized in conjunction with the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) Education Project, they included participation in Wanano language and education workshops. Some 100 Wananos participated, discussing orthography and a unified written form, working on a user's grammar, and writing and illustrating texts to be included in their first book, Kootiria Ya Me'ne Buehina (Stories in the Wanano Language). It contains 73 texts and will be publis