Gonzalez Jose, Rolando, U. de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain - To aid research on 'Time Variation in Mesoamerica: Testing the Effects of the European Contact and Reconstructing Demographic Scenarios,' supervised by Dr. Miguel Hernandez Martinez
Williamson, Kathryn E., Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Instituting Care: Reproductive Health Governance and the Ethics of Humanizing Birth in Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Eugenia Georges
Preliminary abstract: This project focuses on the Brazilian state's ongoing attempts to dramatically transform maternity care in the national health system. Spurred by persistently high maternal mortality as well as decades of feminist activism to demedicalize birth, President Dilma Rousseff has launched Rede Cegonha as her flagship women's health program. Rede Cegonha synthesizes the science of best practices and a humanistic ethics of care to effect what is known as the 'humanization' of birth: a shift toward low-intervention, respectful care in pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Fundamentally, humanization exhorts multiple actors not only to change technical practices in birth, but also to cultivate themselves as caring subjects. The program's implementation follows participatory models of governance that have become a hallmark of post-authoritarian Brazil. Salvador, Bahia, the major site of my research, has historically failed to sustain such models and exhibits extreme health inequities associated with poverty and racial discrimination. Nonetheless, the city has now been nationally recognized as an exemplar of the successful implementation of Rede Cegonha. Through participant observation, interviews, surveys, and archival research across five key sites for the program, I will develop an ethnographic understanding of how the large-scale ethical project of humanization is incited, enacted and experienced by government officials, healthcare professionals, and women and their families. Drawing together anthropological conversations around reproduction, state bureaucracies and policy, and ethics and morality, I aim to generate a theoretical framework for the articulations of statecraft and the new ethics and practices of maternity care taking shape in contemporary Brazil.
Leon, Jeffrey Francis, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Not Just 'Counting Sheep': Isotopic Approaches to the Minoan Political Economy,' supervised by Dr. Sturt Manning
Preliminary Abstract: The archive of administrative texts from the Late Bronze Age complex at Knossos indicates that a substantial wool-production industry comprised of at least 85,000 sheep, and several hundred shepherds existed on Minoan Crete. These tablets focus on just one aspect of a much larger political economy based on the relations between local populations and palatial complexes. Traditional approaches to these relationships (and many archaeological approaches to the political economy in general) have focused on views from the center, emphasizing the agency and power of ruling elites and the strategies they employed in extracting surplus from subjected groups or controlling the means of production. This study aims to provide a complementary 'bottom-up' view of Minoan pastoralism by using isotopic analyses of strontium, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon in sheep teeth to track where sheep were pastured at different times during their first year of life. This data will be used to evaluate Minoan shepherd mobility and herding strategies to better understand how pastoral populations negotiated the social and ecological constraints they faced at the hands of the Minoan bureaucracy.
Bhattacharya, Himika, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Globalization and Medicine: Women's Experiences of Violence in Lahaul-Spiti, India,' supervised by Dr. Paula A. Treichler
HIMIKA BHATTACHARYA, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois was awarded a grant in August 2004 to aid research on 'Globalization and Medicine: Women's Experiences of Violence in Lahaul-Spiti, India,' supervised by Dr. Paula A. Treichler. Drawing upon a hybrid body of work in the social sciences and the humanities, this project seeks to analyze experiences of violence and medical practice in women of Lahaul; a phenomenon, which has to be situated in the context of current and historical global politics in India. The particular form of violence focussed on is, marriage by abduction. Through ethnographic life-history interviews this research examines the unique cultural and historical circumstances of Lahaul, India where 'violence against women' includes the relatively uncommon phenomenon (in other parts of India and the world) of 'marriage by abduction,' and where 'violence' may be understood and defined differently by tribal customs, colonial institutions, traditional and modern health care systems, men of differing ages and economic circumstances, and the women who experience it. A major task of this dissertation is to sort out different interpretations of these meanings and definitions and identify their place in the larger body of scholarly work on violence against women, medical practice and globalization. Put differently, this project seeks to bridge the gap between official and/or traditional discourse and community understandings, in their gendered and globalized contexts. It seeks, further, to include and privilege, in these discourses the understandings and perspectives of women's own experiences.
Pouchet, Jessica, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Conservation and Conversation: Language and the Politics of Participatory Forest Management in Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Shalini Shankar
Preliminary abstract: This project will ethnographically examine participatory conservation governance in the protected rainforests of Tanzania's East Usambara Mountains with an innovative approach that uniquely bridges linguistic anthropology with political ecology. Despite the claims of democratic participation and equal partnership underlying participatory arrangements, the extent to which marginalized residents of protected areas can influence the process is heavily circumscribed. In such political-ecological pursuits to shift land use, value, and tenure, language and communication occupy a central role. Yet scholars of such arrangements have yet to explicitly focus on language. I therefore propose to use the tools of linguistic anthropology developed specifically to address questions of hierarchy, agency, and participation to investigate the communicative mechanisms through which social inequality and ecological degradation emerge in participatory conservation models, as well as the linguistic strategies through which marginalized residents of protected areas attempt to have their voices heard. Drawing on ethnographies of speaking, studies of language ideology, and semiotic theorizations of value, my research will reveal how, within a broader context of material and spatial asymmetries, linguistic practice mediates relationships among people, political economy, and their ecological surroundings; and that it is a crucial, but understudied, aspect of conservation governance.
Fraga, Christopher, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Traffic in Contemporary Mexican Art Photography,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie
CHRISTOPHER FRAGA, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in August 2007 to aid research on 'The traffic in contemporary Mexican art photography,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie. The project sought to analyze the relationships between the changing political economy of the Mexican state and the aesthetics of art photography circulating in publications, exhibitions, and private sales. Over the course of fifteen months of research in Mexico City, the primary researcher acted as a participant observer in a wide range of art world and photography activities, focusing on how individual photographers were responding to the recently elected conservative government's redistribution of state support for the arts. The concentration of state resources in monumental projects (such as the newly inaugurated University Museum of Contemporary Art) has forced young artists and photographers to assume a curatorial function toward their own work, which in turn has pushed their artistic production in new, more critical directions. This project suggests that the poetics of contemporary Mexican photography challenges dominant art historical discourses about contemporary artistic production, rejecting neo-exotic representations of Mexico as a land of perennial, violent banditry.
Van Hoose, Jonathan E., U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'Learning Lineages as Reflected in Ceramic Production in Early Historic Northwest New Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Ann F. Ramenofsky
JONATHAN VAN HOOSE, then a student at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Learning Lineages as Reflected in Ceramic Production in Early Historic Northwest New Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Ann F. Ramenofsky. This project studied the dynamics of interaction throughout northern New Mexico between AD 1500-1750 by examining the flow of information about ceramic technology between Navajo populations in the Dinetah and northern Rio Grande Pueblo groups. While contact between Navajos and Pueblos is certainly of long standing, the nature and intensity of these contacts is debated. This study applied a concrete methodology for examining information flow and cultural interaction based on an explicit model of the ways that different learning modes are reflected in artifacts, and using a wide range of analytical approaches to quantify technological variation closely linked to actions and choices of potters. The data collected from 32 sites are beginning to paint a picture of broad macro-regional flow of easily transmissible information about potmaking (such as surface treatment), but relative isolation and restrictedness in the flow of more detailed information that would require a more intimate learning context (such as firing behavior, coil size, and the hand motions used in finishing vessels). This suggests long-term, constant contact between Navajo and Pueblo groups, but these relationships appear to be characterized by a relatively low level of intimate, close interpersonal contact between potters from different communities. These conclusions do not support the oft-cited 'refugee hypothesis' asserting a large influx of Pueblo refugees into the Dinetah during the Pueblo Revolt period, which would have been expected to result in some merging of Navajo and Pueblo ceramic-learning lineages. Finally, possible boundaries to information flow were also noted within the Navajo tradition itself.
Kim, Christine Soo-Young, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Prescience Studies: Economic Forecasting and the Making of a Future in Greece,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli
Preliminary abstract: This project examines the future that emerges through economic forecasting in Greece. What happens when a form of technical knowledge about the future becomes a matter of broad concern and a basis for decisive personal and political action in the present? Through ethnographic and archival research across several domains of activity, I study forecasting work, the circulation and use of forecasts, and the role of economic expertise in constructing the contemporary nation. This research analyzes a particular configuration of expert knowledge, political exercise, and everyday action by examining a range of practices concerned with future states of the Greek economy, documenting the objects brought into being by these practices, and considering the consequences of a specific kind of future coming to stand for the future at large in Greece and of Greece. Moreover, in focusing on how a specific future is built, circulated, embraced, or refused, I extend anthropological efforts to take up the future as a key site of contention in the present, while inquiring into the conceptual, analytic, and methodological tools for studying the future anthropologically.
Aparicio, Juan R., U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Beyond Human Rights and Humanitarian Interventions: Internally Displaced Persons, Autonomy and Collective Ethical Projects in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Arturo Escobar
JUAN RICARDO APARICIO, then a student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Beyond Human Rights and Humanitarian Interventions: Internally Displaced Persons, Autonomy and Collective Ethical Projects in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Arturo Escobar. This dissertation project explored the production and circulation of discourses, practices, and objects related to the problem of internal displacement along a network that connects international institutions based in Geneva or Washington, with the local initiatives that have been defined as 'collective ethical projects' in two regions in Colombia. The location of the fieldwork sites included the rural areas of the Urabá region, the rivers in the Pacific coastland and offices of national and international institutions in the capital Bogotá, among others. Regarding the rural locations, fieldwork devoted to analyze the complex strategies deployed by both collectives to defend their own ethical projects, and the manifold challenges they are still facing today. From particular enunciations made by participants using a rights-based language to the proliferation of white shirts and flags carried by international officers and activists, among many others, both of these projects are deeply entangled in networks of the human rights and humanitarian global assemblage. In fact, as this multi-sited ethnography has proven, the emergence of these collective ethical projects could only be explained by an analytic that is aware of the different actors, scales, changing strategies, larger contexts and specificities of each region.