Cano Secade, Maria Del Carmen, U. Iberoamericana, Mexico D.F., Mexico - To aid 'Political Ecology, Sustainability and Environment: An Ethnography of the Conflict Over Water in Matamoros Region,' supervised by Dr. Casey Walsh Henry
Schiller, Naomi Ann, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Making Media, Making Producers: Community Media and the Production of Collective Subjectivity in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie
NAOMI SCHILLER, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Making Media, Making Producers: Community Media and the Production of Collective Subjectivity in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie. This research examined efforts of 'community' media producers in Caracas, Venezuela, to transform the relationship of the marginalized poor with the state and respond to the Chavez government's political and financial support for their grassroots media projects. Research was conducted among producers from one prominent community television station and three community radio stations based in barrios (poor neighborhoods) of Caracas. The findings draw on participant observation at community- and state-run media organizations and interviews with media producers and government officials. Research argues that participation of barrio-based media producers in local neighborhood projects and in state-run media productions changed the way that producers from poor neighborhoods understood themselves and the state. Grassroots media producers skillfully negotiated the recent increase in the symbolic and political value of their media productions. This project reveals how community media leaders depended on normative theoretical notions about the boundary between state and society to leverage power by asserting themselves as a non-state authentic popular voice, while in their daily practice they regularly questioned, traversed, and challenged the boundary between state and society. This research contributes to an understanding of the intersection of social movement building, activist use of media, subjectivity, and processes of everyday state formation.
Guffin, Matthew Bascom, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Space and Identity Formation among Programmers in Hyderabad's Urbanizing Periphery,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas
BASCOM GUFFIN, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was granted funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Space and Identity Formation among Programmers in Hyderabad's Urbanizing Periphery,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas. The grantee conducted fieldwork with infotech professionals living and working in the western periphery of Hyderabad. The grantee stayed in a gated community to track how rituals and celebrations, daily interactions, and an active email list helped to create a strong sense of community. Visiting informant's apartments and workplaces, research documented how new spaces of work built by multinational and Indian IT companies have created a new sense of comfortable living. The grantee participated in dance and aerobics classes, played soccer, and went to nightclubs, examining the gender dynamics inherent in the body cultures of each space. Traveling in the city and talking with commuters provided a sense of traffic culture in Hyderabad where order is maintained chiefly by concrete constraints like speed bumps, medians, and the relative size and speed of oncoming vehicles. The grantee also accompanied informants to view under-construction apartments and saw how their aspirations were placed in negotiation with the concrete realities of these spaces-in-formation. Preliminary findings reveal that a new kind of society is rising in this periphery, one that valorizes individual socioeconomic and geographic mobility and affirms individual aspirations in part through the construction and use of new concrete spaces.
Luthra, Aman, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Modernity's Garb(age): A Political Ecology of Municipal Solid Waste in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Erica Schoenberger
AMAN LUTHRA, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Modernity's Garb(age): A Political Ecology of Municipal Solid Waste in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Erica Schoenberger. Cities hold a promise of modernity, even as their underbellies (particularly garbage and its management) expose the ideological and material contradictions therein. Using the lens of garbage, this study explores relations within and between classes, the state, and private capital in the process of urbanization in Delhi. This research relies on: a year-long period of field research involving participant observation at an NGO, an association of waste pickers, and at various industry and events; semi-structured interviews and group discussions with a range of informants including waste pickers, activists, academics, government officials, and waste industry representatives; and a survey of households eliciting their attitudes towards waste management practices. Using the concepts of capital, labor, value, and ideology as focal points, this research will expose the underlying interests that produce and maintain certain conceptual binaries-public/private, formal/informal, waste/resource, property/commons-that are fundamental to struggles over waste.
Bigham, Abigail Winslow, Penn State U., University Park, PA - To aid research on 'Signatures of Natural Selection among Populations of the Andean Altiplano and the Tibetan Plateau,' supervised by Dr. Mark David Shriver
ABIGAIL BIGHAM, then a student at Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Signatures of Natural Selection among Populations of the Andean Altiplano and the Tibetan Plateau,' supervised by Dr. Mark Shriver. This research's focus was to identify gene specific evidence for genetic adaptation to high altitude hypoxia using independent, highland populations from distinct geographic regions. This includes the populations of the Andes (Quechua and Aymara) and a population from the Tibetan Plateau (Tibetans). Three major questions were addressed: 1) Is there gene-specific evidence for natural selection among populations of the Tibetan Plateau? 2) Is there gene-specific evidence for natural selection among populations of the Andean Altiplano? 3) Do the Tibetan and Andean populations exhibit similarities and/or differences in genes or functionally different changes in the same genes involved in high altitude adaptation? In order to answer these questions, a variety of molecular assays were performed on the study populations. These included: 1) Using high density multi-locus genome scan data to identify natural selection candidate genes and gene regions; 2) Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) typing in each of the candidate genes to further scrutinize these regions for evidence of selection; 3) DNA sequencing of one gene showing strong evidence of selection in both Tibetans and Andeans; and 4) Association analyses that control for admixture to test for genotype-phenotype correlations.
Rignall, Karen Eugenie, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Expanding Cultivation, Land, and Livelihood Transformations in Southern Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett
KAREN EUGENIE RIGNALL, then a student at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Expanding Cultivation, Land, and Livelihood Transformations in Southern Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett. The project explored the relationship between land use change, land tenure, and livelihood strategies in a pre-Saharan oasis valley of southern Morocco. Research in three communities in the Mgoun valley revealed how changing land use practices become sites for contestations around livelihoods, political authority, and social hierarchies. In the past two decades, local residents have converted uncultivated steppe into agricultural land and housing settlements in unprecedented numbers. This conversion reflects shifts in land tenure systems resulting from transformations in livelihoods and social hierarchies in the region. The research explored these changes at a variety of scales -- regional, community, and household -- and used household case studies to address the centrality of land as a site of political and social contestation. Households with the resources to navigate customary tenure regimes in their favor use these institutions to facilitate their agricultural investments in the steppe. Rather than push for open land markets and individual tenure -- as predicted by many accounts of neoliberalism and agrarian change -- they invoke a discourse of communalism in support of customary regimes. In contrast, marginalized families without access to land resist communal tenure regimes, mobilizing to divide collective lands and secure individual tenure
Galvez, Alyshia F., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'In the Name of Guadalupe: Religion, Politics and Citizenship among Mexicans in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie
ALYSHIA F. GALVEZ, while a student at New York University in New York, New York, received funding in September 2002 to aid research on religion, politics, and citizenship among Mexicans in New York City, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie. Galvez sought to determine the role of devotional organizations and faith-based association in the production of a Mexican community in New York City and to examine the ways in which faith in the Virgin of Guadalupe was the foundation for an articulation of rights by Mexican migrants. Through fieldwork in parish-based devotional organizations dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and the city-wide Mexican migrants' organization, Asociación Tepeyac, Galvez studied the ways in which devotion contributed to the formation of an imagined migrant community and the articulation of a discourse of rights and dignity. Religion has commonly been assumed to be an arena of stasis, but Galvez found that, on the contrary, it was a vector of change, not only in modes of social organization but also in notions of personhood. It contributed to the production of an understanding of self and community with certain attendant rights, dignity, and privileges, even while members of the community lacked access to juridical categories of citizenship and, as undocumented persons, were virtually persona non grata in the U.S. nation-state. Her work contributes to understandings of religion in the transnational experience of migration.
Williams, Erin Marie Shepard, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Influences of Material Properties and Biomechanics on Stone Tool Production,' supervised by Dr. Alison S. Brooks
ERIN MARIE SHEPARD WILLIAMS, then a student at George Washington University, Washington, DC, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Influences of Material Properties and Biomechanics on Stone Tool Production,' supervised by Dr. Alison S. Brooks. Later Homo possesses a derived thumb that is robust and long relative to the other digits, with enhanced musculature compared to extant apes and early hominins. Researchers have hypothesized that this anatomy was selected in part to withstand high forces acting on the thumb during stone tool production. Previous studies indirectly support this hypothesis; however, direct data on loads experienced during stone tool production and their distribution across the hand are lacking. Using a dynamic pressure sensor system and 3-D motion capture technology, manual forces and pressures were collected from six experienced knappers replicating Oldowan tools. Knappers used hammerstones requiring a 3-jaw chuck grip. Peak and strike forces and pressures and impulse and pressure-time integrals were consistently significantly greater on the 2nd and/or 3rd digits compared to the 1st across all subjects. Kinematics data revealed that this distribution pattern was not consistently present during up-swing, however it was established during the down-swing pre-strike phase and continued through swing termination. These results do not support the hypothesis that loads experienced during stone tool production are significantly higher on the thumb compared to the other digit, calling into question hypotheses linking modern human thumb anatomy specifically to stone tool production load resistance.
Williams, Erin Marie, Adam D. Gordon, and Brian G. Richmond. 2012. Hand Pressure Distribution during Oldowan Stone Tool Production. Journal of Human Evolution 62(4):520-532.
Kumar, Richa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on ''Neo-Liberalizing Development'? Village Internet Kiosks and Agribusiness in India,' supervised by Dr. Christine J. Walley
RICHA KUMAR, then a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Neo-Liberalizing Development? Village Internet Kiosks and Agribusiness in India,' supervised by Dr. Christine J. Walley. Prior to the liberalization of agricultural markets in India in the 1990s the state had played a major role in the research, subsidization, and marketing of agricultural produce. Since then, the entry of several multinational agribusinesses using new technologies has been viewed as a challenge to the state, especially by intermediaries who compare such neoliberal forces to colonial domination by the British East India Company. This research focuses on the social relationships between farmers, intermediaries, state, and market actors in the agricultural supply chain and how they are being reworked or reproduced over time. Rather than receding as neoliberal forces become more prominent, the state has, instead, helped make the rural legible to them through supportive legal-economic frameworks, and legitimized the creation of 'free markets' that are, in fact, amenable to powerful manipulation. Both state and market actors have been deeply imbricated in transforming agriculture and both invoke the economic language of growth to justify their actions as embodying what is best for the 'development' of farmers. Through a multi-sited ethnography, this research explores multiple understandings of development by studying the transformations in the interaction between farmers, intermediaries, and state and market actors over time.
Angelini, Alessandro Massimo, City U. of New York - Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Production of Urban 'Knowledges': The Favelas of Rio de Janeiro as Sites of Intervention,' supervised by Dr. David William Harvey
ALESSANDRO MASSIMO ANGELINI, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'The Production of Urban 'Knowledges:' The Favelas of Rio de Janeiro as Sites of Intervention,' supervised by Dr. David William Harvey. This dissertation project explores how symbolic and moral worlds are bound up in the built environment of a hillside squatter settlement, or favela, in Rio de Janeiro. Based on eighteen months of ethnographic research, the study centers on an elaborate role-playing game created by local youths to investigate how representation, scale, material objects, memory, and affect interrelate. Their ongoing game conjures the collective everyday experience of favela dwellers, particularly encounters with violence, discrimination, and exploitation. It also highlights how objects themselves elicit sentimental and sensual attachments to inflect or counter prevailing moral and economic senses of value. Recently incorporated as a 'social project' the site, a miniature replica of Rio, has acquired new attributes as a vehicle for community development and youth pedagogy, but these projects do not always conform to the image of the city animated by the game. In Brazil, an emergent rights and property regime may attend to the material needs of the underprivileged, but may neglect their capacity to imagine. From a vantage point that delves into the subjective world of young favela dwellers, this research thus poses critical questions to debates over how to envision a more just, democratic city.