Clark, Gabrielle Elise, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Apples to Engineering: American Guestworkers and the Law in Three Northeast Labor Markets,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
GABRIELLE CLARK, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'From Apples to Engineering: American Guestworkers and the Law in Three Northeast Labor Markets,' supervised by Dr. Sally Merry. The research investigates what it means to be a non-resident 'alien' worker, as well as what kinds of legal forms are produced through non-resident workers' rights mobilizations. This research is important because, since the 1970s, several million temporary 'alien' workers enter and exit US labor markets annually across sectors, while more state law has emerged to govern their relations with their employers. Through fifteen months of fieldwork, the grantee undertook a legal ethnography following legal professionals as they served non-resident workers, engaged in administrative court-observation, interviewed workers and state bureaucrats (investigators and judges), and gathered hundreds of unpublished case-files from agencies hearing worker claims. When placed in comparison to historical research on past worker claims (1942-1990), this ethnography reveals that workers have lost power in the workplace over time. In the past, the state took a more interventionist role in managing foreign temporary employment relations. Today, as this structure has re-trenched, workers across sectors: 1) often do not consider themselves rights-bearing subjects; 2) do not challenge employers in significant areas of law and work, such as employment termination; 3) encounter a greater range of problems with labor contractors operating in the new privatized framework; and 4) generally lose in court.
Slotta, James, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Dialect, Register, & the Big-Man: Social Organization of Sporadic Linguistic Innovations in Yupno, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
JAMES SLOTTA, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Dialect, Register, & the Big-Man: Social Organization of Sporadic Linguistic Innovations in Yupno, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein. The research has resulted in the detailed documentation of five dialects of the previously undocumented Yopno language (Papua New Guinea). In addition to documenting the relatively stable features of the phonology and grammar, dozens of hours of recordings of natural speech were transcribed to provide access to the more variable and evanescent qualities of Yopno speech, as well as to provide an indication of the textual and social emplacement of Yopno language material in various Yopno communities. The research highlights the far-reaching ways that social, cultural, and textual factors structure Yopno grammar and phonology, as well as the diversity of Yopno dialects. All Yopno speakers have some familiarity with several of the many dialects of the language and use words from other dialects in interactions to construct and maintain ties of relatedness to relatives outside of their patrilineal clans who live in other dialect areas. The tension between patrilineal relatedness as a basis for clan formation and cognatic relatedness as a basis for village and larger units of social organization and exchange gets played out interactionally through the use of linguistic variants. The organization of such multi-dialectalism is an important factor in constructing an adequate description of Yopno phonology.
Hartnett, Kristen M., Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Reevaluation and Revision of Pubic Symphysis and Sternal Rib End Aging Techniques,' supervised by Dr. Brenda J. Baker
KRISTEN M. HARTNETT, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona was awarded funding in May 2005 to aid research on 'Reevaluation and Revision of Pubic Symphysis and Sternal Rib End Aging Techniques,' supervised by Dr. Brenda J. Baker. Determining age at death is a critical step in the process of establishing positive identification of human skeletal remains. While forensic anthropologists utilize a number of skeletal aging techniques, two of the most commonly used standards include those for the pubic symphysis on the pelvis and the sternal ends of the fourth rib. This research evaluates the accuracy and precision of the Suchey-Brooks pubic symphysis method and the ??can and Loth fourth sternal rib end technique for estimation of age at death in adults. During the phase of this dissertation research sponsored by The Wenner-Gren Foundation, skeletal specimens were collected from 604 decedents of known age, sex, and race during examination at the Maricopa County Forensic Science Center (FSC) in Phoenix, Arizona. The collection consists of pubic symphyses and fourth rib ends from 408 males and 196 females, ranging in age from 18 to 99 years. Individuals classified by the medico-legal system at the FSC as Asian (n = 4), Black (n = 20), Caucasian (n = 573), and Native American (n = 7) were represented in the sample. In addition to the demographic information, data regarding the drug and alcohol history was obtained when available. A total of 60 individuals with known drug abuse histories and 47 individuals with known alcohol abuse histories were included in this study sample. Further analysis of all skeletal segments, continued statistical manipulation of the data, and the writing phase of the dissertation have ensued since the termination of the funding period.
Mattioli, Fabio, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Productive Debts: The Financialization of Urban Life and the Magic of Debts in Skopje, Macedonia,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
Preliminary abstract: Despite the promise that the center of Macedonia's capital 'will become like Times Square', the urban redevelopment project Skopje 2014 has run out of money. Yet, local building companies continue to erect new buildings, borrowing materials and not paying workers on time. What drives the continuing production of Skopje 2014's new urban spaces, once debt and not capital is being accumulated? How do building companies transform negative debt relations in productive forms of credit? Based on ethnographic fieldwork in three building companies of different size, this study analyzes the stalled relations of debt within building companies, and their continuing ties to the post-socialist Macedonian State and neoliberal international lenders. This research addresses the way in which networks of reciprocity at different scales manipulate debts to turn them into credits, and the problems of conversion that occur when debts and credits move across different domains of social life.
Salomon, Noah D., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Sufism and the Struggle for Islamic Reform in Contemporary Sudan' supervised by Dr. Saba Mahmood
NOAH D. SALOMON, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in November 2004 to aid research on 'Sufism and the Struggle for Islamic Reform in Contemporary Sudan,' supervised by Dr. Saba Mahmood. While recent literature on Islam in Sudan has focused primarily on the Islamized state and its attempts to create an Islamic society, Islamic activism in Sudan is propelled by a large set of non-governmental actors as well. Sufism in Sudan has a national importance that exceeds the bounds of any individual Sufi organization and is concerned with reforming society by encouraging piety in both worship and daily affairs. This reformism comes in many guises: from promoting Sufi leaders to figures with national relevance, to raising the Islamic consciousness of elite society, to reforming entertainment practices through the propagation of Islamic song into spheres once dominated by the secular. This attempt to create a society with Sufi values and norms is in active struggle with competing claims to Islamic truth, such as those promoted by certain trends in what is known as 'Salafi' Islam (the label 'Salafi' asserting a claim of acting in the manner of the original Muslim communities). Sufi organizations' relationships with these Salafi groups are more complex than mere opposition, and the dissertation explores several ways in which Sufi reformism articulates itself in conversation with the transforming expectations of the contemporary Sudanese Muslim public sphere.
Goner, Ozlem, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'History in the Present: Historical Consciousness and the Construction of Otherness in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Joy Misra
OZLEM GONER, then a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, received a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'History in the Present: Historical Consciousness and the Construction of Otherness in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Joy Misra. This study mobilizes archival and ethnographic methods to interrogate the relationships among history, power, place, movements, and everyday identity formation at the margins of the Turkish state. It focuses on the relationships between historical and everyday state-formation and the making and remaking of the people, geography, and nature of Dersim, as insider-outsiders of the Turkish nation. It analyzes how relations of power and struggle, as well experiences and identities of people unfold through memories and social movements and shift in time with three historical periods: the construction and consolidation of the Turkish state explored through 1938, the massacre, and the following forced migration the Turkish state imposed on Dersim during the 1930s; the rise of social movements and accompanying state violence starting with the 1960s, which intensified with the rise of the Kurdish Worker's Party in the 1990s; and the most recent decade where identity and geography of Dersim have been central to various social and political organizations, through the public recognitions of 1938 and a still growing anti-dam politics. Looking at how outsider populations remember, imagine, and act upon historical consciousness(es) of different events in the everyday, this research contributes to an ethnographic understanding of historicity, state, nationalism, and difference.
Zorbas, Konstantinos, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Interactions Between Shamans and Clients in a Siberian City,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
KONSTANTINOS ZORBAS, while a student at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, was awarded a grant in March 2003 to aid research on interactions between shamans and clients in a Siberian city, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. Zorbas studied episodes of illness and performances of shamanic healing in the city Kyzyl, Republic of Tyva, Russia. Focusing principally on healing interactions between shamans and their clients, he found that occurrences of psychosomatic suffering were effectively managed by being explained as results of witchcraft or curses practiced by an enemy. Follow-up evaluations of patients' post-treatment conditions led to the conclusion that shamanic healing entailed therapeutic effects, even for clients who reported prior recourse to professional medical treatment with partial or no positive results. The efficacy of shamanic healing was seen to lie in the use of certain literal and metaphoric elements of ritual language that engaged both shaman and patient in a process of recollecting and restructuring traumatic memories. Similarities in the responses elicited from shamans and patients regarding their experiences of the therapeutic process suggested that the experience of healing was embodied through culturally mediated sensory modes of attention to the performance. Zorbas concluded that the meaning the experience of illness held for the patient derived from a psychologically embedded preoccupation with cursing and its implications. Shamanic healing went beyond the limits of the consultation to evoke an overall transformation in the patient's awareness of self.
Liebert, Melissa Ann, U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on 'Psychosocial Stress and Culture Change among Indigenous Amazonian Shuar: Integrating Developmental, Biological, and Cognitive Perspectives,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence S. Sugiyama
PROVIDE A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PROJECT IN PLAIN ENGLISH (UNFORMATTED -- WITHOUT BULLETS OR NUMBERED LISTS -- 200 WORD MAXIMUM).
Recent studies among indigenous populations suggest that psychosocial stress is an important pathway through which socioecological changes associated with market integration (MI) shape human biology. Surprisingly, however, little research has systematically investigated this topic. In particular, few studies have examined how factors associated with MI influence children's perceptions of the shifting cultural milieu and how these experiences become biologically embodied to impact stress, life history trade-offs, and health. Given that early life stress can induce enduring physiological dysregulation across multiple systems, research is greatly needed to capture the nuances of MI that affect developmental stress and long-term health.
To address these issues, this project will integrate methods from biological and cognitive anthropology with rich ethnographic data on culture change and perceptions of lifestyle success in order to elucidate how MI affects stress physiology and life history patterns among Indigenous Shuar children of Amazonian Ecuador. This study will examine these relationships among 200 children and adolescents from two communities experiencing varying degrees of MI by measuring two biomarker indices of psychosocial stress [diurnal cortisol profiles and allostatic load (including measures of cortisol, Epstein-Barr virus antibodies, C-reactive protein, and growth)], cognitive models of lifestyle success, and lifestyle data indicative of MI exposure.
Baxstrom, Richard B., John Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Difference and Danger: Brickfields, Tamils and the Emergence of an Alternative Modernity in Malaysia,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
RICHARD B. BAXSTROM, while a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in December 2001 to aid research on the emergence of an alternative modernity among Tamils in Malaysia, under the supervision of Dr. Veena Das. By undertaking a detailed ethnography of Brickfields, a primarily Malaysian Tamil neighborhood located near the center of Kuala Lumpur, Baxstrom investigated the ways in which the Tamil minority community in Malaysia is concretely produced as, and is the producer of, a discrete subcategory of identity. His approach was to empirically investigate and connect the specific situation of Brickfields Tamils with global processes, Malaysian state power, and the unique trajectory of urban life in Kuala Lumpur, examining the ways in which their identity is produced by the Malaysian state and how the community itself produces its own identities, which simultaneously accommodate and resist the state's agenda.