Costa, Luiz A., Federal U., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - To aid research on 'The Production of Kinship and its Correlaries Among the Kanamari of Western Amazonia,' supervised by Dr. Carlos Fausto
LUIZ COSTA, while a student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, received funding to conduct ethnographic research on the production of kinship and sociality among the Kanamari (Katukina-speaking) Amerindians of western Amazonia, under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Fausto. Costa focused on the methods and processes through which the Kanamari made themselves similar to each other and ways in which these either collapsed or were actively resisted at certain times. All methods the Kanamari use to produce kinship - sharing food and manioc drink, living and working together, visiting each other's communities - were inherently ambivalent, capable of generating kin but also of going astray and resulting in people who were other. He focused mainly, but not exclusively, on Kanamari named sub-groups, which delimited groups of 'true kin' in opposition to 'distant kin' and the effects that this imposition had on the processual, daily production of kin. The results have allowed Costa to question certain regional ethnographical assumptions concerning the relationship between identity and the interior, on the one hand, and alterity and the exterior, on the other.
Serna Jeri, Angelica, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Writing Practices in the Colonial Archive: An Ethnohistory of Literacy in Colonial Peru,' supervised by Dr. Gustavo Verdesio
Preliminary abstract: I will investigate the development of colonial Andean writing, focusing on its social context and the role of Quechua speakers. By conducting an archival investigation in six departmental archives in Peru, and the national archive in Lima, I will describe the social interactions between Quechua and Spanish speakers that shaped and were shaped by the development of literacy in the colonial Andes. As Salomon & Niño-Murcia wrote, the emergence of writing in the colonial Andes yielded archives 'stuffed with evidence that Andeans of all social classes... have acquired writing as fast as they could' (2011:288). I bring an anthropological understanding of literacy to my investigation in order to study the social processes and intertextual links that cut across colonial texts, and at the role that Quechua speakers played in this network. I will examine 1) manuscripts and books such as grammars, sermons, visitas, and reports of idolatry for which Quechua speakers served as informants, and 2) letters and petitions initiated by Quechua speakers, for example to confront Spanish colonial rule through legal complaints. I approach colonial Quechua speakers' literacy practices in terms of physical production, circulation, and intertextuality, considering speakers' roles as 1) linguistic informants in the production of colonial Quechua texts such as grammars, sermons, and catechisms, 2) cultural informants in the production of Spanish visitas and both administrative and religious testimonies, and 3) writers of letters and petitions in Spanish. These three lines of evidence, taken as fragments of a larger social network, will allow me to analyze the spectrum of writing practices in which colonial Quechua speakers were involved and the social and political positions they held within it.
Hatch, Mallorie Ann, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Investigating Warfare and Physical Violence during the Mississippian Period (ca. AD 1000-1350) of Illinois,' supervised by Dr. Jane Ellen Buikstra
MALLORIE A. HATCH, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Investigating Warfare and Physical Violence during the Mississippian Period (ca. AD 1000-1350) of Illinois,' supervised by Dr. Jane E. Buikstra. The funded research examined if a positive correlation exists between intergroup violence and intragroup violence during the Mississippian period (ca. AD 1000-1350) in the Central Illinois Valley (CIV). Ethnographic research has identified links between increases in warfare with increases in various forms of intragroup violence, including domestic violence, assaults, homicides, and violent sports. Yet, it remains unclear whether or not this association holds within archaeological cultures uninfluenced by western states. To test these observations, skeletal trauma was analyzed in conjunction with age and sex variables to assess intragroup and intergroup violence frequencies. These results were refined through analysis of discrete and continuous phenotypic traits to estimate the biological kinship of those who exhibit skeletal trauma compared to the other members of the cemetery sample. Burial location and artifacts associations were also examined to test for differences in treatment at death. Initial results support the hypothesis that as intergroup violence increased during the Mississippian period in the CIV, intragroup violence increased concomitantly. While warfare and intragroup violence appeared in low frequencies early in the Mississippian period, after AD 1300, both intragroup and intergroup violence appear endemic. This project adds to the literature examining the cross-cultural consequences of violence socialization for warfare participation.
Mason, Katherine Anne, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'After SARS: An Ethnography of Public Health Campaigns in South China,' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman
KATHERINE MASON, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in May 2008 to aid research on 'After SARS: An Ethnography of Public Health Campaigns in South China,' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman. With this project, the researcher examined the lived experiences of public health professionals in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China, following the SARS epidemic of 2003, with the goal of answering the question, 'How do national and global discourses of moral duty, together with personal career ambition, shape the moral experiences of Chinese public health professionals after SARS?' Ethnographic research was conducted at the Shenzhen City Center for Disease Control and Prevention (SZ CDC) between September 2008 and August 2009, with supplementary research conducted at the SZ CDC, the Sun Yat-Sen University School of Public Health in Guangzhou, and other public health institutions and schools in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Beijing between 2007 and 2010. Research methods included intensive participant observation at the SZ CDC, as well as informal, semi-structured, and life-history interviews with over 100 public health professionals and public health students in all four cities. The data collected was used to provide the primary data for a dissertation entitled, 'After SARS: The Rebirth of Public Health in China's 'City of Immigrants,'' with a prospective defense date of April 2011.
Can, Sule, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The State and the City: Ethno-Religious Conflict and Political Change at the Turkish-Syrian Border,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
Preliminary abstract: The Syrian Civil War has displaced millions of Syrian citizens since March 2011 and has drastically changed the lives of those in the Turkish-Syrian borderlands. Hatay, which was annexed by the Republic of Turkey from Syria under the French Mandate in 1939, is a border province that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees today. Although the province has long been renowned for its ethnic, religious diversity, the influx of the Syrian refugees and Turkey's Syria policy have created new ethno-religious conflicts and have shifted the dynamics of everyday life in Hatay. Drawing on micro-historical approaches to boundary-making and state formation, this ethnographic study focuses on first, the emergence of ethno-religious conflict in the city in response to Turkish state practices in Turkish-Syrian borderlands between local residents of Hatay and the displaced Syrians. Second, it explores political opposition and their impacts on claiming a 'right to the city' by looking at how the refugees and ethno-religious minorities grapple with the transformation of the city since the Syrian Civil War. This research will be conducted through a historical and ethnographic investigation of the local populations and the Syrian refugees in Hatay and the tense relations between Turkey and Syria. This project suggests that in international conflicts between neighboring states, the spatial, political and social divisions in border cities will increase as ethnic and religious identities become more politicized.
Rost, Stephanie, Stony Brook U., Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Irrigation and Political Centralization in the Ur III Period: The Case of the Province of Umma (Iraq),' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth C. Stone
STEPHANIE ROST, then a student at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, received a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'Irrigation and Political Centralization in the Ur III Period: The Case of the Province of Umma (South Iraq),' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth C. Stone. The field work undertaken at the Oriental Institute (University of Chicago) entailed the collection and analysis of the core data set of the dissertation project consisting of administrative records on the management of ancient irrigation systems. The dissertation examines the degree of state involvement in irrigation management in the Umma province of the Ur III state (2100-2004 BC). The study of the Sumerian Irrigation Terminology was instrumental in understanding Ur III irrigation management as it allowed for a clear distinction between irrigation and water management. Water management in southern Iraq consists of carefully balancing the great fluctuation between low and high water levels of the twin river Euphrates and Tigris. The preliminary results show that state's involvement was concentrated on water management by heavily financing water level control devices. While these devices were designed to provide irrigation water, their main function consisted of keeping water levels stable for prolonged river transportation and flood control. This finding is confirmed by the preliminary results on the degree of states involvement in managing irrigation systems. State sponsored work was concentrated on the key points (i.e. primary, secondary level and flow dividers) while the tertiary and field level seemed to have been managed locally.
Grabiner Keinan, Adi, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Producing Change on the Ground: Israeli Leftist Groups against the Occupation,' supervised by Dr. Magnus Fiskesjo
ADI GRABINER KEINAN, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Producing Change on the Ground: Israeli Leftist Groups against the Occupation,' supervised by Dr. Magnus Fiskesjo. In the last few years, several Israeli leftist groups opposing Israel's occupation in the Palestinian Territories have introduced new forms of protest, aiming to address rapid transformations that enable Israel's regime of occupation. Their members oppose the perception of the occupation as a merely political issue that should be solved through negotiations, and attempt to challenge both the conditions and the effects of the occupation on the ground. Focusing on an ongoing process of protest in East Jerusalem, in which different political movements and activists took part, this study seeks to understand the dialectical relationships between human agency, subjectivity, and socio-cultural structures. Engaging with studies of social movements, broader debates on agency and subjectivity, and scholarship on state formation processes, the first line of inquiry of this research investigates the conditions produced within the framework of the occupation that enable such activism and the forms of agency and subjectivity associated with it; the second focuses on the complex, sometimes contradicting, effects of these forms of activism. Data collected through ethnographic, online, and archival research has the capacity to open new ways for understanding the relationship between political agency, subjectivity, and socio-cultural frameworks, in the case of Israel, and beyond.
Wobber, Victoria Elizabeth, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Novel Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Cognition,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham
VICTORIA E. WOBBER, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Novel Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Cognition,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham. Human cognition is central to our species' uniqueness, determining our cultural sensibilities and facilitating our ability to use language. Understanding the developmental origins of cognitive abilities provides further insight into how human cognition differs from that of other animals. The development of numerous human traits has been altered relative to other primates, such as the advent of adolescent growth spurts in height and of menopause. However, little comparative work has determined how humans' cognitive development is distinct. This project assessed cognitive development in humans' two closest living relatives, bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Bonobos have been suggested to be paedomorphic, or 'juvenilized,' in the development of their skeletal features in comparison to chimpanzees. This project tested the hypothesis that bonobos are also cognitively paedomorphic relative to chimpanzees. Bonobos were found to exhibit delayed development in their skills of physical cognition, or knowledge of the physical world, though their social cognitive skills developed comparably to those of chimpanzees. These results suggest that developmental patterns were under selection in recent ape evolution. Similar shifts in human development may have resulted from convergent selection pressures in bonobos and humans, for example in the reduction of aggression in both species.
Lewis, Laura Victoria, U. of Oxford, Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Small Tools, Big Questions: A Comparison of the Earliest Microlithic Technologies in Two Sub-Continents,' supervised by Dr. Michael Petraglia
LAURA V. LEWIS, then a graduate student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Small Tools, Big Questions: A Comparison of the Earliest Microlithic Technologies in Two Sub-Continents,' supervised by Dr. Michael Petraglia. Microlith production is a highly distinctive and significant stone tool technology. Systematic production of microliths began in different regions at different times, and in different social and environmental settings. However, microlithic industries have tended to be treated as a monolithic entity, without taking into account the variety of different methods of production and use. Variation within and between assemblages can reveal much about the various reasons why particular microlithic forms were selected as beneficial technological adaptations in particular regions, and the manufacturing choices that people made in order to produce their desired tools. This research project is the first to directly and quantitatively examine changes in microlithic technology over both space and time in two of the earliest microlithic industries in the world-the Howiesons Poort of southern Africa and the Late Palaeolithic of South Asia. Preliminary analyses from Batadomba-Iena, Sri Lanka, indicate areas of significant disparity in manufacturing techniques and tool requirements when compared to data from Howiesons Poort sites. A greater concern for miniaturization at Batadomba-Iena may be related to the ecological pressures of hunting in dense rainforest environments. Future work will focus on widening the comparative framework and elucidating potential areas of variability in microlithic technology.
Biruk, Crystal Lynn, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Knowledge Production in Collaborative AIDS Research in Malawi,' supervised by Dr. Sandra T. Barnes
CRYSTAL BIRUK, while a student at University of Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in August 2007 to conduct dissertation research on 'The politics of knowledge production in collaborative AIDS research in Malawi,' supervised by Dr. Sandra Barnes. During the period covered by the grant, the grantee focused on collecting data to thoroughly describe and analyze the Malawian research context, as shaped by policy environments, history, funding priorities, media representations, and public responses to research. In addition to conducting interviews with a wide spectrum of individuals involved in collaborative research in Malawi, she utilized the anthropological field methods of participant observation, informal conversation, surveys, archival research, and media analysis to trace the contours of the social, political, and economic context in Malawi out of which knowledge claims about AIDS emerge and are assigned value. The data collected during this period have allowed the grantee to draw conclusions regarding the diverse interests of different kinds of actors involved in research in Malawi, the relationships between policy and research, the interaction of state and non-state actors in implementation of research projects, and the plethora of interpretations attached to the term 'research' in Malawi. In the next phase of the project, the grantee will conduct participant observation among four ongoing collaborative AIDS research projects. These will serve as case studies, and the data collected in the first phase of research will permit her to draw connections between micro-level observations about how knowledge claims are assigned authority within projects and the larger Malawian context in which these research projects occur. In sub-Saharan Africa, an emphasis on collaborative research has brought changes in the structural organization and practice of research. Though expert knowledge and expertise are now assumed to be contested and negotiated instead of simply imposed, the grantee's research will explore the specific micro-processes, markers, and contexts through which certain actors and claims become authoritative over others.